Ending the “Eh’s”

superMeatBoy
Image by Flickr User: ted_martens

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?

17 Comments Add yours

  1. simpleek says:

    Great post! I sometimes find myself not feeling like I want to play anything even though I have a ton of unfinished or no where near started games. I think if I’m in that slump, I either take a short a break from gaming and do something else, like read or watch a movie. Or I gather some friends together and play a game with them to inspire that spark to play the games I own once again.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Thanks! I do gaming sessions with friends too. I find that such gatherings make it easier to play games I normally have to psych myself into playing again.

      Like

  2. Walters says:

    I should actually consider this more, especially the listing of stuff. Like I want to replay all the FE games I have, buttttt instead I do neither. Should maybe find a day to schedule when to play them, and follow it strictly…

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      What does “FE” stand for if you don’t mind my asking?

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      1. Walters says:

        Ah, sorry, that would be Fire Emblem.

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    2. Hatm0nster says:

      Ah, thanks for clarifying. Unfortunately, that’s a series I’ve never played myself. I’m guessing you would recommend it?

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      1. Walters says:

        Of course…more people playing FE, the better 😉

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  3. I concur with simpleek above:
    If I feel an ‘eh!’ moment coming on, it probably means that I am forcing myself to play a game and so I’ll move on to doing something else like read a book… etc…

    I find having a blog helps! If I get excited about a game, I’ll probably want to write about it/make a video of it, so I’ll organize my gaming time around one or two games and sit there with a notebook and pen handy.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      That’s not a bad idea actually. If you can’t play for fun, then do so for inspiration. …I might need to borrow that idea in the future if you don’t mind. 🙂

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  4. duckofindeed says:

    I have that sometimes, of course, so sometimes what I do is find a really long game to play that I haven’t played lately. I am narrowly dodging a case of the “eh’s” currently, so I’m saving “FFXII” just for that occasion. If I run out of games I feel like playing, I’ll play that. I haven’t played it in years, and while I’m not super excited about it, I know I’ll have fun once I start it. Plus, it’ll last for quite some time until I have something to be excited over again. I also am saving hard modes of games like “Metroid Prime” to play if I get bored.

    Also, I sometimes think over memories of a game, which makes me excited again to play it, or I think of the fan fiction I can write for it. Both got me to start playing “Super Paper Mario” again just recently. I remembered how much fun I had with it last time I played, and I know I’ll have fun writing fan fiction for it, so I couldn’t resist playing. I’m still playing it, and it’s quite delightful.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I like your “hard-mode saving” idea. It could give you something to look forward to.

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  5. Good post. I agree that I have times where I want to play but am not sure what to play. I often like games such as castle crashers or torchlight as go to games that I can take some time with to help me cleanse my pallet. I also get into spaces where I am so frustrated I need something easy. In that case I might actually play Katamari because there is something soothing about rolling up the world.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Thanks. I’ve never played katamari myself. Do you consider it a “must play”?

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      1. That is hard to say because it is extremely weird and I could se the very concept of it turning some people off. For me I love that it is quirky and weird. It is even available to play on your iPhone and iPad which is interesting because you tilt the phone to move the katamari. The music and the basics of the control are really great though both in the iPhone and the Playstation 2 version. It is just that it is an extremely odd story and there are these random moments that are just funny. I personally love it and I have a lot of friends who love it, but again I could see it not being everyone’s cup of tea.

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  6. Vitosal says:

    Most recently when i hit a gaming slump, i decided to play but in order to collect trophies….that wasn’t really a good idea, as my wife has designated me as “trophy whore”

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Just how many trophies have you gotten during these slumps?

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      1. Vitosal says:

        between I’, not sure….just check raptr and I earned 50 something trophies the week before last. I replayed Batman: AC, AA just for the platinums but i had fun doing it 🙂 I love batman.

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