When real life becomes more exciting than the escapism of gaming

Avatar image for sombre
sombre

1443

Forum Posts

19

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

Hey gang,

Like many of you, I've been playing games for...well, decades. Gaming was really my absolute first love. When things weren't going so well at home, or school, I knew I could get home, play Pokemon Red on the Game Boy, or FF4 on the SNES, and kinda...lose myself for a few hours. Between gaming and writing, I always kinda had this little pocket of escapism. As I got older, gaming became more and more amazing. To beat a dead horse "Now is the best time to be gaming", and I honestly felt this up until about....the launch of the PS4. Then it felt like things had...changed.

There are still some remarkable games out there. There really are. Persona 5, Yakuza Zero, Spelunky HD, Breath of the Wild- some of the games that I can recognize over the last half decade as excellent, complete packages. However, it feels to me like gaming had this gradual switch to games as a "Service", that happened so slightly, that I never quite noticed it happening, but it really did.

I think I first noticed it at around about Diablo 3, and Destiny 2. No longer would you play a game, see credits, and be done with it. I've actually seen a thread on the forums last night about "Post game content", which really resonated with me. No longer is a game about a singular, complete experience with a logical, defined, linear sense of progression. It's as though nowadays, every SINGLE game wants to monopolize EVERY SECOND of your spare time. Every game has an expansion pass, or a battle pass, or ongoing DLC, and ongoing content, and substantial DLC drops, and honestly? It's a little exhausting, for someone like me.

Now, I appreciate that I am largely in the minority here. I'm in my thirties, I have an interesting life outside of games, and I no longer need to use them as escapism. I was talking to a good friend yesterday, and we both mused over our recent "Falling off" of games. As he put it, "We got to a point where our real life became more important than our virtual ones.....It's better to level YOURSELF up, rather than your character"

That really stuck with me. No longer do I need to grind out 2.3 gear score to get a better parse on Icecrown Citadel. My real life is fantastic! I'm moving to Japan in 6 weeks to chase my dreams! I'm moving somewhere amazing to do a really cool job, and I feel as though....I kinda don't need games anymore.

I know people that spend upwards of £500 on every DOTA battlepass, or play every spec of Destiny 2 DLC, or they dig back into Monster Hunter: World for every new monster. That's fine for them, for sure! I respect that people want to do that! In terms of money per hour, it's never been a better time to be playing games! But for someone like me, who maybe has 10 hours a WEEK to play games...I just don't have it in me to grind my head against games that are 80 hours a month.

How about you guys? Has real life become more interesting than gaming? Or do you still love just sitting there all night, enjoying a virtual world, that's been lovingly crafted. I'd love to hear from you!

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

3852

Forum Posts

93

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I don't know where you live or what your personal circumstances are, but for me and almost everyone I know my real life has never been less exciting than it was this year. Everything's closed, travel is not advised, there are no (legal) parties or gatherings or concerts and if there were it wouldn't be smart to go.

This just seems like a really weird question to ask in 2020 without acknowledging what's going on. There are some parts of the world where I suppose that life is still normal (I think Vietnam has no covid, for example) but for the vast majority of the people on this board if you're being responsible then you have more time at home than you ever have before.

I've had periods of my life where I was busy with other stuff and spent less time playing games, but 2020 ain't it, chief.

Avatar image for anywhereilay
anywhereilay

223

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Hmm, in the middle here. I don't think I'd be considered a heavy gamer, not investing in battle pass etc, not spending more than 10 hours averagely on gaming in a week.

Still, I enjoy these things, much like I enjoy reading, movies and music. Sometimes they provide a nice wind-down, and sometimes they don't really do it for me, or I don't have the time. Cycles I guess.

I don't really see games only use being escapism, you can certainly play games and have a very fulfilled life.

Avatar image for kopcik
kopcik

151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

What I found blizzare is that heavy crpg pathfinder feels more casual for me to play that all the live service or competitive games. Because I know that there is an end to it and I'm not bombarded with bulshit like battlepasses and feeling of missing out. But more to a topic, I'm a busy person and I still want to spend an hour here and there playing video games.There is a time for everything just make sure you won't get consumed by it.

Avatar image for yyninja
yyninja

196

Forum Posts

63

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 48

User Lists: 1

I get your sentiments. Outside of what has been an admittedly shitty year, I'm kind of on the same boat.

