How To Stay Interested In Games

WiredSolaris | 1 August 2010 | Comments off

How To Stay Interested In a Game

Many gamers begin playing with no prompt but even more are encouraged to start playing by other gamers and to keep “in” with their peers. For both groups, staying interested in the daily grind of gaming can be tough or even make it feel like a second job! But don’t give up just yet. Here is some inspiration to help you keep that initial spark burning and not lose your motivation:

Play fewer hours at a time

Like exercise, it’s easy to get stressed out from gaming if you do it too much. If gaming is becoming a brain drain, try lightening your gaming schedule. For example, if you are currently playing two to three hours a day but without really achieving anything, try playing one really good hour each day instead. Make every second count!

If there are only certain times of the day or of the week when other players are on, consider playing only those hours and days when you know you will have company. Games can become lonely and boring if there is no interaction, especially MMOs. Playing for just a few good hours a week is better than playing a lot of bad ones.

Game From the Hip

I have a term that I use sometimes called Gaming From the Hip. Although it’s not true for everyone, most gamers have a set time schedule when they play : one to two hours set aside a few nights a week and typically these will be the same days and the same times. We will typically see the same individuals online and experience the same game play.

To Game From the Hip try mixing it up a bit : play prior to your normal play time, or change the days you play. This will make your gaming experience more refreshing. Play only when inspiration strikes, whether that is first thing in the morning or right before bed. Don’t play just because that’s what you normally do. This way, you might meet new people and experience different play by seeing the game afresh through their eyes. Different raid schedules will make you think about the game again. And in the worst case, you can always join a PuG to liven things up. DOH!

If you accumulate enough Gaming From the Hip (assuming you’re not playing a brand new game), then you could take the time you would normally be gaming - and no longer enjoying it - and enjoy instead a nice smoothie, cup of coffee or time with your family or friends. This way you really can have your cake and eat it.

Forget the stats

For years, game industry reporters, and to a lesser degree gamers themselves, have written reviews of games without any real idea of how many people had demo’d/played/experienced the game. But now that the internet has made user stats available with a click and the number of comments visible on each post, it is easy to be disappointed when those numbers are just a scattered few or if the review score seems low. Instead of agonizing over numbers, focus on building greater enjoyment in the game and eventually those numbers will not matter to you at all. Hitting refresh won’t make those numbers go any higher.

Play for yourself

In gaming, it is easy to fall into the trap of playing exclusively those games you think the game reviewers will want to play. Often this leads to losing the focus on the game or, even worse, being forced to play something that isn’t of particular interest to you. Only playing games that interest you means you will play more enthusiastically, which will in turn attract like-minded gamers.

Take some time off

If you really don’t feel like playing for a while, be it a week or a month, then don’t. Forcing yourself to play makes gaming just become an arduous task and guess what? The game will still be there the following day - or the following week. I have seen many people stick with games that no longer provide real pleasure and yet remain in the game, risking facing total burn out. I took a six month break from Age of Conan because the game had just stopped exciting me. During that time the game changed a lot : areas that had previously annoyed me were improved and new content was added, and I found myself thinking about the game more and more until finally I re-subbed. To me it is like a relationship : the more you are apart from your partner the more you think about each other and the more you want to be together.

Shift your focus

And finally if none of the above suggestions work for you, then it could be time to shift the focus on the types of games that you play. For example, travel gamers can shift their focus from playing MMOs that require large bandwidth to games that require less computer power and can be played without an internet connection. When I travel, I always have a backup game like this, such as Supreme Commander or Rome Total War. You may alienate yourself from some gamers in the process, but you will most likely gain a whole new set of gaming friends.

The point is to focus on what you care about and nurture your interest in your chosen game. After all, unless you are playing Leisure Suite Larry, you play for the pleasure you derive from the game and for the sheer fun of it – don’t you?

Poll: How much time do you game each week?

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