The Unplaying Thread

Seems like every January or so I go into some kind of bizarre game-aversive state. I played Skyrim for 80 hours and then whammo, hit the wall in the first week of January. Other areas of life became more interesting.

Since then, besides a touch of You Monster and a taste of Space Pirates And Zombies, I haven’t played shit. And this is despite having Arkham City, Shogun 2, Fallen Enchantress beta, and many more stellar goddamned titles sitting Right. Fucking. There. Too many personal projects to work on!

Diablo III will crack the block like a sledgehammer, so perhaps I’m also just frantically spending my discretionary time elsewhere while I still can. But I think I’m going to flat out skip Mass Effect 3 (despite having played the first two to completion and having a badass Renegade who’s ready to kick MAJOR ASS), because, well, it’s just not the most fun project anymore.

Anyone else had their pendulum swing away from gaming recently? Anything on the horizon that you know will break your newfound willpower, or whatever it is?

Sometimes I find myself reading about games (and thinking about them) more than playing them.

Then, my XBox went on the fritz this weekend and I got off my lazy butt and set up the PS3 that has been sitting in front of my TV for months. (and sent the Xbox in for repairs) Now I am good to go for another 1000 hours, sort of like a mini oil change.

I dunno RepoMan - I suspect this is a temporary phase for you. Some new fangled game will come along. It will be like someone cracked smelling salts under your nose, you’ll shake it off, and get back on the pipe.

Hi, my name is Pogue and I … am an addict. I don’t think that in my 35-ish years of playing games in various forms that I have ever fallen into a period where I have stopped playing games. Definitely there have been periods where I have either, due to lack of funds or time, bought or played games with much less frequency. Having a baby on the way, I fully expect my game time to take a hit. But my interest has never flagged. And you don’t want to see my bitch monster of a backlog.

My pendulum was swinging the other way (ahem…). Was not gaming much till Skyrim, now have been playing that excessively. Will probably wind down again once I’m done with that.

This is where I’m at actually. I’m either just watching other people play (SC2 Replays) or loading up a game, playing for 30 minutes, not feeling it, and promptly doing something else. I’m hoping one of the upcoming fantasy TBS’s (Fallen Enchantress, Conquest of Elysium 3, Fantasy Civ 5 game whose generic name escapes me) rekindles the passion.

I hit this wall every couple of years it seems where games just don’t hold any appeal for me. I’ll just do other things for a couple of months until some game that I’ve been waiting on will come out and it’s back to gaming I go. I suspect most people go through this from time to time.

I’m always playing games, but my playtime (and purchasing power) ebbs and flows. The holiday season and the entirety of summertime tend to be when I spend the most time playing games, since I’m less likely to leave the house (due to an aversion to crazy shopper madness and an aversion to heat, respectively).

I actually completely stopped playing games for about two years in the middle of the 2000’s. It was definitely needed.

And then you decided to play through every space game since 1978. I’m not nearly as extreme, but I think the lesson is: never quit playing for multiple years or it will end up so much worse.

You can burnout on anything you do to excess. I fall into gaming doldrums now and again. A short break usually gets me back stronger than ever.

Well, I had ended a long, awful relationship, and up until that point, I had used gaming mostly as an escape. After therapy and turning my life around, I had to reevaluate the place games held in my life, and for them not to be an escape any longer. It pretty much worked.

Sometimes it’s hard to sit down and play a game because you know it’s not worth your while unless you give it an hour or two, and it’s hard to make that commitment.

There are a lot of things we can do in small bits of time – read, check the web, etc. – but a lot of games don’t lend themselves well to being played in 20 minute spurts.

Yep, the context switch back into “game mode” is often a deal-killer for me. It’s the same with anything, though, really – even hacking projects can face that “get over the hump” issue.

Still, at least with my personal projects I can look back at the end of the night and feel good about the two tiny little checklist items out of 200 that I actually managed to accomplish. It’s just more constructive… games don’t have that same kind of tangible payoff in terms of accomplishing a personal goal. (Turns out uncovering every single location on Skyrim’s map doesn’t have exactly the same pull.)

