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Default Empty feeling while playing games

September 16th, 2018, 21:07
Ok, this is something I've felt some years ago, but recently, as I started spending more hours playing games I started feeling it again.

Basically I've spent about 20h in Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is a very solid game with fantastic visuals and gameplay, hoping to finish it and start on Shadow. After having entered met up with Jacob again and entered the soviet mine with him, I started to feel very tired of playing the game.

It was a feeling of tiredness and of going through the motions. And objectively speaking, the motions are very good. But I really started to feel like I was playing in order to complete checklists of busy-work the developers have placed in the game. I'm kind of OCD about finishing as much as possible, so of course I'm going through everything.

So, with this feeling, I again started to have thoughts about what the hell I was doing. What am I spending my time on? Is this the most valuable usage of my time? And of course it isn't. But it's very easy to get into a game, compared to doing something worthwhile that actually takes effort and willpower.

So, that's where I'm at right now. Pondering again, what to do. I don't think I want to quit gaming completely, but I would loved to find a way to really be able to filter the games that are must-play from the 90% of games which are good, but forgettable none-the-less. And as I know myself, I'm very difficult at putting up filters. I'm much better at taking absolute stances. As in, I either play anything, or play nothing.

I'm not really sure why I'm sharing this. Maybe I just want to hear that I'm not the only one feeling this. I'll have to do some serious thinking again.
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September 16th, 2018, 21:31
I know that feeling as I stopped playing games multiple times due to it. Usually I take a break read a few books, go out for a few walks, and come back to playing games.
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September 16th, 2018, 21:39
I also know the feeling. The solution, I think, is not to quit playing games, but to take a break and do something else. A happy life, in my opinion, is about balance. In my case balancing my job, my family, my friends, and my hobbies. When anything gets too much time and begins to become too heavily weighted then things get out of whack and I get that feeling. It helps to have other hobbies that fill other needs. For example, I play board games or watch sports with friends or go for a hike. Those things fulfil my social and physical needs and are a good alternative when I've had too much time on the computer. Reading as Couchpotato mentioned is also a good alternative when alone, so is listening to music.
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September 16th, 2018, 21:39
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
It was a feeling of tiredness and of going through the motions. And objectively speaking, the motions are very good. But I really started to feel like I was playing in order to complete checklists of busy-work the developers have placed in the game. I'm kind of OCD about finishing as much as possible, so of course I'm going through everything
Mainstream games generally don't take much risks with their gameplay mechanics and designs. They're well polished and efficient games but the sense of discovery is lacking. Video games are not a new medium anymore and, depending on your age, you can be hit pretty hard by boredom.
I almost quit gaming a few years ago but the indie scene pull me back in.
I'm currently playing Lisa the Painful for exemple, though a really cheap game it puts me in situation I've never played before, wich is all I was asking for.

So, in conclusion, you're not alone in that feeling and if you permit me to offer some advice : try some of those cheap, messy but original indie games.
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September 16th, 2018, 21:42
What Couch said. All that plus watching cringy movies and shows helps in my case. Avoid mainstream!
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September 16th, 2018, 21:49
I know the feeling. I take breaks where I watch movies, TV series or read books instead of play game. Sometimes these are week long breaks.

Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
but I would loved to find a way to really be able to filter the games that are must-play from the 90% of games which are good, but forgettable none-the-less.
You might have better luck if you stop thinking that you have to play the "must-play" games. It is not only a very subjective concepts (what others like you might not like) but it also tend to mean you will only play the overrated AAA that the mass fawn over these days.

