The Challenge of Returning to a Game

Does anyone else have a lot of trouble picking up a game where they left off, especially RPGs and MMOs? Because I certainly do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been thorough Taris in Star Wars: Knights of Old Republic. To this day I’ve never beaten it, despite telling myself over and over that I’m going to make it through this time. I just got back from a two week vacation last week. We basically sat around and did nothing, but we did it 14 hours from home. It was wonderful. I, of course, did a little bit of gaming while I was away. I just got a new Kirby game (so insultingly easy, yet somehow still really fun), played a little Torchlight, and finally got around to making a new world in Terraria to check out all of the new stuff they’ve added since 1.2 (and boy is there a lot). You may notice one particular game missing from this list: Guild Wars 2. Even though GW2 is pretty easy to hop in and out for short play sessions, I didn’t ever manage to get around to it. Now that I’m back I feel a little lost. What should I do now? Work on map completion and dungeons on my 80 engineer? Crafting? One of my myriad alts? I have one more character slot tempting me, but the only class I don’t have yet is the necromancer, and that’s because I’ve gotten several of them to about level 5 and ended up deleting them in favor of another class. I’m told they’re a very late-blooming class, so maybe I should just hold off on that till I get another birthday insta-20 scroll. I’ve even considered rolling another engineer, but that seems silly.

Sometimes it’s not so much losing momentum when you come back as not remembering what the heck you were doing. This was my case with Skyrim. I was very late to the Skyrim party. I waited until the Legendary Edition (the game + all of the DLC) went on sale for 50% off on Steam. It’s a good game, and certainly impressive both graphically and in its sheer scale, but I’ve never really enjoyed it that much. It’s just a little too open. But I gave it a shot because everyone says it’s the best thing to happen to video games since the joystick. I used to play Skyrim, but then I took a… break. (I promise this whole post wasn’t just an excuse to say that… maybe a little) I stopped playing for a while, probably because of some other game that I was genuinely interested in not just because everyone says it’s the best game ever, and when I came back a couple weeks later I had no idea what I had been doing. I tried following a quest marker, and got myself insta-pwned by some trolls (actual trolls, not the internet kind). At that point I ragequit and never went back. Every now and then I hear my friends talking about stuff they did in Skyrim or some crazy mod and I think about going back, but I never have.

I often feel bad for this behavior. I really enjoyed this game a month ago, and now I’m having trouble remembering why. But if I’m not enjoying the game, what’s the point? Games are supposed to be fun. If I’ve squeezed all the fun out of a particular game, it’s time to move on. Maybe it has to do with that weird, abstract concept we call “getting our money’s worth.” It’s a strange concept, because there doesn’t seem to be a predictable enjoyment level associated with a dollar; I can buy a cake pop at Starbucks for $2.50 and eat it in a minute and be satisfied with my purchase, but if I spend $2.50 on a game and only enjoy it for an hour I’ll feel anxious about it for days. And of course there’s the old saying that “time is money”; if I’ve sunk a lot of time into a particular game or character, I feel obligated to continue to play it.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that I know there’s more fun to be had in the game if I could just get back into it. Again, I was really enjoying this game a month ago, nothing has really changed, I just have to push through the burnout and I’ll be loving it just as much as I was then.

So what do you do? Do you have any burnout-fighting techniques to share? Or do you just move on and find something new?


One thought on “The Challenge of Returning to a Game

  1. Hi,
    If I wasn’t enjoying yourself for what ever reason, I would find something more fun to do. Time is precious enough without doing things we feel half-hearted about.

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