Also quite some games don’t offer the chance to jump right back in if you had to stop playing them for a few days as you have to re-learn mechanics and catch up with the story / progress.

I usually play some Hidden Object game when I know something like that is coming up (weekend at parents’ house etc.). You can always jump back into them (most have a diary helping you catch up if needed) or stop playing after 10 min. Same with iOS games.

Concerning the game fatigue:
I would suggest the following:

  1. Play 2 games at a time
    One deep / big one and one shorter more action packed one.
    That way you can switch if you are getting bored of the deeper one.

  2. Take a hard look at indie games
    A lot of new ideas floating around which might grip you.
    Recently I was totally hooked by “UnEpic” which is done by 1 person.
    Also looking forward to “Dear Esther” which will come to Steam Feb. 14th.

  3. Play some older games (if you can stomach the graphics)
    They are quite different to today’s games (no auto-heal in FPS for example).
    You need to modify / change the way you tackle challenges and that itself is refreshing.

  4. Maybe jump into one of the MMOs that went F2P recently.
    Age of Conan, LOTRO, Everquest, Star Trek, Rift.
    You don’t need to subscribe / pay and can leave anytime without feeling guilty.
    Most of them are somewhat solo-player friendly so you don’t need to engage with other players.
    Might ressurect your appetit in playing single player games again.

I usually have this when I finish a long game (recent case: Dark Souls platinum’ed after over 130 hours over a period of 4 months). I think the reason for this is because I’m kind of “attuned” to the game in question, its controls, mechanics, story, character etc. so that I need some time to “disengage”. This lasts usually about 1-3 days.

I cleared most of my recent gaming backlog over the Christmas break, so yes, I have taken a bit of a step back and started catching up on some TV shows I’ve been meaning to watch for a while. I’m playing the odd game of Company of Heroes, which I put on the backburner during the autumn/winter games flood, and some portable games, but nothing much else.

I hit the exact same problem. I want to play something, that is why I’m in front of the computer. But of course, I have to also make a decision as to what to play and whether I have the inclination to sit down with it and be absorbed by whatever gameworld I’m entering.

Instead, I find the easiest path is to simply procrastinate in front of the screen, reading the message boards, checking facebook every 5 minutes, or some other mundane activity where nothing important will have developed. It is easy to lose track of time when this happens.

I try and break that cycle lately by recognising that I’m wasting my day away, and look at getting up and doing something different. Lately it has been getting on the pushbike or lacing up the joggers and getting outside to clear my mind. I don’t actually return to the computer, but I feel invigorated or inspired enough to do other things to stimulate my mind after that.

And this is a problem that tends to hit me probably 2 or 3 times a year and will persist for about a week, or worse, two.

I use to play a lot of hours weekly, and now I play less hours but still have fun. I am happy because whatever I choose is the right thing for me just now, and everything gives xp points.

Dont lose what make you special, if theres something in gaming that make you unique, then perhaps try (NO CARRIER

I had a huge case of game fatigue last night. I was playing Battlefield 3 on Metro and got sniped by some guy across the map with a last level unlocked gun. There was something about the model of the rifle and the guy that reminded me exactly of Counterstrike. I realized with a flash that I’ve been playing this same game for at least 13 years.

I think I need a new genre. I might be fatigued to boredom with FPS shooters.

When I think of my backlog and the many games released in the last 5 years or so that I STILL haven’t picked up for PC, DS, PSP, 360, and that I still would like to pick up a PS3 and Wii for the exclusives… and I think of the amount of time I could instead devote to more productive endeavours… that’s when I feel like just quitting gaming.

Happens to me once or twice a year and I usually take a complete break for a few weeks (though how complete a break is it if I’m still reading about gaming?) or I just play a whole lot less, maybe just once or twice a week for a little bit.

But then some new game gets released or announced that gets my adrenaline pumping or I get burned out doing whatever took gaming’s place on those breaks and then I’m gaming like it’s 1999.