talkgroup

Gaming Hopelessness?

I’ve been experiencing this for the last year or so. Whenever I sit down to play a game, be it a new one, an old favorite, I just see work in front of me. Like, you have the game story, and they stretch it out via arbitrary game mechanics, be it map battles, “research”, grinding, etc.

I can’t stay motivated or interested to play after ~2-3hrs into a new game. “Ok, these are the mechanics, so I’d be doing roughly the same thing for 30+ more hours of gametime as they drop nuggets of plot as my reward. Nope.”

To be clear, I want to enjoy games, but other than totally random games like Brogue, I can’t commit.

Any suggestions on how to get out of this game funk?

I lean towards multiplayer games because most single player games don’t do it for me. Exceptions are Mount & Blade, and Bejeweled 3, which are both games that I play to think; they keep my active mind engaged enough so I can work out other things in mah brain.

I also play almost exclusively in Steam, to get achievements. I am slightly embarrassed to say that a large part of it is getting badges. I don’t even want all of them, I just want a lot of them. It is a little hit of dopamine that I appreciate.

I actually intend to deconstruct games in a systematic way, so I’ve been collecting games for a while and not playing them, so I can build out the infrastructure for my project. I imagine that the discussion it will create will encourage you to play games in parallel with me. :slight_smile:

I look forward to it!

I tried playing LOTRO for a couple days. Curuang Brightshield is at the Walls of Moria, which is exciting. I am sad that crafting is so useless now. Well, not entirely useless. Making tools with stats better than the LOTRO Stores ‘Universal Toolkit’ should sell, as should consumables.

The WORST offender is the Assassin’s Creed series. It has some really great batshit crazy sci-fi/conspiracy storytelling, and then just stretches the games out interminably with a horrible grind.

I’ve been tempted by Crusader Kings lately, which people love for emergent stories, but the spreadsheet aspect totally puts me off, because that looks like work to me.

I think one good solution is to look at indie games with short playthroughs.

Just based on what I’ve been playing lately:

Digital: A Love Story: Digital: A Love Story
It’s a short visual novel, basically, with a BBS interface to really put you in the mood.

Her Story: http://steamcommunity.com/app/368370
An odd indie with a search-engine mechanic from Sam Barlow, the creator of Silent Hill…

@gautham_thomas The term spreadsheet aspect is perfect for this. Similarly, I had come across an article years ago that sums this problem up well.

Modern Zeldas do not offer worlds. They offer elaborate contraptions reskinned with a nature theme, a giant nest of interconnected locks. A lock is not only something opened with a silver key. A grapple point is a lock; a hookshot is the key. A cracked rock wall is a lock; a bomb is the key. That wondrous array of items you collect is little more than a building manager’s jangly keyring.

-From [Saving Zelda][1]

The phrase A grapple point is a lock; a hookshot is the key has ruined so many games for me, because you can apply it nearly everywhere in gaming.

I’ve been thinking about this since this thread started. I’ve distilled it down to this:

If you are telling a story in a game, don’t stretch out your story via grinding; just tell more story. If your game is more of a sandbox, give varying avenues/paths players can use to grow, and through their own experiences they will build a narrative.

Surprisingly, arcade / platformer games (to me anyway) seem exempt from this, because it feels more like mental exercise or something.
[1]: tevis thompson

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If you are telling a story in a game, don’t stretch out your story via
grinding; just tell more story. If your game is more of a sandbox, give
varying avenues/paths players can use to grow, and through their own
experiences they will build a narrative.

Totally agree.

I think the thing that good platformers understand is that the mechanics have to carry the game. A badly designed game has repetitive mechanics that aren’t rewarding, and pads those out with other things, like grinding and stretching it out with story, I think.

I’m re-playing Mass Effect and the planet exploration stuff just bewilders me. Did no-one tell them during testing that it wasn’t fun? I think they had a “realism” problem - why allow the Mako to drop down right next to the stuff to do on the planet? It wouldn’t be realistic! But then again, with starship sensors, why not? And it would have allowed them to cut all the fat. No more trundling around for ages trying to wheel your way up a mountain.