ANDR01D writes PC game reviews and shares his views on the video game industry.
Sometimes, I won't touch a game for two or three weeks. With all of my projects, including writing for LevelSkip, I don’t get much time for gaming anymore. But it isn’t just that. I don’t really have the zeal for gaming that I did when I was younger. Now, I could bang on like usual about how it’s at the fault of modern games, and the DRM restrictions, or the fact that I seriously need to upgrade my PC—but this article isn’t about that stuff. It’s about how to deal with gamer burnout.
12 Ways to Beat Gamer Burnout
- Take a Break From Gaming News
- Buy a Related Book or Movie
- Play a Casual Game
- Try a Different Genre
- Play an Old or Indie Game
- Play a Mod
- Play Several Games (Not Just One)
- Pick up a Game That's Right for You
- Evaluate Games Before You Buy Them
- Don't Be Afraid to Cheat If You Get Stuck
- Don't Try to Be the Best Right Away
- Take a Break
If you're an avid gamer, gamer burnout is inevitable. It's important to try new things, think critically about your choices, and take breaks. Follow the suggestions in this article so you can get playing again.
Gamer Burnout Signs
- You buy games and end up not playing any of them, essentially wasting money.
- You waste gigabytes of data downloading games and mods, only to have them taking up space on your hard drive, not serving any other purpose.
- You become dissatisfied while playing games.
- You never know what to play. You feel like there are too many choices, or that nothing is good enough.
- You play games and don’t finish them, creating a massive backlog.
- You would rather do anything else but play games.
1. Take a Break From Gaming News
After GTA V came out, every gaming blog and forum was talking about it. I hardly read any of those articles or forum threads, because they were, more often than not, riddled with spoilers. I decided I wouldn’t read any of it because I didn’t want to ruin my first playthrough of the game on PC.
It’s like having people go on about the film they saw recently, and then when you go to see said film, you already know what’s coming, and it takes away from the overall enjoyment. I always follow a game’s release status or I might indulge in checking out a review to see if it’s worth playing. But most importantly, I want to know if it's worth spending my hard-earned money on. I tend to avoid anything more in-depth than that until I’ve played and finished it.
That and you tend to actually pick up the jaded outlook on games that most bloggers, and especially reviewers have, and that can ruin your love of gaming too.
2. Buy a Related Book or Movie
To get myself psyched up for yet another playthrough of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., which I had been itching to do, I made myself wait. Anticipation is everything.
Another thing that I did was watch the original Stalker film, by Andrei Tarkovsky, released in 1979, of which the game was based on. I could have taken it a step further and read the book the film was based on, called Roadside Picnic, but I didn’t. Because by this point I had drummed up enough excitement to go on yet another journey into the Zone. It doesn’t even have to be a movie or a book based directly on the game or vice versa. It could be in the same sort of genre, or based on the same topic.
3. Play a Casual Game
After reading a few articles on the subject of gamer burnout, the message was loud and clear: if you’re not having fun playing a game, you’re less likely to want to continue playing it. This is where casual games come in. They aren’t really objective-based most of the time, and shouldn’t be, ideally. You might have an exit at the end of the level that you need to reach and that’s about it. Even the card games that come with Windows count as casual games, and I’ll admit: I play them from time to time.
Games should be fun, and as good as Skyrim and similar RPGs may be, they tend to overwhelm people with the sheer amount of work that goes into them. It takes hours to create a character from scratch and nurture them to be the best they can possibly be . . . which brings me to my next point.
4. Try a Different Genre
So RPGs are too much work, and that is probably what you’re trying to escape from. I think that is the reason why I myself have always opted for first-person shooters.
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Some might consider them mindless fun and not intellectual enough for their taste, but therein lies the point I was trying to make above. Games should be fun. First-person shooters are like action movies. They’re short and sweet with a lot of violence, and then they’re over. A lot of people think of Call of Duty when they think of FPS titles, but if you were to look hard enough, you can find some very good shooters out there. I enjoyed F.E.A.R. and Undying—games that have exceptional plots and interesting characters in them that have kept me coming back time and time again. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and System Shock 2 were primarily shooters with RPG elements and less control over a character’s development than a full-blown RPG. But both games provide enough freedom to keep things interesting.
