Why can't I play games anymore?

cinnabun814

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Apr 2, 2018
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I have an Xbox One X and a Nintendo Switch and I haven't turned on my switch in 8 months and i'll play a round or two of Halo 5 a week on my One X. Gaming used to be everything to me and now I can barely play anything. I desperately want to be interested in gaming it just isn't much fun for me anymore. I'm not even excited for Luigi's Mansion 3 which I was in love with the other two. I'm 25 by the way.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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I went through that. O still enjoy playing games every now and then but it's far from what it used to play, when I played everything. Don't really follow what goes on anymore either. I can only speak to my own experiences but for me, well, stress and feeling burnt out just led me to exploring new interests to try and reinvigorate myself. After a whole bunch of emotional stuff games no longer gave me what I needed in terms of stimulation to keep myself from going insane; I'm sure they will one day again be a big interest but for now they take a backseat to making music and writing.
 

timeconsumer

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Aug 1, 2008
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For me gaming has just gotten too complicating with controls. And it feels like I need to practice often in order to play the game. Gaming is supposed to be a fun escape but I don’t have the patience to learn complicated controls. I just want to jump in and enjoy it without it being a huge time sink. I don’t know if it’s me getting older or not, but definitely don’t enjoy gaming as much these days.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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I have an Xbox One X and a Nintendo Switch and I haven't turned on my switch in 8 months and i'll play a round or two of Halo 5 a week on my One X. Gaming used to be everything to me and now I can barely play anything. I desperately want to be interested in gaming it just isn't much fun for me anymore. I'm not even excited for Luigi's Mansion 3 which I was in love with the other two. I'm 25 by the way.
So you’re saying you used to game a lot in the past, but now you don’t really that much anymore, so something obviously changed, I don’t see it really been that big of a deal. Maybe your perspective on life is changing (Or priorities/ responsibilities have lengthened) and that’s why you don’t game anymore, that’s just an example that I’m using.

From my perspective, I’ve always been a ‘gamer’, owned almost every generation console of the Xbox/PS4/Game cube/Dreamcast, etc. Now, I game more during the winter months, because I have some more ‘downtime’ to spare, but during the summer, I barely game at all, because I’m just too busy with everything else going on. That Doesn’t mean I lost interest in gaming, just means that my spare time has been greatly reduced.

My point being, gaming is nothing more than an extracurricular activity, it’s made to be _fun_, I think you’re taking it a bit too serious, and just enjoy for what it is.
 
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gkarris

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Dec 31, 2004
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Some games are too complex and require a lot of reading and waiting around for NPC conversations. Also, complex load-outs and over hour long commitments are no fun...

The more simple shooting games with minimal cinematics like DOOM (2016) or easy loadouts like EVESPACE I love.

I thought I'd love Starlink but the loadouts are too complex as well as all those constant cinematics they throw in..

In No Man's Sky I use "Creative Mode" where you don't have to scrounge for resources and everything is "free" so I can just relax and explore...

You just have to figure out which games you like to play and go with those...

I've been downloading a lot of puzzle games for the Switch and Steam PC for my laptop - lots of fun...

Maybe that's why all those retro games are back in?
 

MisterSavage

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Some games are too complex and require a lot of reading and waiting around for NPC conversations. Also, complex load-outs and over hour long commitments are no fun...
Different people like different things. The Witcher 3 had all of that and it's one of the best games I've ever played.
 

Ledgem

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Jan 18, 2008
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I've given this topic a lot of thought, because I've felt similarly on and off. I used to game all the time when I was younger, but in college I largely stopped. I'd still try to play games on vacations, but it began to feel like I was wasting my time; like everyone else was getting ahead with careers or their lives, and there I was, building up characters and hunting for items that wouldn't mean a thing to me in a few weeks.

Part of it is that games have changed, and part of it is that - for those of us who started gaming when we were children - our lives have changed.

