Too many games are feeling like "work" after playing a while

You’re getting older.

(It is.)

QFMFT. This is the motto of responsible-gambling movement, and with loot box increasingly looks like fruit machine, this is the way to go.

I’m getting to the point where I enjoying reading about… and sometimes even watching… games more than playing them myself. Factorio is one of the ones where I still actively play because it is almost passive - there isn’t a fail state (no biters for me), I can be as sloppy or OCD as I wish based on my mood, I can play with a train set (this apparently becomes a thing with age too), and I don’t have to think too hard to make progress.

For a lot of other stuff, I read up on it here or reddit or wherever and live vicariously through my son who is aiming to be the most successful pacifist griefer in Red Dead Online (which honestly, is absolutely hilarious).

I went through this phase a while back, where I wondered whether I was just “over” gaming. But I could go back and play older games that I used to love, and still love them all over again. I think it was just a period where very few new games were exciting me, but this has certainly turned around in the last few years. A lot of mid-tier games have come along that re-ignited that interest, games that either harked back to older gameplay models I enjoyed, or those trying something new.

There are plenty of games out there that don’t interest me: AAA games are largely for another audience that doesn’t include me now, I don’t get the whole card game craze, I’m getting increasingly lukewarm on any MMO gaming structures, etc, and if my library comprised nothing but that I’d probably throw in the towel, but fortunately there’s more choice and more great games that appeal to me now than there’s been for years. Either that or I’m just getting better at picking the ones that I’ll love.

I have zero tolerance anymore for blatant treadmills and time wasters. There are a host of game design choices that will make me pretty much instantly shut something off and never play it again. Poor save systems, poor checkpoints, gear grinds if the gear isn’t meaningful…some games I can still get into a good progression system if the tiers are actually significant improvements.

The older I get, the less it takes to turn me off to a game. They are billions right now is really frustrating me. I love the game, I love the mechanics, I love everything about it, except the (&)(& idiotic save system that won’t let you have various save points. I hate having an hour invested in a game, and then losing because one mob slipped through a crack somewhere. I don’t mind roguelikes when it’s really a valid choice for a game, but in this case it really feels tacked on and pretty infuriating.

I a complex issue. Games like this did not existed in the 8 bits era. In the 8 bits era most games existed to challenge you. Very few games existed to entertain you, or to chill.

The bigger influencer of the era was the arcade machines, that where coin operated, so the business model was very time limited, have the player enjoy the game, but also make the game short, so the next person can use the cabinet.

With the PC game world we started to see games like Maxis simulators that where “learn how the world work with a model” and full RPG games where you “adopt a role and live adventures.”

In japan and that area of the world, the RPG’s required many hours of grinding and maybe challenging.

In time we had things like german Farm Simulators and Korean MMO’s.

I like to think, but I have no base, that is a cultural based things. That in some cultures they like their games to feel like work.

I am anti work. I am lazy, inventor and artist. About the 3 most anti-work things that exist. If you are lazy, you work hard to work less. If you are inventor, you create robots so you don’t have to work yourself. If you are artist, you know quality is disconnected with productivity, in art don’t matter if you took 2 seconds to made it or 2 years, only if is good. In art you put 2 years of work to be able to make something in 2 seconds.

Not everyone is like me. For some people more work = better. For some people more work= more reward. The idea of “don’t work harder, work smarter” don’t pass for their head. For some people (most people) work define their existence, they will probably suicide themselves if you give them 30 million dollars, because will remove the reason of their existence (work).

So I think some games feel like work, because work is such a important part of people lives that they literally can’t live withouth.

If the story is interesting, then I let it pull me through. If the mechanics are great that can make up for a mediocre story. But what really keeps me around is a sense of place, the integration of art, design, character, and world building. If I like being there, I’ll do everything there is to do. If I don’t, any excuse will usually pull me away.

I get it, and I’ve done it.

I’m in the final battle of Divinity: Original Sin 2 and after failed attempts I’m ready to toss in the towel. But, man, I can’t quite make myself do it. Really, it’s one last battle, but they take so many hours combined that it’s a struggle to get myself back into it. I want my party to have its ending. It’d be like reading a book and then stopping just before resolution. Arg. Letting it go is not always the best choice for games that rely strongly on narrative.

Honestly, I’d say I have two reasons for dropping games that I’ve already invested a lot of time in:

  1. Difficulty spike made the game a slog and repetitive as I tried to get past that challenge.

  2. There was no hook (e.g. story) to keep me and I was drawn away by another game.

[Edit/Update] And see, good thing I went back and played DOS2 again. Tried a few times and restarted early when I could see things weren’t going well. Decided on a new tactic and it worked to get me through. Done and I’m happy to shelve it.