It may be true that once you have gotten through the main story that there’s no point in playing it again, but a second playthrough can yield something new to discover. If you are dead-set on staying with RPGs, then try to alter your approach to them. Don’t take every single quest out there in an attempt to complete the entire game. Maybe just stop to smell the roses sometimes. Do a bit of sandbox-style play and immerse yourself in the game world instead of jumping right in at the deep end for a change. Maybe too much freedom is the problem, so try to set yourself limits.
5. Play an Old or Indie Game
People claim that gaming was better years ago, and in some ways they are right.
Gaming in decades past was different because there was a lot more innovation, and teams consisted of gamers who were, for the most part, having fun making games that only appealed to a relatively small audience. Nowadays, gaming is serious business, rivaling the film industry.
New intellectual properties are shunned because they’re a risky investment, and existing franchises are often milked for all they’re worth with uninspired sequels. This often leaves you with a game that looks beautiful graphically, but has nothing compelling to keep you playing.
We’ve seen it all before. Nothing impresses us much. So I find myself going back to older games that were so much more captivating. The alternative is to dabble in the indie scene, where developers are more prone to taking risks because with platforms like Kickstarter because the development of the game is funded in advance. They don't need to make sacrifices or cut corners to secure a publisher, borrow lots of money, and then risk the game failing.
6. Play a Mod
While we’re on the subject of indie games, you could try modding your favourite game. If you don’t like the way the base game behaves, then modify it with a mod made by fans. They can alter the gameplay ever so slightly, or eve in a major way. Sometimes you’ll come across a total conversion which makes the game nearly unrecognisable, and it plays much like a completely different game. The best thing about mods is that most of them are completely free so you won’t waste any money on them.
7. Play Several Games (Not Just One)
In the past, I would have at least two or three games on my HDD and I would alternate between them, depending on my mood. If I felt like something fast and fierce I would load up Quake III Arena. If I wanted something more relaxing and constructive instead of destructive I would play The Sims. Many people go through several games at a time (as many as 10!), but that strategy runs the massive risk of not only clogging up your HDD, but having a massive backlog of unfinished games.
If you focus on only one game, it can be detrimental because you can get sick of it rather quickly, It becomes more of a chore than anything else. So I try to at least switch to another game temporarily so that I don’t get bored. Of course, there is the risk that going between several games can result in you becoming attached to one game and totally ignoring the other, but if you find a game that you really like in the process, that can’t be a bad thing. This is starting to sound like an episode of the Jerry Springer Show now, so I think I’ll stop.
8. Pick the Game That’s Right for You
You shouldn’t have to feel pressured to play a game just because everyone else is. Everyone else raves about Dota 2—I haven’t even touched it. That doesn’t mean I have anything against it. I can’t judge it because I haven’t played it. If I played it I might find that I like it.
If you try out a game and find you don’t like it, then don’t play it. Move on to another one. Some “experts” on gamer burnout—the experts being the people who experience it most—argue that you should ideally play games that are the opposite of the norm for you. If you spend a lot of time studying or working, having goals and assignments that need to be done, then RPGs might very well not be for you. So maybe try a first-person shooter instead, because it’s more “mindless” and doesn’t require a lot of reading and work.
9. Evaluate Games Before You Buy Them
So that game everyone is raving about is on sale. You rush over to the game's page on Steam to have a look. But you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Do you really want this game, or are you just buying it because it's on sale, and possibly never will be ever again? Do some research and follow some of the advice in this article before buying. Otherwise, your backlog will become even bigger, and that is going to have an effect on not only your waller, but also the gamer burnout that you may be experiencing.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Cheat If You Get Stuck
There are acceptable times to cheat. First off, you never cheat in a multiplayer game. Never. And while it is up to you to cheat or not cheat in a single-player game, it is acceptable if you just can’t get past a place in a game, and you’ve tried everything else out there. I’ve done this. Sometimes it’s due to a bug in the game, which is beyond my control, that prevents me from getting any further.
