Im taking the fun out of games - help

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leviathan

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#1  Edited By leviathan

I was wondering if I was alone in this, or if others had gone through something similar or could relate.

I remember playing games as a teen and into my 20s before multilayer was a huge thing, and I'd just play games that were fun to me. As a result, I have really fond memories of hundreds of hours spent with many games.

As I've grown older however and had less and less time for games as personal responsibilities increased, i find myself adding a 'filter of sorts when deciding which game to play.

I find myself feeling like if the game has no return on my time investment, then I won't want to play them. What I mean by this is games like WoW make me feel like I'm making good use of my time as levelling up and gearing up a char means my time invested in doing so is worthwhile in that its an mmo and it will stay 'forever' (I know in reality even wow's servers will one day be turned off). Compared to say FFVII remake where I feel reluctant to play as the time I invest doesn't 'lead anywhere'.

This same issue applies to me playing path of exile as its more online and a sense of longevity compared to playing grim dawn which is more just single player.

The issue is i feel like this approach is taking the fun and enjoyment out of it for me. For example, I feel like I would probably enjoy grim dawn more as a game over path of exile, but yet I've hardly touched it, and been playing poe instead.

Anyone else able to relate? Any tips on how to get past this? I feel like I'm not creating as great memories/connections with games now as I used to (probably because I'm not enjoying it as much as I'm forcing myself to play games that have longevity)

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bluelander

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MMOs and games like PoE are basically designed to be addictive slot machines that you play forever. You're not supposed to get anything out of them other than the dopamine hit at seeing a big jackpot that keeps you pulling the lever. As you get older and time spent is more meaningful for you, it's easier to think critically about your experience with these kinds of games and ask yourself if the time spent is actually worth it. Don't feel bad that you got addicted, Blizzard and co. pay psychologists lots of money to get people addicted. Just cancel your subscriptions, uninstall the games, and feel grateful that you got hooked on a game with a flat monthly fee instead of a gacha game. You got off easy compared to a lot of people.

As for what to play instead, my advice is to look into pre-internet games that you haven't played, games that are designed to be an authored experience and not an endless loot treadmill. If you have a half-decent PC, you have thousands of games available to you through emulation. Go back and play some SNES or Playstation games that you never got around to. If you haven't looked into it in awhile, emulators for newer consoles like the Gamecube and Dreamcast have come a long way, as well as consoles that used to be a bit fiddly like the N64 and Saturn. Go back and look at some classics you never got around to. It's a good feeling to discover a new game, have a great time with it, finish it in 10-20 hours, and have a complete experience. Make a backlog of games you're interested in and start clearing it out. Print out a list and get a rubber stamp so you can slam down a big ol' fat DONE on games you finish. It's a lot more rewarding than spending the same amount of time farming a raid boss to get a sword with a slightly higher number on it.

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Humanity

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#3  Edited By Humanity

The very basic answer is “stop doing that” although as with all personal quirks it’s much easier said than done.

From my own experience I can tell you that it’s just something you have to force yourself into. There was a time when achievements defined my gaming experiences. I had to check to see if there would be any I was missing and instead of concentrating on enjoying the gameplay I would sit back and cheese out 25 headshots or whatever because I needed that achievement. This was very detrimental to enjoying games as I was constantly constrained by some arbitrary task list in the back of my head. What really helped was moving from X360 to a PS4 in the beginning of this generation. Suddenly my gamer score was gone, and I had zero attachment to PS4 trophies, and it all just stopped mattering. These days even when I game on the XB1X I don’t actively check achievements. Once I beat the game I might look them over and aim to get some that appear fun but I’m never collecting 100 feathers again.

Maybe in your case you just need a clean break from grind mills like MMOs and play a few really great linear, narratively focused experiences to see the value in a tightly paced package rather than a never ending buffet bar. Possibly experiencing definite closure when the credits roll will help you break from endlessly chasing a constantly moving goal post. If finances are an issue try picking up some older discounted games with a rich story. The Epic Game store is constantly giving away free games that fit this criteria. I played What Remains of Edith Finch thanks to their giveaways, something I normally wouldn’t feel justified even $20, and I ended up absolutely loving it.

