One of the most frustrating things about being a gamer is falling into the “eh.” mentality. It’s those periods where, no matter how many excellent games are in your library, you simply cannot find a game that you really want to play. It’s not the same as simply not wanting to play games in general. That’s never an issue. If we never took breaks from our favorite hobby, then it would quickly grow tiresome no matter how great the games you’re playing are. No, it’s those times when you really do want to play, but simply cannot figure out what. I can’t say I have a one-size-fits-all way to end the “…eh.”‘s, but there are things I’ve noticed about this situation over the years of my own gaming career. Some help and some hinder; the trick is knowing which is which.
Let’s start with what works.
The easiest way to get psyched to play a game is simply to get a new game. It’s not the cheapest way to break a slump, but unless you’ve gone and bought something awful or just boring, you should have no problem getting excited about playing it. I should clarify though. Buying a new game is the easy answer when there are actually games out that you want to buy, but not so much when that’s not the case, right? Not to worry there’s plenty that can be done when nothing good is on the horizon.
Sometimes all it takes to get back into a game you’ve played through already is a little push. For starters, try to come up with something new you can do in an old game. Maybe come at it from the opposite morality alignment, or think of a challenge to accomplish in the next playthrough. If extra challenge or simply coming at it from a new angle isn’t enough, bring your friends in on it. Make it a competition or at the very least something worth talking about. Adding a social element to your older games can go a long way towards reviving interest.
The last method I’ve found that helps stave off the “eh.”‘s is keeping a list of games to play, a sort of replay schedule. It’s not something you should have to hold yourself to by any means, all it does is provide some purpose to the play. If you have a list of games to get through, you’re no longer just wandering from game to game now that there’s a reason to be playing again.
These are the things I’ve found that work, but remember, there are several things that you can do that can extend a slump rather than shorten it. There are two that tend to be the worst offenders.
The first is buying an “arcade” game like Super Meat Boy. Short games like these are fine, there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. I personally love these short “time-waster” types of games, since they don’t require a large amount of time to be put in. The problem is that they’re meant to be played in short bursts, not the sort of games that really elicit extended periods focus or attention from the player. They’re very fun, but still wind up delaying a return to bigger games.
Finally, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all. Unless you’ve got a game coming out that you want to play, trying to wait out the slump does nothing but make it last longer. You can’t get out a slump unless you get back out there an start playing again. It’s just that simple.
Keep in mind that this is simply anecdotal evidence, meaning this is just gathered from the experiences of myself and my gaming friends. This list most definitely doesn’t cover everyone or even all the ways to deal with the “eh.”‘s.
That being said, how do you deal with gaming slumps? What would you add to the list?