I've always enjoyed playing video games to wind down and relax but lately I've come to the realization that I could be using my time more wisely. I have spent so many hours doing mindless fetch quests and grinding in JRPGs when I could have used that time to better myself, workout and learn new skills.

I wouldn't say my gaming habits have changed completely yet, but I'm now okay with turning the difficulty down, skipping the side quests and mainlining games.

Avatar image for mechashadow84
MechaShadow84

70

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

sombre,

I'm happy for you. I hope your life continues to go well.

As for me, I view life as life. I gave up on life ever being "good" for me long ago. I'm definitely thankful for the life I have. I just know that it is what it is.

I'll never stop playing games.

Avatar image for mrbgone
MrBGone

75

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Pandemic has essentially taken away my whole life outside of sex, recording, work and video games.

There's a limit to how much you can do of the first three. A limit to gaming as well but it's higher.

Reading is great as well but I'm sort of a problem reader, if I start to read a book I can't put it down. The king killer chronicles messed up my life completely...

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

6334

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#8  Edited By Efesell  Online

I don't know where you are where this has been possible to achieve in 2020, but good on you I guess.

As for me, no, can't relate.

Avatar image for james_ex_machina
James_ex_machina

1083

Forum Posts

8

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I’ve definitely fallen off games and I’m starting to fall off the gaming culture. When 2020 started I was going to sell off all my guitar equipment that has been collecting dust as I collected/hoarded consoles. I had planned to build an entertainment center to house all my modern consoles with led lights, hidden wiring compartment for wiring and a network switch, and a battery backup power supply. I had plans for 3 years but due to the fact I was working 9-10 hour days I just couldn’t make time for it. Early this year I gave in and bought a reasonably priced unit to hold my current gen PS & Xbox. I figured I can always give it away if time is available and build mine…

As the shutdown occurred I thought of what games to tackle first. Would I restart Zelda on the Switch or maybe finally play Skyrim? I had also started posting guitar books and magazines on Facebook marketplace which lead my to cleaning up guitars to sell. Then the switch happened. Playing a game just left me empty but reading books and playing guitar became my coping mechanism. As primarily a rhythm guitarist my whole life I started learning scales trying to pull emotions out of the notes and I started connecting with guitar more than ever. This year I added another guitar to my collection and purchased 6 amps, and 12 effect pedals. Besides guitar woodworking became a way to spend my time since I have keys to a friends shop with every tool I could ever need. (I would love to talk woodshop and my love of Festool stuff with Vinny)

The entertainment center never made it back to my to do list. It was shoe racks below the coach, an amp stand, a shed to house a Big Green Egg, and a guitar pedal board. I’m currently building replicas of Mesa Boogie 1x12 guitar cabinets that I can’t afford for 1/2 the price. I’m building art print storage boxes for all the art my gf and I have bought over the years. I just finished a fake stage looking amp stand that will hold 3 amps, hide guitar cases, and have hangers for my guitars while looking really neat in my entertainment room.

Anyway… I needed real creativity from woodworking and the emotional sounds of guitar licks and scales to get through the year. Games didn’t work for me which is strange to say. I’m ready to start clearing my hoard of 28 consoles and 300+ games. Throughout out the year I still listened to the Beastcast but dropped off the bombcast and cagcast because I just didn’t have enough listening time. I have played some games in the last 2 months but it’s been short sessions. I’ll play more games but I only have interest in an XSX for the sole purpose to consolidate all Xbox gaming to one backwards compatible Xbox. That eliminates 3 xboxes for me. Game Pass will probably be my source for games moving forward.

As I type this I wonder do I keep my brand new Analogue NT NOIR or trade for another guitar? I’ve enjoyed gaming for 30 years. I’ve traveled to 7 PAX’s east and west and 3 Long Island Retros (great gaming community out there) but right now I doubt I’ll go again if they even return.

2021 is just around the corner. As the company I work for is grasping for survival from the economic travesty caused by COVID I’m wondering what is next. 30 years of printing, publishing, and advertising media seem to be leaving me looking for something new. Who knows?