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w02842128

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I always prefered games that have farming involved, over fighting, shooting, and racing games. I always considered myself a fan of RPGs, but I think what I liked the most was gathering resources, getting better equipment, and leveling up. I remember being mad about Fallout 3 because it didn't let me play anymore after finishing the story. And I didn't care that much about the story, I just wanted to explore and make my character stronger.

Even in a rare case of me liking a racing, or a fighting game was Gran Tourismo 5 but mostly because it had grinding. I spent many hours doing the same race over and over to earn money and buy new cars. Same thing with Tekken 6. Farming money to buy new clothes. It's a dopamine thing like bluelander said.

But these days my gaming preference got shaped in a specific way. I mostly play games that allow me to listen to the podcasts and audiobooks like:

American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Diablo 3, Skyrim, Fallout 4, Factorio, Car Mechanic Simulator 2018, Farming Simulator 19, lately Astroneer (because I liked Vinny's and Brad's series), sometimes Minecraft.

Audiobooks are very cool. They let me know the books I wouldn't normally read.

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Sombre

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You've grown up and your priorities have shifted.

Sadly, it happens to us all.

Time waits for no man

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cikame

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I give my attention to single player games with stories because making progress, beating a challenge and watching the story unfold is rewarding, my time spent feels worthwhile. MMO's or other mechanics based or story-lite games i only play while listening to podcasts or watching videos on my 2nd monitor, it's much easier to qualify mindless grinding away, repairing a car, fighting people over and over in Tekken or leveling up the battle pass in Modern Warfare if i'm consuming media at the same time.
You mentioned Grim Dawn, i have to say that is one of the best podcast games i've played in recent memory.

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Efesell

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#7  Edited By Efesell

You know, Path of Exile is a tough one in this example because in addition to being very good at pulling all of the levers needed to make you spend way too much time playing it.. it also just kinda sets a really high standard for that genre in a lot of other ways.

It also has like 10 acts of what it essentially intended to be "single player" so I don't actually know that you would get more out of something like Grim Dawn..

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imhungry

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I guess I can't relate because I more or less feel the exact opposite way. As my time for games has shrunk, the value I place on the kinds of emotional experiences single player story driven games can provide has become much higher than watching numbers go up.

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quasiconundrum

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Ultimately, I think you just need to bite the bullet and force yourself to play something new. Maybe set a schedule, say X weekend, instead of playing Path of Exile, I'll devote that slot to Grim Dawn (to use your examples). Then stick to it.

I don't mean to downplay your issue, I just think that when we're in a rut, sometimes we just need to kick ourselves in the pants in order to find something exciting again. Anyway, good luck, duder!

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#10  Edited By Goboard

"...Compared to say FFVII remake where I feel reluctant to play as the time I invest doesn't 'lead anywhere'."

I played Arkane's Prey last year and found that I liked a lot of the immersive sim elements so this Steam sale I decided to pick up more like it including the Thief series and Dishonored to further explore other games in the space and refine my understanding of what about them is appealing to me now. This wasn't how I approached playing games when I was younger where I just played something because it looked and sounded cool and then moved from one game to the next. I've found as I grow older that using any form of media as means of personal reflection has been overwhelmingly helpful and opened up new understandings about myself and what interests me.

Having an experience is still a tangible thing, be it an endless one or finite, so even when a game is finite and you've reached the end you still have that experience to reflect and chew on afterwards. I've also found that it really does help to actually give myself that time to look back on a game after completion because more and more it's made the experience of having played something all the more valuable. Even when you find that you did not like that game, that experience still gives you the means to interrogate why and to use that to inform future games or media decisions.

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Ry_Ry

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I think we all go through cycles of interest with games. It sounds like what you need is a clicker game like Clicker Heroes. The number only ever get bigger! Take that dopamine hit and then play something else. Right now I've been playing a lot of Rock Band again as it's the only kind of karaoke game I have. I'm not good. It's definitely a waste of time, but I'm having a blast

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geeelectronica

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well i think your going into a game with very low expectations and not just enjoying the game for what it is

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north6

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#13  Edited By north6

Now take all of this line of logic and turn it into microsoft rewards points you get through booting up a game once a day on gamepass, or trying to find the easiest way to get an achievement so you can get the 50 points or whatever you get every day. That is next level gaming resentment.

