Bizarre sudden changes in your gaming taste

So I have always been a pretty hardcore gamer. Well, I’m not any kind of gonzo 60-hours-a-week maniac, especially now that I have a wife and kids, but I have put in my time here and there – in recent years, 100+ hours on Fallout 3, 45+ hours on Just Cause 2, finished Supreme Commander 2 and did a bit of skirmish, that kind of thing.

But in the last two months, something happened. I had a wake-up call at work (mainly that lots of my megahacker coworkers were using their spare time on awesome coding projects), and I also had a bout of bronchitis that left me without a huge amount of spare energy, as well as a fairly major work crunch that had me putting in some serious evening time.

Now I’m finally getting over the latter two, but the weird thing is, I just don’t want to play hardcore games anymore. I mean, not at all. My backlog (full of stunningly awesome games, Assassin’s Creed 2, Bioshock 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Civ 4, you name it) is sitting entirely untouched.

The only game I have any interest in at all is the second Professor Layton, which I am dinking around with an hour here and an hour there. But mostly I am getting back into books (read two of 'em in the last couple weeks) and various hacking, work-related and otherwise.

Right now the only title that I am pretty sure I will get sucked into this year is Diablo III, and even that is no longer an absolutely sure thing.

I always used to feel like watching TV took way too much time – dozens of hours to follow a major TV series from start to finish. I always liked books and movies more – shorter stories, quicker to experience the total arc. But suddenly, and I never expected this to happen, I’m feeling the same way about games. Even a ten-hour game seems too long! (Layton is an exception because it’s more like a puzzle book than an actual continuous game. Or something.) In fact, it’s almost more that games just aren’t as interesting anymore.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY MIND??? And is it likely to reverse? Or does this switch flip once and then stick forever? Please to make with the wizened discussingations, I require otherclues. Danke schön.

Edit: Forgot to mention the weirdest thing: I am not even sure I like violent games anymore! Explosions, shooting, stabby stabby: they are not grabbing me anymore. Very very weird! Even action movies are not pulling me in. Maybe I’m just in some kind of low-energy winter doldrums or something?!

you’ve got pm

I’ve hit ruts sometimes in my backlog where I don’t feel like playing much. All it takes is a weekend with an in-depth game to snap me out of it.

If you have an urge to work on some side projects, I say run with it. It’s not like you were going to get through your backlog anyway.

I’ve had a similar urge lately but I’m still playing games. I’m busy with things but it’s holding on as the last form of media consumption.

Is not the same thing, but MMO gamers suffer periodically “burn” periods where can’t play anymore the old shit.
These people take a break from the mmo genre. And only return months or years later.

I use to be a megahacker. With things like writting code for a game engine all night. Since I stopped, I can’t go back, and write code again for that engine.
I tried to return back to that, but is like the place don’t exist anymore.

But is ok, there’s a lot of people out here making mad good games and engines that I can enjoy.

Maybe you are under a period of your life where you are re-ordering your priorities.

Soo much for people that say “People don’t change”. People change!

I play PC games in the winter, and console games in the summer.


I think you’re pregnant.

I suspect it’s a combination of reduced gaming time and genre fatigue. But yes, side-projects where you actually make things are fun.

  • Alan

I go through phases where I love different types of games, or where I don’t really like games at all. Don’t know why, it just happens.

After the initial excitement of the current console generation, I got heavily into PC games again. Now I don’t really play many games at all, apart from the occasional Flash game, League of Legends and World of WarCraft.

I suppose part of it is that games are so goddamn samey nowadays that I get my fill, discover that most games are just the same, and then I get tired for a while until something grabs me again and I love playing for a while until I get disillusioned. Probably the reason why I flip between PC and console games, too.

Be all zen and shit and just go with what you happen to like.

I thought this happens to everyone, to be honest.

I go through phases of this. Intense gaming, followed by lack of interest in anything requiring time commitment at all.

This happens to me too, Repo. I have to switch genres every time I start a new game because I am sick of the conventions of any particular genre.

Honestly, I’d try a game that might be short overall but has legitimate difficulty involved. Maybe something that taxes your brain a bit. Something more of a challenge, games these days tend to be pretty easy.