It's better to find the type of game you like first and go from there. Also, avoiding AAA games, they tend to be very similar these days.
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September 16th, 2018, 21:55
Don't see it as obligation, or force yourself to finish/clear a backlog. Pick up something that really interests you, playing one great game is better than hundred mediocre ones.
At the end of the day, it's all about your fun.
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September 16th, 2018, 22:19
Originally Posted by BoboTheMighty View Post
Don't see it as obligation, or force yourself to finish/clear a backlog. Pick up something that really interests you, playing one great game is better than hundred mediocre ones.
At the end of the day, it's all about your fun.
That's the thing, most of the games on my backlog are widely considered good to great. Before Rise of the Tomb Raider and Baldur's Gate 1, I spent about 180h on The Witcher 3, and that really took it out of me. At the end of Hearts of Stone I tried starting Blood and Wine and was just done. I could not play any longer, even though the experience was great. I was just tired. But I do realize that in the case of TW3 it was probably mostly due to overdosing on that much content. So it might not be the same thing as with Rise.

Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
I know the feeling. I take breaks where I watch movies, TV series or read books instead of play game. Sometimes these are week long breaks.
For some time now I was thinking of taking a longer break, maybe even a year off. So I went on ahead and cleaned up my browsing history to remove all mentions of gaming, gaming news, and whatever else thing could trigger me back. But that didn't keep long. Maybe about a week or so before I relapsed and again started my daily ritual of going to gaming news sites. At times it felt like I enjoyed getting hyped about games more than I was playing them.

Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
You might have better luck if you stop thinking that you have to play the "must-play" games. It is not only a very subjective concepts (what others like you might not like) but it also tend to mean you will only play the overrated AAA that the mass fawn over these days.

It's better to find the type of game you like first and go from there. Also, avoiding AAA games, they tend to be very similar these days.
Very true. It's like all modern action games are turning into the same thing. Open world or hub-based with plenty of side activities and collectibles, with towers that divide the map up, with some light progression systems. Most recently God of War, which was still great even though it did all that (I'm guessing because it also still had sufficient heart) and Rise of the Tomb Raider. And I'm hearing Shadow of the Tomb Raider is very similar. These games are starting to feel like jobs.

Originally Posted by Winterfart View Post
Mainstream games generally don't take much risks with their gameplay mechanics and designs. They're well polished and efficient games but the sense of discovery is lacking. Video games are not a new medium anymore and, depending on your age, you can be hit pretty hard by boredom.
I almost quit gaming a few years ago but the indie scene pull me back in.
I'm currently playing Lisa the Painful for exemple, though a really cheap game it puts me in situation I've never played before, wich is all I was asking for.

So, in conclusion, you're not alone in that feeling and if you permit me to offer some advice : try some of those cheap, messy but original indie games.
So true. Before starting my Rise of the Tomb Raider playthrough, I did a nostalgia run through Gothic 1, which I hadn't touched in 15 years. I felt more heart and love from that game than most modern ones. Of course, nostalgia did play a role. But still.

Originally Posted by forgottenlor View Post
I also know the feeling. The solution, I think, is not to quit playing games, but to take a break and do something else. A happy life, in my opinion, is about balance. In my case balancing my job, my family, my friends, and my hobbies. When anything gets too much time and begins to become too heavily weighted then things get out of whack and I get that feeling. It helps to have other hobbies that fill other needs. For example, I play board games or watch sports with friends or go for a hike. Those things fulfil my social and physical needs and are a good alternative when I've had too much time on the computer. Reading as Couchpotato mentioned is also a good alternative when alone, so is listening to music.
What I always feel pressured to do is spend more time doing something productive, like learning or getting experience in my field of work which I also enjoy.
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I know that feeling as I stopped playing games multiple times due to it. Usually I take a break read a few books, go out for a few walks, and come back to playing games.
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September 16th, 2018, 22:45
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
It's like all modern action games are turning into the same thing.
That's why I stopped playing RTS at one point. From a distance, RTS looks all the same to me, from a mechanics point of view.

Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
It's like all modern action games are turning into the same thing.
Perhaps try non-action games instead ?


I usually read books, magazines or even go out for a walk when I'm feeling tired.
For example, for a week now, I feel kindd of "burned out" from playing SWTOR.
I'm doing things from above, and I've even done a few pure story chapters - I had almost totally forgotten how slow-paced playing fels like !

