Are you looking for intellectual stimulation, stress relief, and fun? There are plenty of activities and hobbies designed to offer just this. One such pastime is playing video games. With over 2 billion players around the world, video games appeal to people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Over the years, video games have gotten a bad wrap. Some people believe they’re too violent while others frown upon kids spending countless hours in front of a screen. While these arguments aren’t without merit, video games do offer some benefits including problem-solving skills and social interaction.
Are you on the hunt for stimulating activities that take you beyond the gaming screen? With over 30 different types of video games on the market, different features appeal to different players. Armed with this information, you can find alternative activities that don’t involve a computer screen or gaming console but still stimulate your intellectual needs.
Keep reading for our guide to alternative activities and hobbies that will help diversify your skillset.
1. Try Competitive or Extreme Sports
Competitive and extreme sports are the perfect alternative to first-person shooter and sports-themed video games including Call of Duty, NBA2K, Madden, and the like. These types of video games offer a certain level of risk and danger. They’re also thrilling and exciting, which is why the alternative activity you choose should be equally engaging.
If you’re looking for the competition aspect of sports games, an obvious alternative is to join a local sports team. While this is easier for children in youth sports, it’s not impossible for adults to find local adult leagues as well. Team sports also offer a sense of community, which many gamers seek.
Do you prefer first-person shooter games? Try martial arts, surfing, or other more hands-on activities that deliver a much-needed adrenaline rush. These activities also give gamers a real-life way to overcome adversity, compete, and acquire new skills.
2. Engage in Outdoor Activities
Regardless of how detailed the graphics are on your favorite video game, nothing can replace getting outside and experiencing the wonder and beauty of nature first-hand. Hiking, biking, and kayaking are all great physical activities that deliver your daily dose of exercise and vitamin D.
Do you play video games to relax and destress? Becoming one with nature is one of the fastest ways to alleviate tension and stress in your body. Exercise is also a natural stress reliever. By releasing endorphins, outdoor physical activity stimulates the same areas of the brain as video games.
Outdoor hobbies are perfect for players who enjoy exploration and adventure games like League of Legends and Dota 2. These MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games appeal to players’ curiosity and sense of adventure. What better way to embark on an adventure than in real life? Grab some friends and hit the trails together or enjoy the peace and quiet of a solo experience.
3. Play Board Games
Some people play video games for the mental challenge they pose. If you enjoy strategy games like Crusader Kings and XCOM 2, you’ll likely enjoy playing board games like chess and checkers which require strategy, planning, and problem-solving. Predetermined rules and clear objectives appeal to gamers who like structure and measurable goals.
Winning strategy games online takes planning and problem-solving skills. Gamers can apply these same skills to playing board games with family and friends. Not only do board games meet your intellectual needs, but they also provide socialization. Gathering together with friends and family to talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company can act as a substitute for chat rooms and gaming communities.
Board games that are more fast-paced and offer rewards and incentives are best for players who enjoy the instant gratification offered by video games.
Comment below and let us know your favorite board game!
4. Volunteer or Join a Community Group
Joining community groups and volunteering your time are ideal for anyone playing MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing) and MMO (massively multiplayer online) games. These highly interactive games allow players to communicate and socialize with other gamers around the world. Players feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.
If you enjoy being part of a larger group all working toward a common goal, volunteering could be a great alternative activity. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity donate their time to building houses for families in need. Not only will you gain a sense of accomplishment and giving back, but you’ll strategize, plan, and work closely alongside others. The entire experience can do wonders for not only your social skills but your self-confidence as well.
Giving back to the community also provides a sense of accomplishment and measurable growth. As you and your team members create a plan for a specific event or charity, you can see your vision come to life. This delivers an overwhelming sense of accomplishment with a clear reward.
5. Experiment with Creative Expression
Music, dance, and art programs are all great alternatives to playing video games. These hobbies allow you to express yourself in unique and creative ways. Video games like Minecraft encourage players to create their own worlds using self-expression and their imagination. Composing music, painting a beautiful art piece, or choreographing an interpretive dance are all innovative ways to express your creativity away from the gaming screen.
Adventure video games appeal to the part of the brain that processes sensory information and data. Learning a musical instrument or creating a sculpture activates this portion of the brain in the same way. These creative outlets are also ideal for players who get a rush from seeing and experiencing new things, landscapes, and fantasy worlds. It also puts you in the driver’s seat, with no wrong answer which can increase confidence and self-awareness.
6. Learn a New, Lucrative Skill
The average gamer spends several hundred dollars a year on games, exclusive content, and upgrades. When searching for an alternative activity to gaming, why not kill two birds with one stone and learn something new that can also earn you a living?
Role-playing and collectible card games (CCG) appeal to people who thrive on order and organization. If you’re intrigued by mastering specific systems, why not try your hand at coding? Not to mention, coding is the basis of all video games and combines your two passions. Before long, this newfound hobby might become a lucrative career.
Speaking of making money, safely investing in the stock market is another way to not only boost your income but work closely with data and mastering specific systems. This is a dream come true for turn-based strategy gamers who get satisfaction from executing and planning successful strategies to achieve goals. These are the same techniques used by successful investors on Wall Street.
7. 3D Modeling and Printing
3D modeling and printing are relatively new innovations that are taking the digital world by storm. Thanks to 3D tech, creators can design, model, and print three-dimensional products from household gadgets and decorations to entire houses! While these complicated projects take industrial equipment and engineering, anyone can take a basic course on 3D modeling and printing. Many schools also have 3D printing as part of the curriculum.
This hobby is perfect for gamers who enjoy creating characters, accessories, and environments that bring their virtual story to life. Now you can not only express your creativity and design complex structures, but 3D printing brings your digital creations to life. Gamers will also experience the real-world application of planning fundamentals and graphic design.
8. Meditation, Mindfulness, or Yoga
One of the main reasons people play video games is to relieve stress and forget about their troubles for a period of time. Practicing meditation and mindfulness can achieve these same things in a much healthier way. Both activities help quiet the mind and teach you to process and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Instead of using video games to forget about these issues, meditation and mindfulness help you navigate and face them head-on.
Yoga combines mindfulness and exercise for a dual approach to stress relief. Instead of blocking out your problems through gameplay, gamers can work through deeper issues and find mental clarity. You’ll also enjoy increased flexibility and potential weight loss. Yoga and meditation are beneficial activities when used alongside other stimulating pastimes that more closely replicate the pleasure of gameplay.
Expand Your Horizons with These Video Game Alternatives
While video games are harmless when played in moderation, too much of a good thing can be bad. If you’re looking to add some different activities to your repertoire, this list can help.
Start by determining what aspects of video games appeal to you most. Then, find alternative hobbies and activities that offer the same level of stimulation in new and different ways.
Before long, you’ll have a myriad of skill sets, talents, and interests that include video games but also help make you a more well-rounded person.