This should be a T-shirt slogan.

I never really played or liked racing games until I picked up Gran Turismo 3, after getting a PS2 and hearing about how good it was at showing off its capabilities. Now I’ve got more of them than I know what to do with. I guess prior to that I’d always thought of them as the primitive Pole Position-style arcade games and hadn’t even really been aware of the simulation side.

Lately, I’ve found myself shying away from RPGs. I’ve loved them ever since my earliest gaming days, and I still do, but I think that something about their length and investment needed has been turning me away from them lately. I go to consider what I want to play tonight and start thinking that well, I probably wouldn’t get much farther in DA, and I’m probably still a month away from finishing it and jeez, what was I planning for my skills again? Hey, I could finish off that spider trap in Minecraft instead…

I’ve had this happen a few times. A couple of years ago, I pointedly took an entire month off from any kind of video game. For someone who plays at least five nights a week, no mean feat.

In my case, it came back each time. I go through bouts where I don’t want to even look at a complicated game – I look at Fall From Heaven 2 or Dominions 3 and it just seems like so much work. So I play Dynasty Warriors or Just Cause 2 for a few days, completely turning off my brain, and then in a few days I’ll get the urge to toss in a main course of a game to complement the junk food.

reprinted per request
Major life changes can impact your enjoyment of liesure activities. The illness compounded with your work revelations would qualify as potential triggers. Mental stress is something else that can cause it. A standard sign of depression, for instance, is no longer finding enjoyment in the things you used to enjoy - and I’m NOT saying you are depressed, although the drop in energy level is another symptom. I’m a former shrink, but I didn’t do any standard clinical work (research/sports/org behavior only).

An important distinction is whether something new has taken the place of games (for instance, are you enjoying your time with your family more often?). If it has, enjoy it to its fullest extent. If not, I would consider whether there’s an underlying cause to you not seeking as much pleasure in your activities and address it for better or worse.

All of that said, tastes can change without anything bad being the catalyst - sometimes it can be something quite good (have you ever tried a new food and liked it? Same deal). It can be temporary or permanent, and part of the joy in life is that you get to find out.

I know this isn’t a game recommendation thread, but your post reminded me of a game that you might be interested in, if you like platformers at all: Maximo. It was damn difficult, but it never felt cheap, and graphics were a real pleasure to look at.

Yep, I asked Dan_Theman to repost that PM here because it definitely crossed my mind. It’s midwinter here and I am susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, by which I mean I get glumpy when it’s dim outside for months on end, and it’s been mighty dim up here this winter. Combine that with some recent overwork, some health issues (bronchitis since Christmas and even food poisoning or stomach flu this week), and yeah, my body’s not in the best place. So it stands to reason, I suppose, that I don’t want explosions and gore, but rather nice nurturing child-educating puzzles and creative hacking projects. Feels like I want to build, not destroy, even in my entertainment. Puzzles = brain-teasers = mental stimulation = what I seem to be needing right now…

It’s just odd because it’s never happened to me before, not quite like this. Also a bit eerie to have almost ten years of posting history here and never been in this exact mood before. I will have to get very active in the puzzle threads from now on, I think!

But my wife and I have a date in Castle Ravenloft tonight, which I’m totally looking forward to – I think I am also wanting a bit more human contact right now than your typical dozen-hour epic generally affords…

And yes, I also plan to shift my energy level, mainly by resuming cardio tomorrow morning after being a sluggard the last two months. Surely that can’t have been helping my immune system either. Shit, it’s all related, ennit?

I’ve gotten into moods similar to yours when my workout routine slumps. Restarting it, after the first couple weeks, tends to do wonders for my mental energy and suddenly explosions are fun again.

I was going to suggest this, namely, to transition from PC/video games to board games. I’ve recently done this (although not leaving PC/video games completely behind), having a renewed interest in board games that had been lost since 2006, and I find myself more interested in keeping up-to-date on board games (via BGG) than PC/video games. Plus, it’s easier to convince my girlfriend to play a board game with me than the electronic stuff. And when you sit down with 3 or more friends/family members/etc., the electronic stuff just can’t match the social experience.

Never have truer words been spoken :)