After so many unsuccessful attempts to progress in a game, it can become so frustrating that the game stops being fun. Games can and should be challenging, but they have to strike a balance between being too easy and bloody unforgiving. Games that are too hard usually end up being shunned by me. But just be careful not to overdo it, because once you cheat it becomes easy and then you can do it whenever you feel like it. That doesn’t mean you should. Playing through an entire game with god mode on presents no challenge, and can rob you of that feeling of satisfaction when you get to the end. Sometimes after finishing a game, it can be fun to play it through again with cheats and become super powerful.
11. Don’t Try to Be the Best Straight Away
One bit of advice that I picked up from others is that you shouldn't read strategy guides and FAQs unless you really need to. It can be more fun in an RPG to go your own way, rather than conform to the standards set by others.
In Diablo II, I had an Amazon who ended up wearing a fat suit of armour and using melee attacks more than ranged. Then I read that Amazons are more suited to ranged combat, and I instantly started to hate this creation of mine—this abomination. This led to me starting a new game, losing all my progress and going through the same hack and slash affair all over.
So what if your character is flawed or goes against the grain? You had fun while you were training the misfit, so why throw it all away just because somebody says it’s wrong? It’s just a game. Some people take it too seriously. You can always refine your approach later on, after you learn the ins and outs. It’s a bit like life itself: yes, you can learn from the experiences and mistakes of others, but in some cases, it can be more rewarding to figure things out for yourself.
12. Take a Break
After you finish a game, take a break for a while. I find it’s the same as watching a movie. I don’t really want to watch another movie straight afterward. I might need to wait a day or two before watching another one. With games it’s pretty much the same. I only really play one game a month on average, totalling about a dozen a year, including mods.
After I finish a game, I might mess around with it a bit, and explore other features or DLC it has to offer. Then I might write a review and dwell on it for a bit. In a sense, it’s a bit like a relationship. Sometimes the best thing to do when one has ended is to take a break for a while. Then after I’ve gotten over a game, I’ll move on to the next one. Sometimes I jump in too soon after having finished playing a game, and it doesn’t keep me playing.
You'll Be Gaming Again in No Time
Don't let gamer burnout ruin your relationship with gaming. By following the advice in this article, you'll be gaming again in no time. Remember, gaming is supposed to be fun, but with a little creativity, overcoming gamer burnout can be fun, too.
© 2014 ANDR01D
BoredLander on December 02, 2018:
I mainly play competitive games usually running solo as many of my friends are not gamers. I play a lot less than I used to a couple of years ago but I enjoy a good hour a day of just releasing all the stress slaying people or monsters. However, I've recently found it extremely hard not to get a burnout maybe because I play games intended to be with friends as a solo but nevertheless I still enjoy those games. I recently moved to PC and its been nearly impossible to find random friends to play with. Unlike the PlayStation, many people on the PC seem to already have their group of friends and don't really like outsiders. As a result, I play less now and I've been having an extremely difficult time find games that are interesting. I spend more time out with friends and stuff and I feel like the gamer aspect of me is slowly slipping as I get older. I'm not sure if that just me or others feels similar
Amber Davis from Texas on January 15, 2015:
I am currently suffering from gamer burnout. I've got Borderlands TPS at the very end but needing to be leveled up that I haven't played in a few weeks, Destiny that I played for about 30 min and haven't touched since, which was when it first came out, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 that I'm about 1/4 of the way through and haven't picked up since that came out, and I just bought Kingdom Hearts 2.5 that I haven't even opened yet, and don't plan on it until I finish 1.5, but I don't think I'll even get that far. Real life gets in the way from gaming too much, plus my husband isn't a gamer, so I don't get to play while he's home. Sucks...
Joe from north miami FL on May 31, 2014:
I play a lot of rpgs so this feeling happens to me a lot. But usually I just give it a rest and come back to it. I appreciate the tips, excellent hub.