I recollect a post from you where you observed that a lot of people who were addicted to video-games as teenagers, stop being addicted to them once they cross a certain age (mid-20s?).

This video-essay felt like it gave a potential answer to why that may be the case -

The core thesis of the video was that play is actually work. Gaming activates the same regions of the brain that work does.

The lesson about humanity is that these optimizations are deeply satisfying … There is an inherent pleasure not in play or in avoiding work but in working optimally.

As a kid, you don’t have many opportunities to chase this feeling of optimizing something. So you get it via video-games. As you grow up, work replaces games as a source for the feeling of having done things optimally.


That’s a fascinating thesis and a great video. I myself find that one reason I’m way less attached to video games is that my work is just literally more interesting and these days when I’m allowed to play video games more often than not I go “why would I play CSGO if I can spend that time writing or doing biology instead…” and don’t even experience the temptation I used to experience as work is literally more interesting than games. But when I have boring work…

Money quote from the video at ~8:50:

the optimizing efforts of capitalism are the very things we seek out for recreation when the workday ends