Growing up, I was in a suburban area that was borderline rural. I had a limited number of things that I could do. I was also incredibly shy. Games were a way of "getting out" and "meeting people." It sounds silly, but I've read that sentiment from enough people now that I believe there's something to it. It was fulfilling a socialization niche... and this was before true multiplayer games were so prominent. Once you're an adult and you can go where you want and do what you want, that allure of a fictional adventure is a bit less meaningful. I'm no longer choosing between playing in the yard by myself and embarking on a digital adventure; it's a fictional, digital adventure versus heading out to do something else, spend time with friends, or spend time with family (that becomes a lot more meaningful once you've lived on your own, away from your family).

That our lives have changed also plays a large role. School may have felt lengthy, but in hindsight, we had a lot of free time growing up. Schoolwork was engaging to varying levels, but we had hours we could spend immersed in these virtual worlds. Free time really dried up once I started working; I'd still fit a game in here and there on vacations, but then I knew that I had a deadline to finish them. That removes some of the romantic notions behind getting lost in a virtual world. I considered playing games on weekends, but it's difficult to really care about the game world when you're not exposed to it regularly. You forget certain characters or elements of the story. Games involving repetition or grinding are also perceived very differently. Grinding and repetition never felt particularly great or fun when we were younger, but we were still engaged; now it just feels like a chore, and really like a waste of time.

I think that there are also options for games that are much more complex now. I don't remember games keeping track of play time when I was younger (some did, but I never paid attention to the numbers), but it seemed like no game could be long enough. I'd burn through games in one week, even trying to get 100% (or 110%, as some games went). I'd keep playing after because it would be some time before I would be allowed to get a new game, and I'd just be trying to uncover every little secret or glitch. Big-title games now have seemingly become longer. I played Ookami after finishing college, which was an amazing game... and at 100 hours of play time, it was easily my longest game. I don't think other games had broken the 70-hour mark until then. Immediately after Ookami I played Persona 4, which I beat in 120 hours... rushing it, because I was about to begin graduate school. Most recently, I had a relaxed year in which I played Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Even without finishing every single challenge and uncovering every single secret, my total play time was somewhere around 180-190 hours.

Where were games like that when we had all the time in the world? I would have absolutely loved huge games like that! They're still amazing now, but it's a lot more difficult to fit them in. And if you're busy, such huge games may not present enough feelings of making progress to feel satisfying when played in short, infrequent bursts. That games have also become more complex in their mechanics doesn't help: look at the old Nintendo controller, with its D-pad and two buttons, and compare that with the modern game controller. While it's been rare, I'm increasingly coming across games that use every single button on the controllers. Developing that muscle memory for which button does what takes time and reinforcement with practice, again not conducive to playing in short, infrequent bursts. And if you can't even get the button layout down, you're essentially crawling instead of running - and that's far less fun.

The last thing is consideration of the experience effect. My favorite Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy VIII. It's the first one I played. It seems like the first Final Fantasy that people play tends to be their favorite. Why? I'd guess that it's because it's fresh and new, and you will compare everything that you play afterward to it. New and novel things are memorable and exciting. Whether it's a storyline or gameplay mechanic, the more games you play, the more difficult it will be to find something new and novel.

I still consider myself a gamer at heart, even though I'm probably averaging one game a year or less at this point. My wishlist is huge, as is my list of games that I've actually purchased and not yet played. I like to think that they'll be there for me when I retire, but who knows? Maybe I'll be filling my time with something else at that point, too... and no doubt, games will be very different then than they are even now. It's an exciting thought, and somewhat of a sad one too.
 

kemo

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Oct 29, 2008
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I'm currently going through a similar situation. I remember times where I was able to enjoy games and even spent whole weekend on games and talking to friends via Playstation Party and finishing many games to 100% and beyond. As time goes, I play less and less, mostly turn on my Playstation console once a month for an hour or two. I just add the Playstation Plus games to the library and that's it.

On the other hand I found other activities which makes me happy - bought a DJI Mavic Pro to fly and also I'm digging into photography using Canon 80D. Not to mention I have been hiking hundreds of kms since January. I guess it's normal as we live our lives we change and with us change our hobbies and activities we like to do.

That being said, I'm not sad that I don't have a thing for gaming as I have visited so many great places and climbed so many mountains in the last 12 months I can't even count. And I love it as I loved gaming.
 
