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What Is Minimalist Gaming?

Minimalists focus on the essentials in life to reach a happier and more fulfilling state of mind. In general, this means a minimalist only spends money and time on things that hold true value for them.

So what is minimalist gaming? Minimalist gaming means that you only spend time and money on games and devices you truly love and value.

When you are part of a gaming community or have a lot of friends who love to play video games as well, the social pressure to buy and play more games and posses more gaming devices increases. There are so many video games available in the market nowadays that it is hard to decide which video games are true gems to you.

You’ve certainly heard the phrase, “You really have to play this!” or “That game is the most amazing game ever!”. The problem is that almost everyone has a different “most amazing game ever” you really need to play. And many people change their “most amazing game ever” once in a while too.

Gamers can feel overwhelmed with the games they feel they have to play. You just jump from game to game without really enjoying a video game anymore. You try to keep up with the crowd, fear of missing out and social pressure.

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Certainly, this is not the reason why you fell in love with video games in the first place. Besides the mental stress gamers can feel, it also costs you a lot of extra money.

What can you do about this problem?

What Does Minimalist Gaming Mean To Different People?

Although the definition of minimalist gaming is quite clear, what you deem essential, non-excessive, and fulfilling can take many different forms. To use minimalist gaming to boost your feelings of happiness and fulfillment it’s important to understand what minimalist gaming means to you.

I will give you some examples of different interpretations of minimalist gaming to fully understand this concept.

Story-Driven Gamers

Story-driven gamers love to play games with interesting storylines. They usually want to get immersed in the story through great storytelling and unique elements. The gaming industry has become a mature industry and many story-driven video games can fulfill this love and passion to experience amazing, well-written stories.

When you turn to minimalist gaming this means you should do research on the games with the best stories of the industry. Focus on the games that present the type of stories you love in particular.

There are many types of stories you can indulge yourself in. Fantasy, thriller, detective, horror, and science-fiction stories are all available to enjoy but you can find gems in your favorite genre.

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Competitive Online Gamers

Competitive online gamers just want to become the best of the best. But you will never become the best of the best if you switch games often. The only way to master an online video game and become one of the best is to practice a lot. To get to the top of the rankings requires a lot of time and grinding anyway.

As a minimalist gamer of this type make sure you choose the very best competitive game in its respective genre and put all your gaming time in this video game until you mastered it and proudly became part of the top players. By the time you feel it is time to move on to a new game, you will feel pride and fulfillment about your achievements.

If you’d like to learn how to become a professional gamer, I’ve written about it on my blog post here.

The Completionists

The completionist loves to discover every little aspect of the game they play. Every achievement in the game has to be unlocked, any secret cave explored, every race has to be won, and all cars have to be part of your collection.

A completionist feels fulfillment when they know the game has no secrets or collectibles left for them to acquire. This gaming style costs a lot of time per game just like the competitive online gamer.

If you feel the pressure to buy and play all games and complete them for 100% you will always feel time pressure and it becomes more of a chore you have to finish quickly. Don’t play more than one or two games at once, otherwise you will not enjoy any game.

Game Type Minimalism

For some people minimalist gaming isn’t about the number of games they own. These gamers enjoy minimalist games. They can be minimalist in a few different ways – from graphics to objective and controls.

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First minimalist games that come to mind are of course timeless classics like Pac-Man, Tetris and Pong. However, there are many modern games that fit a few minimalist criteria. A minimalist game doesn’t mean it’s an easy game! Here are a few examples of modern minimalist games:

  • Limbo
  • Superhot
  • Aporia: Beyond the Valley (I’m currently playing this!)
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Journey
  • Unravel
  • and others…

Hardware Enthusiasts

It’s not only the games that you buy but also all the different devices that are out there – phones, consoles, handheld consoles, PCs, etc.

Minimalist gamers only own devices that they truly use often if not daily. If you reach for a console once in a blue moon, isn’t it better to pass it onto someone who would appreciate it more and actually use it rather than let it stay and collect dust?

Ask yourself if you really need the Xbox One X if your Xbox One is in a perfectly fine condition? Isn’t it better to wait for the next-gen console? Xbox Series X is scheduled for the holiday season of 2020, why not save the money until then?

It’s clear a minimalist gaming lifestyle means something different for every gamer. What does it mean to you?

How to achieve a minimalist gaming life-style?

The starting point is to figure out which aspect of gaming you always enjoyed the most.

Does It Spark Joy?

If you’ve heard the name Marie Kondo before, then you know might be aware of her tidying technique “Does it spark joy?”. And while the KonMari method is not minimalist, it’s very useful when you’re trying to decide what to keep and what to let go.

KonMari Method For Games

If you have a physical copy of the game, hold it in your hand. Does it spark an excitement in you? Are you excited at the thought of playing it again? Or is it a game you simply enjoyed once or didn’t enjoy at all? If you’re happy with it and would love to play again, keep it, otherwise let it go.

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Sometimes it can be hard for people to let go of material posessions but the KonMari method teaches that it’s okay. Thanking the physical copy for hours of entertainment might look crazy but it might be easier to let go of it afterwards. All the games that didn’t make the cut can be sold or given away to people who will value it more than the dust on your shelf.

You can sell Xbox and Playstation games quite easily, or even give them away. Unfortunately you can’t really sell PC games that are tied to one account. You can still make space on your hard drive by uninstalling the games you haven’t played for years.

I’ve recently gone through my Steam library and uninstalled about 8 games. One of them was last played 7 years ago! My hard drive definitely thanked me that day. I need to do the same for my Xbox One.

Minimizing Gaming Devices

If you’re not a passionate collector of consoles and they had piled up in your house over the years, you might as well use the KonMari method with your devices.

If you haven’t touched a console for a year or more, give it a thanks for its service and let go of it by either passing it on to a friend or a relative or selling it.

I’ve recently gave away my Xbox 360 to my little niece after the schools have closed but before the lockdown. It used to sit next to my Xbox One collecting dust and I haven’t played it in a couple of years. I felt guilty for not using it. Now I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and somebody can enjoy the console.

Purchasing New Games

Be careful about purchasing new games right after this “purge”. Getting rid of old games doesn’t mean that you have to buy the same amount of new games or even more.

Be deliberate in picking the games you want to play. Buying the games you researched and look forward to will be much more exciting than buying a new mediocre game that you just play for a bit. This system will also give you the time and peace to fully enjoy the few games that you buy.

I believe in waiting for games, rather than blindly pre-ordering it without knowing what it’s gonna be like. There are certain franchises that I’d consider pre-ordering (like Battlefield for example) but I feel like this is unnecessary and it will only leave you with a bunch of mediocre games.

In this day and age, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is really prevalent across the board and it’s no different with video games. I think it’s better to wait and see what the game is like by watching Twitch, Mixer or Youtube and see the reviews. You’re not going to miss out on anything if you buy the game a few months later. Maybe just bugs.

Plus you can enjoy lower prices.


It’s important to note that you don’t have to use a certain system or restrict yourself severely. It’s the goal that counts. And the goal is to only spend your time and money on the games that are mesmerizing, magical, or outright challenging.

Whatever it is that you personally love so much about gaming and the games you possess. Minimalist gaming can help you get back to your personal values and essentials when it comes to video games.


What is your stance on minimalist gaming lifestyle? Let me know down below in the comments!


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