Self Improvement

The Steam Challenge

Find a game that you have not completed and finish it.

Video games are the ultimate entertainment experience. They are engaging, challenging, and fun. It can be easy to lose hours of your day playing the latest and greatest game – and society will happily let you know that those hours are forever lost.

Society will also let us know that as we squander our day-to-day, we lose invaluable time to progress in our careers or achieve the milestones in life that we really want. They’ll tell us that if we don’t curtail our gaming we’ll forever surrender ourselves to the mediocrity of a life unfulfilled.

Games themselves can also encourage

But what if games could teach us the life skills that our employers are seeking? What if playing games could instead be co-opted into meaningful growth?

Enter the Steam Challenge!

The Steam Challenge is simple: Find a game in your Steam library that you have not completed and finish it.

Most of us have games that we’ve really enjoyed but didn’t finish. I have too many to count but Deus Ex – Human Revolution comes directly to mind. I vividly recall a particularly difficult section attempting to save a companion in a downed future-helicopter-jet-thing. I never made a decision to stop playing. I simply did.

For this challenge, you’ll ideally find a game that you, similarly, stopped playing or avoided despite your original enjoyment. This may have been due to distraction or difficulty or some other obstacle. With the challenge, all we’re doing is asking ourselves to finish having fun and to grow as we do it!

Alright. I’ll finish a game. How does this make me a better person?

– You (probably)

Discipline. We’re going to build our ability to stay disciplined by completing a video game. Learning to finish something you start is the quintessential form of discipline and the first step to getting anything meaningful accomplished. Specifically, we are completing a project that we are explicitly saying we will complete.

But wouldn’t it make more sense to exercise or diet or do homework or…


Video games actually provide a multitude of benefits on our path forward that more traditional goals do not. For starters, video games are familiar. Since we already play video games, it’s a very small change for us to start playing a different game and eventually developing a new habit of discipline.

Next, video games are self-contained, completable challenges with built-in rewards for victory (and proof!) – see Achievements. No need to set an arbitrary goal for yourself or find some way to track it. Simply find a game you want to play and finish! You will automatically be working toward a SMART goal just by participating.

Finally, we also love to play games so, at the very least, we got that going for us.

Onboard? Great! Let us know how you’re coming along by joining our community (another great way to stick to your habits)! You can track your progress on our Discord, find other challengers, as well as get entered into a giveaway for completing your game. Full details are available in #steam-challenge. I’ll be attempting to conquer BC5 in Dead Cells as part of this inaugural challenge. You can watch me struggle every Monday and Tuesday from 4 PM to midnight on Twitch. Lastly, if you have any questions, please join us on Saturday from 3 PM to 4 PM Central for In The Loop.

How to Steam Challenge

  1. Find a game in your Steam Library.
    • Ideally, look for a game you enjoyed but didn’t finish!
    • It’s OK to pick up a new game
  2. Let us know that you started the challenge in Discord!
  3. (Optional) Set a schedule for playing consistently
  4. Post a screenshot of your achievement (with the date of completion)
    • Finishing before December 8th, 2019 will automatically enter you into a giveaway drawing for a new game!

Learning to finish something you start is the quintessential form of discipline and the first step to getting anything meaningful accomplished.

Wait, the first step is to finish?

It’s weird. I know.