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MrGreenMan

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#14  Edited By MrGreenMan

just take a break. I do that from media often when i feel burnt out. Being in my mid 30s, I never play with people online or really associate with others online about video games. I play games I enjoy and keep it at that. It often will take me a week or two to even finish a 20 hour game, and I'm fine with that. We only have so time in a day. I don't enjoy wasting my time all playing video games, and I also enjoy other things than games.

I do have more of a problem buying games that are on sale and then never playing or getting far into them and jump on to something else I'm more interested else and then buying something else.

All that said, maybe try finding other things you enjoy. Back when Diablo II was a thing and the expansion came out, I very much was addicted to that game. Spending anywhere from 8-16 hour days playing online, not even eating and only taking breaks to go to the bathroom. I also was dealing with a lot of emotional stuff as well, but looking back at it, I found it very unhealthy and after that decided any games like that, I just need to avoid at all costs. I was a absolute miserable mess.

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JonRambo

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I was feeling like that when I was playing Destiny 2 a lot. To be able to keep up my level to play things like IB or do the raids I had to grind through the same activities weekly. If I didn't grind, I was essentially locked out of the content I enjoyed. It felt like homework and like a chore. So I've just altogether stopped playing games like that. If I do play a multiplayer game I've played things like COD or Halo, where the more you play, you'll get better and maybe unlock some things but it isn't like increasing your level and getting OP weapons like in Destiny 2. I've enjoyed games a lot more since I stopped playing Destiny 2 and focused on games that I can play at my own pace and not worry about keeping up with the people that can play all the time.

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ghost_cat

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You're being your own worst enemy. Play what you want and what you have time for, as there are plenty of games out there.

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RobertForster

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#17  Edited By RobertForster

I hear you. I can not enjoy a game unless I play it “right.” For instance, I can beat a level, but unless I beat it “right” (say on the hardest difficulty while taking minimal damage in a “skillful” and aesthetically pleasing way), my body and mind will refuse to move on and make me play the level again. I remember being compelled to only save in Deus Ex when I beat the level non-lethally, took no damage, and without ever being seen to the point where I had to use a guide. If I didn’t do this I would be filled with literal existential dread. Over a videogame!

Now, this might have to do with the fact that I have severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), for which I take medication for. But, I just want it to be the way it was when I was a child and beat a level or a game any which way I could, even by the skin of my teeth, and felt a sense of happiness or accomplishment anyway. After all, videogames are just supposed to be fun. Right?

Anyways, I want you to know I’m with you and hope that you are able to just have fun.

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csl316

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#18  Edited By csl316

Personally, the first thing I do when a game catches my eye is check to see how long it is.

This generation, games have gotten so expansive and time-consuming that I need to really pick my battles. Some people like long games, but I'm personally looking for a tight, well-paced game that can be finished in 10-15 hours. I just have a hard time maintaining interest in a game when it starts creeping past 25 hours or so.

When I find myself doing side quests or something and feeling like it's just giving me a numb sensation, I'll just stick to the main path to get to the end. After a few years of doing that, I realized that completing a check list was killing my excitement for games.

I recommend taking a break, then taking a careful look at what games you are playing and why. There's no way to keep up with every big game anymore, so in order to keep yourself into the hobby you gotta realize deep down what works for you. Genre, tone, style, developer, length. These are all factors to consider.

I'm 34, and although I have a lot of free time I still find that gaming isn't always the first thing I want to do with that free time. Balancing it out with other hobbies and cutting my game time down to focus on quality over quantity has gone a long way towards keeping the hobby fun.

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Onemanarmyy

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#19  Edited By Onemanarmyy

I did that a lot with Dota. Why would i play anything else when i know people are sort of relying on me being there to play a couple of games? And it's not like i dislike the game, i actually liked it a lot.

But i knew that 95% of my gaming time was dota at some point. So i just said NOPE, and i played a bunch of 100% singleplayer games. With time, eventually you won't miss the progress bars and you really start to focus on the overall quality of the games you play.

