Finding the Drive to Play

I’ve been blogging about games for about 10 years now (holy cow!) and I can definitely see myself going for another 10. It’s kind of amazing how much has changed in gaming over those 10 years, and honestly I can hardly believe it sometimes. I’m also sometimes surprised that I’m still into gaming enough to write about it on the regular (both here and at Hardcore Gamer). As enthusiastic as I am about gaming, it’s not constant. There’ve been many dips in enthusiasm over the years, and each one has had me rethink gaming as a whole from one angle or another. I’ve been in one of those dips for the past couple of months now, and this time I’ve mostly been thinking about what’s kept me playing over the years. I expected it to be one specific thing, but that’s not the case. Rather, it’s been several things that’ve changed over the years alongside the medium itself.

Gaming used have very simple appeal. When I was a kid playing Donkey Kong Country and such, all that mattered to me was that it was fun. Games were fun and that was enough. I’m pretty sure that attitude lasted me all the way up through high school. After that, it was something like “I am a gamer; playing games is what I do.” These were my college years, and they were probably the most intense as far as being a “gamer” went for me. If I wasn’t studying or out somewhere with friends, I was playing one game or another. It’s all I wanted to do. It wasn’t until after leaving school and fully entering working adult life that the ol’ gaming drive became somewhat shaky.

Many of our older readers will likely agree when I say that gaming is a little different as an adult. It’s still enjoyable, and you can still really get into it. However, the opportunities to play become fewer and it likely won’t yield the same kind of satisfaction that it once did. You have to find other reasons to keep playing beyond simple fun. For me, it was (and still kind of is) the fact that my friends are all into gaming. For the longest time, gaming has been fun because talking about it (and writing about it) with everyone is fun. Its fun to play together; it’s fun to discuss the different games we’re playing or the new titles we’re excited for. It’s fun to talk about industry goings-on too. This has been the appeal of games for me for quite awhile now. I still really like the games themselves of course; I wouldn’t be able to come up with articles if I didn’t, but idle fun hasn’t been the main driving force for a long time now. That’s kind of a problem.

Playing for the sake of enjoying games with friends is great way to keep games as a relevant pastime, but that approach only works if you’ve got friends to share them with. I did a big move last year, and am now living on the other side of the world. My friends are now all so far away that Monday morning for me is Sunday night for them. So not only can we not hang out anymore, we also can’t play/talk online very often. This means that I’m basically on my own as far as maintaining an interest in games. It’s been almost a year now, and honestly I’m still looking for one. I’d like to return to the simple fun being enough, but I’m not sure I can. There’s so much to do and see here in this new place that it almost feels like a waste to sit inside and keep playing just because games are fun.

I’m sure the enthusiasm will return. There’s a ton of really interesting things coming out this year on both current and nex-gen, so I definitely won’t have a shortage of interesting things to play. I just need to get that ol’ excitement back somehow. Perhaps I should start with returning to some old favorites. What do you think?


What do you do when your gaming drive starts to fail? Do you just take a break, or do you do something to get back into it?

Image from Nintendo eShop

12 Comments Add yours

  1. darthtimon says:

    My gaming time wars internally with my writing/TV time. I also find the types of game I enjoy ebb and flow like water. Right now I’m playing a lot of Football Manager 21 on PC, and not spending as much time on the Switch. Every now and then I go through phases where I play a lot of Mario Maker 2. It’s always changing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Mario Maker is always a good choice!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Silvernax says:

    Couldn’t agree more – it’s always tough finding the time. One of the only good things coming out of Lockdown and Redundancy is I had a lot more time to play and clear my backlog.

    But yeah having others to play with makes it a lot easier to keep at it and keep in touch as well – but its a lot harder to get people together to do big group events!

    Starting with a backlog is always good though – channel that nostalgia and hype as a lot of current games are a bit disappointing! Looking forward to seeing the next decade for you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Thanks! What were you playing during lockdown?

      Like

      1. Silvernax says:

        Ha what wasn’t I playing! Played a lot of Hades and Pokemon on the Switch and managed to tick off Persona 5 Royal, CoD campaign and AC: Valhalla off the list and a lot of Destiny…

        It’ll be a shock when I start work again!

        Anything grabbing your attention at the moment?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hatm0nster says:

          Persona 5 Strikers has been fun. I’m also finally giving Resident Evil 7 a try. It’ll be my first RE game, actually.

          Like

          1. Silvernax says:

            I’m looking forward to P5S in March actually – it’s a game I didn’t think needed a sequel but I’m not going to be upset that I get more time with those characters.

            Good luck with RE! It’ll be good if you can get it into with Village just round the corner… I hate to admit it but I’m just not brave enough haha

            Liked by 1 person

  3. fminuzzi says:

    I also played just for the fun factor when I was young – I’d try anything I could get my hands on, from Doom to Apogee platformers to Tetris – until at some point, I managed to get a hold of games that had interesting premises, stories or worlds (Pokemon, Tales of Symphonia, Golden Sun, Morrowind, etc), which I started eating up. Narrative games still make the bulk of my gaming nowadays, and since I have work-related reasons for playing them, so I don’t think they’ll let up anytime soon!
    It’s a shame time differences are making it hard to play with friends – I’ve had a great time popping into friends’ Animal Crossing towns or connecting for some Hammerwatch/Magicka this past year, even if we have to play very early/late.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      It’s good that your drive to play hasn’t faded over the years. I’m a bit jealous! Also, what’s Hammerwatch?

      Like

      1. Florencia says:

        I guess it’s a hack-and-slash rogue-lite? It has enough character and home base progression that every run felt productive, and the classes felt different enough that everyone found something they liked. I would probably recommend skipping the first game and just playing the ‘sequel’, Heroes of Hammerwatch – it’s a better game, and on the Switch it has all the DLC (most of which I enjoyed).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hatm0nster says:

          Okay, thanks for the recommendation!

          Like

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