Maybe next year I’ll start dusting off consoles to kill time. No matter what I hope GB continues because I’ve really enjoyed the entertainment here since Arrow Pointing Down. I still watch GB content no matter if want to play games or not.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16267

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

Some people move past video games. Most people, it seems, drop them altogether at some point in their thirties or forties and come back later, or perhaps don't come back at all. If you're happy, then this is great!

For me, I'm an introvert. That doesn't mean I don't have friends or hang out with people, but I go insane if I don't get a significant amount of time to myself at least one or twice a week, in the peace and quiet. That translates to a lot of time spent playing video games, and at 29 years old myself, that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.

And in any case, I'm an American in 2020 and that means there's a ton of plague to go around and a ton of dipshits who don't think it's a problem. Even if I wanted to expand my social life, I couldn't right now because I would much rather avoid getting and/or giving coronavirus. Wherever you are that this isn't much of a problem, consider yourself lucky. It sounds like you already do.

It's as though nowadays, every SINGLE game wants to monopolize EVERY SECOND of your spare time.

This is kind of only true in the AAA and mobile spaces. If you go beyond the top-shelf, heavily-advertised, generic stuff, you can find plenty of great games that have a definite beginning, middle, and end, where you put the game down and move on. Even in the AAA space, I feel like there's a lot of new stuff that you just finish and move on. The exception to this is if you're primarily into multiplayer games, in which case you have very limited options when it comes to avoiding live service games.

That said, "hour count" is definitely more of a selling point now than it has ever been. I understand that the 360 generation had a lot of games that were way too short, but if a game is longer than ten hours long then "hour count" should no longer be a factor in whether or not it's worth it. Still, this doesn't make games with inflated hour counts "live services", it just means they have a lot of padding and no sense of pacing.

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

6334

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#11 Efesell  Online

Also if one of my friends said to me "its better to level yourself than your character" I would roast them for it until the end of their days.

Avatar image for junkerman
Junkerman

667

Forum Posts

371

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 5

#12  Edited By Junkerman

I hear what you're saying. I dont have much time to play games these days with a family to look after an a job that keeps me pretty busy.

I'd get a new game every once in a while and fall off it pretty quick and I would wonder if I even enjoy games anymore... but then I play something like God of War, Death Stranding, Hollow Knight or Days Gone and enjoy myself like I was back in high school.. but.. thats pretty much it for this generation for me. So I'm not sure if my tastes have changed or I have less time so anything thats less then a stellar experience doesnt seem worth my time.. I'm not sure.

Anecdotally I've been going back and playing some old 360 games and have been enjoying myself far more. I'll probably get flack for saying that as "games are better then ever now!" but I'm not convinced.

Avatar image for mezmero
Mezmero

4058

Forum Posts

405

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 16

If things are going well for you then that's great, but you could've fooled me given how a majority of your posts lately seem kind of grouchy and miserable.

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
BladeOfCreation

2106

Forum Posts

27

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

I think for me, I don't see the phenomenon of every game wanting to monopolize my time as all that new. It's a trend that's been going on for the better part of a decade at this point. But I'm also a person who has, in the past, spent a lot of time playing MMOs. There have definitely been times when those games became a chore; logging in to make sure I got my dailies done became almost automatic and not fun anymore. I certainly wish a lot of AAA games were shorter or less open world. Not every game needs a 30-50 hour long main story. That said, I also get why people like games that they can get lost in for countless hours. I find it interesting that you mention Diablo 3 as a game where you first noticed this. People were (and still are) playing Diablo 2 endlessly.

I'm sorry, but I would absolutely laugh my ass off if someone unironically told me they were more interested in "leveling yourself up."

Taking a step back from gaming--or any hobby you're not really connecting with anymore--is perfectly normal, and I'm pretty sure that gaming is the only hobby where people write forum posts about it lamenting the fact that they're moving on to other things. You SHOULD have other hobbies and do things other than play video games. You're not betraying some gamer code by moving on. The council of gaming isn't gonna knock down your door and take your consoles because you haven't played them recently.

Lastly, I have to agree with other people in this thread who've pointed out that 2020 seems like a particularly weird time to say life has gotten too interesting for games when so many of us have had far more time at home than ever before. I will say, though, that extra time at home has not been entirely productive for me. I had plans in March to play through certain games or read so many books, yet I'd sleep in and then spend time just browsing Netflix or YouTube or even Giant Bomb and doing...nothing. That's not to say that I accomplished nothing this year. Just that it's a weird year to say life has gotten too interesting for games.