I love this thread. I’m going through a lot of this myself. I recognize that at my age there’s less time. I still like games but I just don’t feel as compelled to play as much. I do wonder if that will change when I’m officially retired and when time is a bit more relaxed. Like a lot of you I have noticed that I don’t care to finish a game anymore if I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve figured out a game’s mechanics and now it’s just a grind.

I still think it can be neat to get achievements but there’s a difference between “find the one secret on each level” vs “collect the 150 hidden skulls strewn about the open world”. I can’t be arsed enough to go after that second one anymore.

I can relate to this.

For me, happiness = purpose. My purpose has often been to automate some repetitive task working with art. When I’m in that mode, time flies.

Games give you purpose, but it is an illusion. Once the PC switches off, life condition hasn’t improved. Real work is saved for more tangible achievements that will better my outlook. That rush of accomplishment combined with lasting benefits. Good stuff.

This in a nutshell. Too many games base their difficulty and challenge on the mechanics of the game ie. you learning/understanding them. Once you’ve done that too often it loses its luster and magic.

There’s also a bit of a difference between someone with one or two new games and someone with a backlog with dozens (at least) of games.

As a kid I had to get my money’s worth out of every game, a new one wouldn’t be available for months. Now? The monthly Humble Bundle usually provides me with more games than what I can finish in a month, if I’m not feeling it, there’s always another one to try.

Its the developer/designers fault, and I say that as a developer/designer. Frankly…the current business forces us to do this.
Because the market is so crowded, devs are forced to chase any method of acquiring eyeballs that we can, and one of the cheapest, and best methods, is to keep players playing ALL THE TIME, so their friends see those ‘in game’ notifications. Its great free advertising. It also means people look at hours played and consider the game good value, which leads to good reviews and recommendations.

As a result, new games have MORE achievements, a bigger metagame, a bigger world, and more options. We WANT you to keep playing,playing,playing.

…and the key thing is, that 1% of players get super into a game and play 100+ hours. In virality terms, those players are 100xers, as the time-in-game is valid whether its 1 person playing 100 hours versus 100 playing 1 hour.

As a player, a key thing to do is to realize that the devs are trying to ensure nobody stops playing before they are bored. We FULLY expect most players to get bored without achieving everything, or doing anything. I’ve got all of the achievements in Production Line, but FFS I am the developer…it amazes me how many players have done this.

TL;DR: Devs are designing for the uber-addicted hardcore. Feel free to not be that demographic. 99% of you are not.

I am totally on board with this thread. I was trying to explain to a buddy why I don’t like Division 2, or Destiny, or Anthem or any of them. I am just at the point where I don’t want or need the obligation of daily quests, games that never end, games that want you to play them for years and years. Like I’m over it.

The worst thing Apex Legends did was add a battle pass, even though I wanted it. Suddenly I felt anxiety for not playing enough, because I wouldn’t finish the battle pass. It made me angry at the game, which I was enjoying the shit out of, so I stopped playing.

Bloodstained was a perfect game.
Deep enough to dig in if you wanted to, but it has an end. You can finish it, and move on to something else. Zelda BotW is the same. Play 100 hours or 20.

Divinity OS2 is another prefect game, in my opinion. The game is huge and epic without needless cruft and shitty quests meant to fill time. It has an ending, and you can replay it if you want to but it doesn’t expect you to.

I guess I’m just so over “live services”. Like fuck them, honestly. Give me more Bloodstaineds and less Fallout 76s.

You all need to strap into an Oculus and fly an F/A-18C or F-14B.

No work there. Just immediate fun.

What a great perspective and I can see how that would work.

Would this be the another reason for putting in the ultra-tough battles, puzzles, levels, or whatnot? People go online, share their frustration or curiosity, ask how-to and lo and behold more talk about the game, pumps up the interest, looks like more people are playing? That one person’s possible misery is expanded into a few others hearing about the game. Buzzbuzzbuzz. The game is already sold to that person, after all, it’s about maybe getting a few more to drop the dollars.

I too loved RDR 1, but dont think I am in the right headspace to tolerate Rockstar’s pretentiousness anymore. Also the work conditions.

Isn’t this, with ‘figuring out the AI’ as a next step, the infamous Chick parabola? 😛

Good point, although I got the impression from a lot of Tom’s podcasts that he’s a bit more tolerant of grinds than some.

This is an interesting point, and I wonder if it affects me in reverse? When I only pay pennies or a few dollars for a game, I may not mind abandoning it at the first sign of tedium.