For the past year I’ve been experiencing severe gamer burnout. I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason behind it is a combination of things, these include an extremely high work load at university, which drained fun from video games and replaced it with a horrible guilt. The guilt was the thought that I should be working harder to “do my best” in the pursuit of my highly expensive qualification.
Also I unavoidably compare every story orientated game I play with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt which I sunk a ridiculous amount of time into and it’s hard for other games to stand up to it (my opinion). I then compare every multiplayer game to League of Legends which I eventually decided to stop playing, following this I’ve struggled to have the same amount of fulfillment from any other multiplayer game I play.
Anyway, here is a list of the means that I use to avoid gamer burnout and prevent myself from chasing the dragon in pursuit of a new video game that I will actually enjoy.
Stop taking risks with choice
This is one of the key ways I’ve found to avoid gamer burnout. When deciding on a new game that you want to play, don’t take risks. In the past few months alone I’ve taken many risks. For example, I’ve never been particularly fond of fighting games but despite this, I brought Injustice 2. I don’t enjoy horror games or thrillers – so I decided to buy Prey. On the other hand I enjoy multiplayer, tactical shooters, but haven’t purchased Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. I can’t bring myself to try it as I’m fearful of wasting more money on something I don’t want to play. So essentially, 90% of the time if you really trust your intuition, you know what you’re going to enjoy before you buy it.
Avoid the pile of shame
Stop lying to yourself by pretending you’ll eventually play your pile of shame. If you don’t click with a game, don’t try and force it, it’s like a relationship, we don’t chose who we get along with, it just happens. For years I would gradually and torturously work my way through uncompleted games, I wasn’t even having fun half the time, so why the hell was I doing it? It all stems from the guilt of having wasted money on it, perhaps you dropped the last of your funds on something sh*t and you’re not enjoying it. Whatever you do, don’t force yourself to play it, maybe one day the spark of interest will arise again, but for the time being just let go. Cut your losses and save your time.
If in doubt, just leave it out. Some days I spend more time switching between games and deciding what to play than I actually do playing anything. I think the truth is that when deciding, I actually don’t want to play any of them, but I was forcing myself to in an attempt to gradually whittle away my backlog of uncompleted titles. This indecision will lead to a heck of a lot of gamer burnout and also brain fog.
Maybe take a break
This one doesn’t even need to be explained, as I’m sure anyone reading it will have heard it before. The truth is, you wont lose anything by taking a break.
What the f**k is balance I hear you say? Well I recently discovered balance myself, so let me explain it to you. We gamers have this strange all or nothing attitude, we want to be the best, the highest rank, the #1. We want to complete it 100% and in turn know every little detail about a game. I recently discovered that this doesn’t have to be the case. I know, I was pretty shocked when I realised it too. But seriously, I turned games into a chore, they used to be purely about fun. I can remember playing Spyro: year of the dragon as a child and getting to the skateboard park and staying there just skating around and getting the highest score I could in the time period. I did it for hours and felt no pressure to continue the game and complete it and so move onto the next one. I can remember playing Call of Duty 3 multiplayer with friends and I don’t think that ranks even existed and if they did they was so irrelevant because everyone just had fun playing the game. If you’re like me and overly competitive or a completionist when it comes to games, then I’d stop while you was ahead because eventually it will quench any satisfaction and fun you get from them and in the end burn you the hell out. Focus that competitive energy somewhere else now and then, maybe some sport. You’ll come back to the games refreshed and be healthier for it. If you’re a completionist, try completing a book every now and then and learning something. This will balance your life a little more and help in preventing gamer burnout.
Well, I sincerely hope this assists someone somewhere in preventing their gamer burnout. It was my first idea for something to write about, largely because it has frustrated me personally for a while now!
Image credit: Morbid Holiday – http://morbidholiday.com/comics/burnt-out/