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ericwn

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Apr 24, 2016
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I agree with the others here, our lives change and the products sometimes change too. You cannot keep up with everything all the time and will focus on other things at times.

My interest in gaming is on and off these days.
 
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maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I found at one point in my life that I was spending hours playing games and I thought for what. I mean what did I accomplish at the end of the night? Some meaningless trophy or listing that I was in X place out of 100? I decided to stop then and there and focus on other aspects of life, setting goals that were more meaningful (to me). I started exercising, running races, hiking, camping, getting my black belt, etc etc. I've returned to playing games a few years ago, but its done in moderation and balance. My life decisions may not be your life decisions but I found that there's more to life then playing doom, or fallout.

For me, this thought struck a chord: 10 years from now, will I remember the time, I played fallout 4 and achieved some trophy, or that I climbed Mount Washington? I remember actual achievements and value them more then fake ones in games.
 

scottcampbell

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Aug 7, 2017
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Very interesting topic!

What helps me is to really come to grips with what type of games I like, even if it is a pretty narrow selection of genres.
I just cannot be bothered to tinker with complicated games. I realized I hate RPG mechanics and I like games that are more linear or reflex/muscle memory based, like platformers or certain action titles.

I place a high value on knowing what I need to do and where I need to go. Because I don't enjoy the time wasted trying to figure it out.

This disqualifies a lot of modern hits, but oh well.
 

MisterSavage

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I found at one point in my life that I was spending hours playing games and I thought for what. I mean what did I accomplish at the end of the night? Some meaningless trophy or listing that I was in X place out of 100? I decided to stop then and there and focus on other aspects of life, setting goals that were more meaningful (to me). I started exercising, running races, hiking, camping, getting my black belt, etc etc. I've returned to playing games a few years ago, but its done in moderation and balance. My life decisions may not be your life decisions but I found that there's more to life then playing doom, or fallout.

For me, this thought struck a chord: 10 years from now, will I remember the time, I played fallout 4 and achieved some trophy, or that I climbed Mount Washington? I remember actual achievements and value them more then fake ones in games.
I was the same way back in the day when my friends pulled me into World of Warcraft when it launched. I could see where spending so much time on it would lead to nowhere good. I dropped it after a few months. Gaming is great way for me to relax and unwind but I don't want it to be the focus of my day.
 
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Ledgem

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For me, this thought struck a chord: 10 years from now, will I remember the time, I played fallout 4 and achieved some trophy, or that I climbed Mount Washington? I remember actual achievements and value them more then fake ones in games.
This is an interesting thought. When I read it my initial thought was one of disagreement. I remember playing Ultima Online with friends back in high school. Venturing out and exploring new areas together is a memory that I still think back on very fondly. I have a few other fond memories of gaming experiences performed with friends with other games as well. Beyond experiences with my offline friends, while studying another language I picked up an MMORPG in that language and lightly got into it. Granted, the focus for me was more on engaging with the other players than with focusing too heavily on the game (which was admittedly difficult), but that's something memorable and that felt like a bit of an accomplishment. Lest it sound like everything had to revolve around MMORPGs (which I've sworn off of), I do fondly remember certain scenes and areas in other games, again mostly exploration-related. The Witcher (original; still haven't played the other two); Ookami; and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild left strong impressions, and I'm sure if I continue to think about it other games will quickly pop into my mind.

Yet I also don't find myself entirely disagreeing. It makes me think of two things.

First, modern games have changed. Back when I used to game heavily the only "award" badge was a percentage completion mark on your save game file. Even that wasn't really an achievement, though. Rather, it was an indicator of whether you had discovered every area, every little secret that the game had to offer. I largely ignore those achievement badges, partly because I was never "trained" to care about anything more than exploring everything in the game and partly because I just don't have the time to try and earn every single one. (I can't even do every single thing in a game these days, so I'm always fighting my completionist tendencies when I play a game - it's a near-miracle if I can get from start to finish in a game now, and I need to admit that's a victory for my current life.) I'd probably try to go for every achievement if I were just getting into games now, but it seems a bit more tedious than simply exploring a game and trying to find hidden areas or activities. So in that way I can see where you're coming from and agree. Exploration and sense of discovery translate well between a game and leaving a lasting impression, but earning virtual trophies and achievement badges probably doesn't.