Avatar image for liquiddragon
liquiddragon

4234

Forum Posts

978

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 18

Why do these kinds of posts always shit on gaming? I mean I’m happy for you but “I kinda don't need games anymore?”

I do agree GaS is exhausting but I’m pretty much exclusively a solo player and I’m drowning in games. I’m not just drowning in notable indie games but big budget boxed games as well, games I could move on from after credits.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

688

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I don't really understand if there's a connection between games becoming "games as a service" and real liffe becoming more exciting than gaming? Those keep completely unrelated to me. I also don't feel traditional one-time single player games are being particularly threatened. There are still tons of those. If you don't like Destiny/Diablo III / etc. type experiences, you can just ignore those. I do.

For me personally, there have been many times in the past where life has been more exciting than gaming, or when I've been just way too busy to indulge much. Right now I'm finding myself gaming more, due to a combination of 1) having finished my education 2) less socializing due to covid and 3) having a recent breakup. Sometimes I wish I was spending that time more productively, but ya know, sometimes I just want to relax.

I think the hostile reaction here is a bit unwarranted though. OP is just reflecting on their personal experiences. I don't think they meant to be dismissive or condescending (although I could see where it could come off that way.)

Avatar image for prolurker
prolurker

38

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Sometimes I have to completely stop playing AAA games in favor of indie titles that do something different.

I also stopped watching content creators that get sponsored by a publisher to play a game. If they're paid, then what's motivating them to give an honest assessment?

I like zero punctuation's reviews on games, sometimes you need a curator for all the thousands of games released each month.

That said, I probably get way more out of reading a book/listening to a podcast than I do playing a game. Balance is key.

Avatar image for quasiconundrum
quasiconundrum

142

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

We all have ups and downs, and we're all in search of that perfect work/play balance (or life/video games balance, lol). I feel fortunate that I'm mostly in the same camp as you, feeling generally satisfied with where my life is at in my mid- to late-thirties (though I don't know that "exciting" is quite the word I'd use!).

Anyway, congrats on what sounds like a great opportunity, and good luck in Japan!

Avatar image for eccentrix
eccentrix

2760

Forum Posts

12217

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 12

I've never had more games to play and I wish I had more time to do so. I'm also at the lowest point I've ever been in my life. I don't think the two are very related.

Avatar image for facelessvixen
FacelessVixen

3407

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I like going outside.

I like to ride my bike. I like going to museums and being alone with my thoughts. Hell, on an exceptionally good day, I like talking to people. And when COVID is less of a thing, I wonder if my old university will let me use their GYM.

I like getting away from games at times. I've said this many times over the years, but it still holds true: It's all about balance.

Anyway, say "Hi" to Hitomi Tanaka for Matt McMuscles for me.

Avatar image for glots
glots

4904

Forum Posts

74

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@efesell said:

Also if one of my friends said to me "its better to level yourself than your character" I would roast them for it until the end of their days.

This was truly something I’d expect to maybe hear in an episode of some bad family drama dealing with gaming addiction.

That aside, can’t really relate too much with this post. My life’s not amazing but still at an okay place, especially under current happenings. I’m still gaming happily and out of like 15 new games I’ve played that have come out this year, only one has been exclusively online and even with that one I’ve enjoyed my time with, without feeling like I need to sacrifice my whole life to it.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

6065

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I can't relate either. I've never found this hobby to be overbearing or obstructive. Life takes priority because that's where the money, work, relationships and the cool stuff happens. At the same time, games are the media I devote the most time to. I like them. I'm fascinated by how they come together and when something comes along that's special, it's worth talking about.

As I've gotten older, the compulsion to game isn't a prevalent but it's still something I enjoy doing.

Also, moving to Japan to escape games sounds like moving to the Caribbean to escape drugs.

Avatar image for damnboyadvance
damnboyadvance

4203

Forum Posts

1020

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 4

My personal life is exciting but busy, so I don't have much time left over for gaming. I have been making an effort to spend less time on my phone and more time gaming, just because the world is so damn depressing, so I suppose I use gaming as a form of escapism, not from my personal life but from the world in general.