Some times, I kind of feel burned out from adrenaline-inducing games, from fast games, specifically, that's why I have always a variety of very different games installed. Or I just turn towards books I haven't read in a long time.

Recently I even turned towards reviewing my old, self-written short stories again, because these stories are what I'd like to read. Coming from the premise : "If people are not writing stories the way I like, I'm writing stories I like myself !"
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September 16th, 2018, 22:58
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
For some time now I was thinking of taking a longer break, maybe even a year off. So I went on ahead and cleaned up my browsing history to remove all mentions of gaming, gaming news, and whatever else thing could trigger me back. But that didn't keep long. Maybe about a week or so before I relapsed and again started my daily ritual of going to gaming news sites. At times it felt like I enjoyed getting hyped about games more than I was playing them..
I don't stop following gaming news when I take breaks, I just stop playing games (or watching playthrough of others playing, but that's not something I do often). I just finished a full playthrough of DAI and no games I try keep my interest right now (I've been trying to clear my backlog). I decided to just go through my movie and TV shows backlog instead.

Also, I have gaming genre mood swing on top of requiring gaming breaks. One week I might be all into old school isometric cRPG and then the next one I need some first person game. For example, seeing the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay made me want to play a cyberpunk game, but I was into Dragon Age Inquisition and I switched to watching cyberpunk themed movies instead.
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September 16th, 2018, 23:00
I get this feeling after awhile of heavy gaming. But to assume it's not a good usage of time, I have to disagree with that. It's not if you're not having fun, but if/when you're enjoying it, well, it's a great usage of time IMO. In the end we all need to have fun and enjoyment. But, if you're feeling burned out, take a break as others have mentioned. That helps me. Sometimes I go months without gaming and focus on other hobbies, but the passion always returns. Good luck in your journey.
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September 16th, 2018, 23:09
You're not the only one. There's many great games out there that i've played (and played a lot) but never finished.

There is science behind it. The executive functions in our brain (motivation, concentration and short term memory) are controlled by certain amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine. The average person make a standard amount of this which is responsible for our interest in something. This is also what can cause addictions. Food, Porn, Drugs, Games, Alcohol, Gambling, etc. On the flip side, if you LOSE interest in things you normally enjoy, you're making LESS of the dopamine/epinephrine. So there's two logical conclusions:

1) Whatever you're playing is just not engaging enough to stimulate that area of your brain (or isn't anymore). Those games just might simply not be entertaining for you anymore, or at this point in time.

or

2) There's something preventing you from creating that normal level of arousal. This could be many factors, such as, but limited to, not enough exercise, not enough sleep, certain types of stress (social, work, relationship), depression and other mental disorders (ADHD, which I found I have, etc), diet, vitamin deficiency, and so on.
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September 16th, 2018, 23:25
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
You're not the only one. There's many great games out there that i've played (and played a lot) but never finished.

There is science behind it. The executive functions in our brain (motivation, concentration and short term memory) are controlled by certain amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine. The average person make a standard amount of this which is responsible for our interest in something. This is also what can cause addictions. Food, Porn, Drugs, Games, Alcohol, Gambling, etc. On the flip side, if you LOSE interest in things you normally enjoy, you're making LESS of the dopamine/epinephrine. So there's two logical conclusions:

1) Whatever you're playing is just not engaging enough to stimulate that area of your brain (or isn't anymore). Those games just might simply not be entertaining for you anymore, or at this point in time.

or

2) There's something preventing you from creating that normal level of arousal. This could be many factors, such as, but limited to, not enough exercise, not enough sleep, certain types of stress (social, work, relationship), depression and other mental disorders (ADHD, which I found I have, etc), diet, vitamin deficiency, and so on.
Great post!

