Let’s take a moment and talk about gaming fatigue.
This is a topic that I mentioned briefly in the first little bit that I wrote and one that I wanted to get back into before it flew from my mind. The idea that you “have to game a lot” to be a gamer. One that in and of itself can lead you to just not want to play games at all. Then before you know it you are back to the “Goodbye Micheal” episode of The Office on Netflix instead of doing anything productive or meaning full.
Be prepared for this read its full of segues
So to start, I believe most people play games for two reasons. To have fun and to get a feeling of accomplishment. Look at many of the other social trends, movies, TV shows, new songs, books. People enjoy them at the time and then the accomplishment of adding something to their internal list of “I did this!” We like knowing we finished a movie so we can talk about it. Like having binged watched that whole season of Umbrella Academy very much the same we like beating games, to stay social.
It could be that you beat a single match and the rush and thrill of sitting at the top of the leader boards or making a good dive and getting a “Penta” thrill you. It could be you finally finished the game on your backlog (Looking at you God of War) and want to tell your friends. Beating a game has many definitions. Back to it, fun and accomplishment.
Sometimes that leads to us not wanting to get back into a game. You hit a wall in the game or in your mind and don’t want to pass it. One such example is From Softwares Soul games, or more recently Sekiro. A Game that I have enjoyed a lot lately and even wanted to write about today, but video recording set me back briefly.
Sekiro, Shadows Die Twice is not what most would describe as an easy game. One that many people will die in front of a boss thirty to fifty times before you move forward. You have to learn the mannerisms of the boss that can down you in two hits to the point you know you need to jump just from the flex in the drunkard’s arm or the tilt of the bull’s horn. Sometimes that kind of boss detail can make you hit that wall and then the game gathers dust on the shelf.
When you aren’t growing you are dying. Its a phrase used time and time again in the self-help world to kind of shock you awake. A cold shower to your career or relationships. More true in games that you literally die twice in. So that sudden stop in-game progression stonewalls you and people give up. Competitive games are no different.
Most great magic players I know lost more matches than people would believe. The best League of Legends player I know has more losses on his all-time record than most people I know as well. They grind through it and get that next level. No joke, that gets tiring. To many older generations, it seems like a joke that gaming would even step into the connotation of “the grind” since games are for fun.
Games have changed vastly in the last thirty years. A simple game like Space Invaders where all that matters is the high score. Now competes with full-fledged esports and games that blur graphics to the point you have to blink twice to make sure it isn’t a real actor. Immersion is the name of the game and the story we tell ourselves of being the hero feels more real now than ever.
It isn’t just a game, it’s a culture.
There are parts of games where achievements and trophies tempt you to try it a little harder. Or go a route you normally would never try. The grind of completing one giving you that rush when it sits done and you can talk to all your friends about how sweet it really was. Many close friends of mine still bragging over the original Seriously achievement from Gears one.
In fact every summer I make a goal to beat at least fifty video games. Usually, I tap out around thirty or so. It gets to be a lot and sometimes you lose sight of the fun. The gaming fatigue sets in fully and you can barely move past a character creation before you say, not tonight.
Oh, man, did I google how to get over that!
I found there were a few answers to help that I found myself. One is a phrase you have heard a million times now from Shia Lebouf to Nike. Just do it. When I have told myself I just need to beat this game the third time I just jump on and say five hours. If I can’t give the game that then it really just isn’t ever going to be worth it to me. Five hours.
More often than not after hour two or three I fall into hours seven then twelve and before I know it I have another game beaten. Shooters go especially quick in this regard. Games on rails are a quick afternoon or late night binge. The open sandbox games can take some time.
That’s why the second one is, don’t do it. Seems counter-intuitive I know, but hear me out. How many times in your life are you chatting with a friend about anything else in the world and you get an itch to play the game you stepped away from out of the blue. You are chatting about how cool space is and then you hear how the people who made a space game you like also made a fantasy game. You get an opinion and that leads to “the itch” and suddenly Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2 are beaten in the span of a week.
Stepping away from a game I don’t like at the time or can’t sink any time at all into is one of the best things I did for my gaming hobby. Man do I hate feeling like I need to play “or else.” I play for the sake of gaming (self-promotion plug) and that is it. I will go on kicks where I only play my PC and then switch to my Xbox for months. I will plug in my GameCube and find myself yelling how unfair Metroid can be even still. It helped lead to one of the best gaming experiences I had in years.
Breath of the Wild really opened up a lot of my gaming joy after a long hiatus of not beating anything. I delved deep into its open world and genuine fun. Beating it twice in completely different ways. The number of games I beat multiple times for pure joy not numbering above ten.
The game I was stuck with at the time I played it? Ryse Son of Rome. Completely different in every regard. I started that opening sequence what felt like five times and then just said, not now. I flipped on my switch I hadn’t played much and dropped deep into Zelda. Soon after beating it I saw a Spartacus episode and in I went back to Ryse. That game was done in a night and I’m glad I added it to my completion list.
Now I’m winding down here and won’t keep you much longer. The biggest point of this post was to telling you one thing. Just play what you like when you want to. With that, please, pretty please tell me what you are playing. Much like how I read books, I like jumping to games organically by what my friends suggest. Comment down wherever that tab is and say what you like. Say what you are stuck on or that one game that is on your to-do list.
Then when I visit this topic again, maybe you can tell me how far you have come. Until then just keep playing games and having fun.