Second, for an achievements to be meaningful the activity must be geared to where you are in your life. That applies to whether something is digital or offline. Many of the virtual experiences that were meaningful to me occurred during times when I couldn't do other things, or when I was away from the things that were meaningful to me. I didn't really feel the need to engage in games when my life was filled with offline activities that were meaningful, and on the rare times that I tried to bring games into my life during those times it just felt like a waste. Given that I played Breath of the Wild just recently and enjoyed it, it makes me think that it's not simply a matter of aging out of games but rather is situational. I played that very long game during a time when I was separated from my family for work, away from my home, and knew that I'd only be in that new place for a few months before leaving and returning. I don't think there's any way that I could play that game and enjoy it if I tried to do it now.
 

Khalanad75

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Jul 8, 2015
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For me gaming has just gotten too complicating with controls. And it feels like I need to practice often in order to play the game. Gaming is supposed to be a fun escape but I don’t have the patience to learn complicated controls. I just want to jump in and enjoy it without it being a huge time sink. I don’t know if it’s me getting older or not, but definitely don’t enjoy gaming as much these days.
I think that is a bit of it for me as well. I keep finding myself going back to Diablo 3, because the controls are simple and I can jump in for 20-30 mins an beat some stuff up.

I look at other games and since I am older, I've lost a lot of the twitch factor, or it just feels like too much work to get into the game.
 
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MisterSavage

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I look at other games and since I am older, I've lost a lot of the twitch factor, or it just feels like too much work to get into the game.
Yeah things like Sekiro just look miserable to me. I still enjoy big games with a grand story like Witcher 3.
 

throAU

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it just isn't much fun for me anymore. I'm not even excited for Luigi's Mansion 3 which I was in love with the other two. I'm 25 by the way.
welcome to adulthood - where you have responsibilities and a job, and far less free time.

And the free time you do have is better spent doing things that are either more productive, or with your friends/partner/pet/etc. Instead of having say 30 hours a week available for gaming as a kid/teen.... your available time is far less (mine is like... 8 hours a week, tops - and that's neglecting the garden in my house, etc. :D), and you do things like partying, recovering from hangovers, paying bills, extra-curricular study, etc.

It does "help" if your partner is also a gamer, as mine is, but even so, we don't spend a heap of time playing video games. So much other stuff to be done.


edit:
for what it's worth, i'm in my early 40s, and my gf is in her early 30s. we both don't game that much any more despite both being "gamers" due to time constraints.



Also, as above - gaming is largely pointless if you have other things to do. It's a distraction, a diversion to pass the time for the most part. Get out there, do the things in the real world, with real people (or pets, real world projects, etc.) - you'll get far more out of it.

You may find that different types of games are more accessible or more preferable now - twitch games that require a large time investment to master are out. I used to love Unreal Tournament, Quake3, etc. But don't have the time any more - and it's no fun just being owned by 12-15 year old kids who have 30-40 hours a week to practice.

Look for things you can sit down and play for 5-30 minutes at a time in smaller chunks. When you have downtime between real world things. Like on a train. Waiting for something or someone, etc. There are plenty of such games on the switch.

Right now for example i'm playing Shining Force on the Megadrive bundle for the switch. It's an RPG that has regular checkpoints that you can typically reach within 30 minutes or so and doesn't heavily penalise death/failure. I've been playing for a week or so and have just picked up where i left off to have a total of maybe 2-3 hours of play.
 
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soulreaver99

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welcome to adulthood - where you have responsibilities and a job, and far less free time.
This pretty much sums it up right here. I was an avid gamer ever since I could stick quarters into an arcade machine when I was a kid and have owned every system from the Atari 2600 to the Xbox One X. Just recently got back into PC Gaming but being able to play hours at a time just isn't possible anymore and my attention span and being able to play nonstop is an 30-45 minutes a few times a week, unless it's an awesome JRPG with a good storyline like Xenoblade Chronicles II or Tales of Berseria. It's actually hard to not lose interest in games these days because a lot of them get too repetitive. I was into Bloodstained for quite a bit (great game overall) but it just started feeling monotonous.