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damodar

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#20  Edited By damodar

The example of WoW as the sort of game that feels like a good use of your time was not the direction I expected. It's interesting that your approach to having limited time is to want to find something that basically becomes the one game you can keep sinking time into. I end up having the complete opposite reaction, where if I'm limited in the time I can spend playing stuff, I occasionally feel like I should be using it to play single player campaigns etc where I can complete a game and put it away and move on to something else, experience a whole bunch of different stuff instead of spending more hours on the fighting games I play that don't really have an end point.

I think I can have a tendency to overthink things when trying to pick a game to play, where I might look at a game and think I do want to play that, but then second guess myself and maybe think about a different game instead etc and just end up spinning my wheels, whereas if I just quickly pick something and jump in, I don't really look back. Are you the same way? If you play Grim Dawn, are you still thinking about Path Of Exile, or is it thinking about that stuff that stops you from jumping in in the first place. Maybe getting past that hurdle of actually launching Grim Dawn is the actual obstacle.

Ultimately, I think it might just help to remind yourself that video games are a hobby. It's ok to just spend that time enjoying yourself and relaxing, you don't have to be making progress on anything, you don't have to be honing those esports skills. It's enough to have a good time, it's ok if you do that without filling any meters or making the numbers go up. You're taking a break from your responsibilities, you don't need to turn it into another job or task.

Having said all that, maybe taking a break from games altogether is a possibility too. Spend that time watching movies or reading or whatever for a bit and maybe you can come back refreshed and enjoy things a bit more.

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Pezen

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Maybe at first ask yourself a simple question; are you having fun playing WoW? Or are you playing it out of habit related comfort? You say Final Fantasy VII doesn't amount to anything, but, what does WoW amount to? Isn't an MMO just a series of ladders to the next level with no actual point at the end? I know there's appeal in the idea of the never ending, but as someone that played hours upon hours of Call of Duty multiplayer at one point in time (still do, but less frequent) I realized that all that time was in large part completely empty experience that could have been spent on more rewarding 'memories'.

The reason I came back over and over again to CoD was partly dopamine hits and part habit and the comfort of the known. But once I forced myself out of the loop I was missing something and it wasn't until I finished a game I realized what that was; closure. There's something rewarding in and of itself by having a game end. Like closing a book or seeing credits on a movie, the experience is over. But there's a nice feeling in experiencing that sense of closure that open ended games never give you.

I still enjoy those 'play forever' games at times, but having taken a break from them and come back to them later I realize I am finding them more rewarding in smaller amounts when I am playing them because I want to play them and not play them out of force of habit.

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ToughShed

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#22  Edited By ToughShed

I definitely understand the problem and have to fight it in myself some times with things. I think you have to step back and really look at if you're having fun with that time you spent after you did. For me, saying no has been a good time to cut certain things off (for example NBA 2K game's extremely grindy RPG style career mode). Sure, you're improving on paper... but what's changing? is the gameplay? is there something new you're learning and are things still fresh?

Meanwhile, just accepting fun for itself sometimes is something not to lose sight of. Just try to launch something fun when you sit down to game without thinking or agonizing over the thought too much and see what happens there.

There's nothing wrong with liking games with progression and things. You shouldn't feel bad if you like that more for a good reason, which certainly exist. Just be honest with yourself about your time. Doing that more has made me cut off some long games I was just finishing to finish and keep grinding at, which was for the best.

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leviathan

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Just wanted to clarify, I think the word i was looking for is 'persistant'. I feel like if there's no persistance to the game (online servers where your characters last 'forever') i'm more likely to force myself to play one that does.

That's why i'd play PoE over Grim Dawn, since the 2 hours i invest in PoE get saved to a server where i'm now 2 hours closer to the 'end game', compared to 2 hours in Grim Dawn where when i stop playing the game, the 2 hours is 'gone'.

I hope that makes a bit more sense in trying to communicate what i meant.

Thank you everyone for all the responses though, didn't expect to get this much feedback!

A lot of it has been helpful, and it's actually led to me playing GTA 5 again for about the 5th time on my new gaming laptop, and having a blast replaying it maxed out and butter smooth framerate.