Alternative Gaming: Play Without the Gamble


There’s a thrill to gambling. It’s a dangerous thrill, with plenty of potential pitfalls. Simply put, it’s not a wise endeavor. But what if you could experience that thrill without worrying so much over your finances? There’s a whole wide world of gaming out there with one-time price tags delivering dozens of hours of fun. A correlation exists between addiction to slot machines and a desire for adventure — that’s why casinos market their money-draining services around terms like “unforgettable escapade” and “daring good time”. Let’s explore some ways we can scratch that gaming itch without going into debt. 

Gripping Genres for Every Occasion 


“A good video game keeps players engaged. To do this, developers build rewards, hidden features, and side quests into games.”  Lin Anderson, LMHC, MA, EdM said. Gaming is a fairly new pastime, but it’s exploded in diversity over the past couple of decades. Mario is still running in a mostly straight line to the right of plenty of TV screens, jumping on lizards in hopes of saving a princess with a penchant for getting kidnapped, but there’s so much more on-offer.  

You can explore vast imaginary lands in open-world video games, get lost in an enthralling story fit for the movies in more narrative-driven games, or have a blast socializing with friends in fighting and racing games. Call over your brother and sister and offer to host a relaxing evening of old-school couch co-op. The opportunities are nigh-endless and many are actually great for improving your social life. You can even get off that couch and go hiking for treasure or infamous little pocket monsters (you know the ones) with cutting-edge augment VR games. 

Okay, But How Does This Help Me Quit Gambling? 


While the connection to gambling might not be immediately apparent, I guarantee you there’s a lot of high-risk, high-reward, high-octane fun involved in all the non-casino corners of the gaming industry. If you’re the type of person who lives for the big stakes of seeing those Lucky 7’s start to come together, but you’ve realized the odds will never be on your side, how about trading in those chips for a major change in lifestyle? 

Here’s the thing. When you boot up a video game, you’re going to run into a ton of these moments. Do you use the last of your ammo in a mad dash toward a power-up or play it safe and sneak around the battlefield? That’s up to you. Should you talk the troubled convict into peaceful surrender or go all-out with fists raised? Totally up to you. Up against a friend and you need to decide whether or not to try to pass them in the next lap via a risky vertical ramp? All I can say is good luck. There are so many moments of do-or-die determination in this kind of entertainment, and none of them have to cost you your mortgage if you know where to look. Video games, when played responsibly, provide an adrenaline rush that will feel familiar but prove healthier. 

Your New Hobby Comes With A Warning Label, Too 

“Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be.”  Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology explains. Games aren’t a perfect trade for gambling, so this article’s suggestion comes with some words of caution. For starters, we’ll address the elephant in the room: yes, some people develop an addiction for this as well. If you believe you’re a very naturally addictive person, you might want to look elsewhere for entertainment, or perhaps better yet, build a strict schedule on how much free time you’re willing to part with. Yet even when folks sit around with their PlayStation controllers for too long, they’re not as likely to face severe emotional and financial hardship as those who can’t quit hitting on 17 in blackjack, so it’s all relative. 

There are certain types of video games which feed into the gambling vice more than others, and if you’re trying to kick the habit, you need to know ahead of time. For instance, mobile gaming is very hot right now, with tens of millions of people otherwise uninterested in the medium tapping a few keys on their phone during downtime. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but many of these apps offer countless ways to increase your chances for small payments called microtransactions. Get extra lives for a dollar. Decrease the time you have to wait between missions for three dollars. This doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up quickly. Does this sound familiar to you? It should. This method of service transaction is modeled after gambling, and it can bring you right back to your addiction if you aren’t careful. Our advice is to avoid these games outright. 

“There is also little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental,” says Jim Taylor Ph.D. Therefore, play smart, though, and you’ll be on your way to a fun new hobby without the wallet-draining fuss. Enjoy! 

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