Most of my gaming these days is now just a quick pickup match of Overwatch or Paladins right after work or after the gym to unwind a little or I play old classic games through an emulator.
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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I still love gaming, but I burn out much more quickly now. 2 children, a full time job, girlfriend, life, etc. - It all takes up time, and whenever I play games, I always feel I should be doing something productive instead. I even tend to put off big games now, simply because I know how much time I need to invest into it, or that I know there's a complex story I need to remember to really enjoy it, and those 1-4 hours I have every week just don't cut it now. So I tend to go back to the big games I know back and forth and replay those, or just start small indie games.

When my kids move out, or I retire, THEN I will get to my backlog! :p I've promised myself not to buy anymore games, before I've played everything I have left, which is likely around 100+ games.
 
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MisterSavage

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When my kids move out, or I retire, THEN I will get to my backlog! :p I've promised myself not to buy anymore games, before I've played everything I have left, which is likely around 100+ games.
Lord do I feel this. I've bought games and left them unopened for so long that they've become free on Playstation Plus. It takes me forever to finish a AAA title like Witcher 3. I won't buy anything until I know I have time to play it.
 

JaguarGod

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Mar 27, 2010
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Well, I have gone through this same thing but I have so many classic game platforms to play on that I always come back to it. I am a single Dad with three Kids. Two of them are older and out of the house and 1 still lives with me and I don't have a lot of free time, but when I do, I usually bust out some of my older consoles like the Jaguar, Lynx, Saturn or the Genesis to have a little fun. I have found that I do not enjoy many of the current games though as they are a bit too fast and complicated for my 45 year old mind and reflexes, but I still play a bunch on my Apple TV 4K as they are a bit more subdued.

I guess my point is that I have found ways to be interested in games since I was a child and though many of the new generation games are a bit over my head and do not interest me as much, I have many experiences to fall back on when I am in the mood for something different.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

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Oct 27, 2009
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My issue has become, not being able to finish games. I'll be so into a game for days or weeks, then just lose interest in finishing it. Sometimes I come back to a game months later , but most of the time I don't.
 

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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My issue has become, not being able to finish games. I'll be so into a game for days or weeks, then just lose interest in finishing it. Sometimes I come back to a game months later , but most of the time I don't.
I face this dilemma, during the fall/winter, I have a little bit more time to ‘game’, but during the summer, I virtually don’t touch my consoles at all. The problem is, when I stop playing in the middle of a narrative or certain gameplay plots, I don’t lose interest, but I kind of tend to forget certain elements of the game with the storyline/controls. (I.e-I’m still in the middle of Red Dead 2).
 

MisterSavage

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I face this dilemma, during the fall/winter, I have a little bit more time to ‘game’, but during the summer, I virtually don’t touch my consoles at all. The problem is, when I stop playing in the middle of a narrative or certain gameplay plots, I don’t lose interest, but I kind of tend to forget certain elements of the game with the storyline/controls. (I.e-I’m still in the middle of Red Dead 2).
What usually kills it for me is forgetting the combos to use certain abilities. It's awful when games don't have an easy way for you to catch back up on them.
 
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LIVEFRMNYC

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I face this dilemma, during the fall/winter, I have a little bit more time to ‘game’, but during the summer, I virtually don’t touch my consoles at all. The problem is, when I stop playing in the middle of a narrative or certain gameplay plots, I don’t lose interest, but I kind of tend to forget certain elements of the game with the storyline/controls. (I.e-I’m still in the middle of Red Dead 2).
One pro for me is dealing with my Switch. Most Switch games don't interest me, I'm mainly interested in the major Nintendo titles, which there is not much of. So when I continue playing Zelda(half way through) or Mario Odyssey (almost finished) , it's as much fun as day one. If I would just marathon through Switch games, I wouldn't feel I got my money's worth.