How often have you experienced this situation: you've been playing a game nonstop, something makes you look at the clock, and it suddenly occurs to you that it's been hours since you were actually enjoying yourself?
I'm not one to worry about whether video games are a waste of time (what hobby can't have that accusation thrown at it?), but nothing seems more wasteful than playing a game while deriving no joy from it. I've noticed three main causes of this.
I think this is the most common and most discussed cause. Game developers have perfected the art of creating skinner-box reward dispensers that keep you playing for the next reward, even when you're deriving no joy from it.
Sunk Cost Fallacy
"I need to get my $60 worth of fun from this game!". I've definitely been guilty of this. I'm trying to get games through Redbox (since I discovered that you can keep rentals for no more cost than buying the game new). Not only will this save money, but hopefully reduce the amount of obligation gaming I do.
Must Beat this Level
This is the one I feel most conflicted about - it's kind of crazy to play a game while actually feeling anger and frustration, but unlike the above two examples, I usually do get feelings of satisfaction after I finally beat it, instead of vague feelings of disappointment and disgust.
How about y'all? Do you have any other reasons that you play games even when you aren't enjoying them?