Yeah, I also have some stress in my life, and sometimes can't disconnect from that to enjoy anything else. I guess I also have to put things in order on that front.
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September 17th, 2018, 00:05
The trouble is, the various ways you relate to stimuli can be quite complex. It may be that you are a little burned out in general, and perhaps overusing the computer. But, sometimes when we are burned out on something, we return to it looking almost for a state of comfort, and it becomes quite anodyne. We don't really enjoy being in that place, but when away from it, there's an urge to return. It's not addiction, as such, but there can be some similar mechanisms at play.

Personally, I would consider that to be a sign that it is time to take a considerable break (in the order of weeks or months), and change the patterns of how you use your time. There's a technique that's sometimes used, where, when you have an impulse to do something you would typically do, you do something else instead. So, if you feel the impulse to sit down and browse the web, play the bongos. If you feel the urge to have a cup of coffee, go for a walk. Essentially, try to identify the moments when you're doing something because that's just what you do, and shake it up.
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September 17th, 2018, 00:35
Shift your focus to pursuing what you enjoy within the game and burn the checklist of what needs to be done before you can move on. Sounds obvious but I also suffer from it, I know that need! Push on to the next thing, leave whatever you are doing that feels like busywork behind. You get enough drudgery in the real world.

Of course, there's regular burn out as well, to which the only solution is to take a break.
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September 17th, 2018, 02:05
I think variety can be key, as a previous comment mentioned. I often will play all sorts of different games, at the same time. But I also take long breaks often too. During these breaks I will read about new games and so on, but don't do much gaming, unless the mood strikes me.

Then when I do feel like gaming, I'm (for example) playing a first person shooter, and an isometric rpg, a stealth first person rpg, and a run and gun "kill all the waves of monsters as they charge you" type game, all at the same time. Of course, I will occasionally get so engrossed in one game where I will play it for hours and hours on end, but then eventually I will start playing another different game if I start to feel bored.

But I have never been someone who is gaming constantly either, I mean like, for say, weeks where you game every day, which I think would burn me out. Indeed, I can go for months without gaming. This can be gaming altogether, or regarding a particular game. For instance, I recently fired up Wolfenstein: The New Order, and I glanced at the last date I had played it - it was February of this year.

Just because I might be in a period where I'm not actively gaming though, that doesn't mean I have any less love for gaming, I've always been a gamer ever since childhood. Finally, I am super picky about what games I will play. Never am I playing some random game which was not carefully researched and vetted before buying it, and so on.
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September 17th, 2018, 04:45
Not to get too pathetic, but gaming for me takes effort and willpower it seems, lol. Learning a game, committing to playing it. Might sound strange but at least when I feel like it's becoming a bore or a chore, I take a break and go talk to my family for a bit. I'm clinically depressed, though, and probably still have ADHD as I was diagnosed as a child.
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September 17th, 2018, 05:46
Originally Posted by TheRealFluent View Post
Not to get too pathetic, but gaming for me takes effort and willpower it seems, lol. Learning a game, committing to playing it. Might sound strange but at least when I feel like it's becoming a bore or a chore, I take a break and go talk to my family for a bit. I'm clinically depressed, though, and probably still have ADHD as I was diagnosed as a child.
I get this too with ADHD, and completely understand. Even with games that should be holding my attention. On the flip side, when i'm on amphetamines, average things all of a sudden become engaging.
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September 17th, 2018, 05:54
They say it's not what you're doing but who you're doing it with. Try a multiplayer game.
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September 17th, 2018, 11:19
I'm really picky these days, it should be a 9/10 game (for me) to even consider playing it.. Taking long breaks from gaming is really important i think, i've began doing the same for movies, its just not fun when it becomes daily routine. There are lots of other fun hobbies which are more creative i think. It's really fun going back to gaming after having long breaks (i've had close to 1 year breaks).

I have ADD though, attention is probably different if you don't have it I have a friend who's played some REALLY shitty star wars game on his "ipad" (its not an ipad, something way cheaper) for like 5 years now, daily. I could never do something like that.
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