Once, video games were my life.
Much bigger than a hobby, I spent all my waking hours either playing or thinking about video games. Every spare dollar I got went towards a new game or a new console. I used to spend hours calculating exactly how many months it would take at my current allowance rate to save up for the original Nintendo DS. I lived and breathed video games.
I’d be lucky if I even thought about them any more.
To be more specific, I’d be lucky if I could find a single one I enjoyed playing.
Something happened to me my senior year of high school. Suddenly, I did more considering what to play than actual playing. I would spend most of my day deciding on what to play, all the while browsing Youtube or other similar sites. When I did finally start to play a game after hours of deliberation, I’d end up only playing for a few hours at most. A game once in a while would come along and really capture me (Fallout 3 had me in its grasps for over 40 hours), but in general, my playtime was diminishing faster than I could realize what was happening.
College came next, and so did Minecraft. I spent my entire two years in college playing Minecraft… and nothing else at all. Nothing else could hold my interest for more than a few minutes, and even with a giant library of Steam games, I could search through them entirely and not find a single game that sounded any sort of interesting to me, even games that I had played before and loved.
After college was when things started to get even more grim. No longer was I just not playing games. No, the months following my college career, I started to actively dislike video games. Most games made me upset; I started to demand a very high quality from every game I played, or I lost interest. If a game had day one DLC, it immediately went on a list of “I’m never playing this game.” If the game had fun concepts but was lost in a sea of bad voice acting, I’d never touch it again after the initial play. My standards went ridiculously high. Games like Bastion and Dishonored were just two of a very select few that actually had me playing them until the very end.
And that basically brings us to today. I play maybe, maybe five hours of video games a week. Nothing can hold my interest, and the games I do play, I am very negative about because I find flaws in everything.
Metal Gear Revengence has an awful blocking system and I never played more than two hours of it. Transistor didn’t live up to Bastion, and it disappointed me. Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds was more dribble from Nintendo, who is absolutely stuck in the past and on life support from a machine called nostalgia. Bioshock Infinite bored me to tears. Tearaway was too easy. Last of Us was too hard. Darksiders II is a collect-three-things-over-and-over simulator.
My hobby has turned to ash, and I can’t see why or a way out.
How come games aren’t fun to me anymore?
I find myself watching Let’s Play channels on Youtube because I enjoy watching other people enjoy the video games I used to enjoy. It brings me pleasure to see people having fun where I used to as well. Let’s Play videos are the closest I can get to enjoying my hobby anymore.
So what is causing me to hate these things that I used to love so dearly?
Am I depressed? Well, maybe. I certainly was in college. I was on antidepressants for a while, though I’m not sure they actually did anything for me besides give me awful side effects when I stopped taking them. And besides, wouldn’t video games actually help fight depression? I thought that was the point, to escape from the real world.
Are games just bad? No, I honestly don’t believe this. There are some awful business practices that have gone on in the past few years in the video game industry, but in general, there are many games that have come out that have been considered some of the best games ever made. Some of the highest rated games of last year I actively disliked, but that doesn’t make them bad games. This is not the answer.
Have I just grown tired of video games? Ah, there’s the rub. The likely answer to that very sad question is: “yes”. As much as it pains me to admit it, I might have just grown apart from video games over the years. There’s no doubt that I can still enjoy playing a game with a friend once in a while, whether it be the random Mario Kart game of a quick match of CS:GO online.
But the awful truth of it is, I rarely enjoy video games when I’m playing them by myself.
I think me and video games broke up, but I cannot for the life of me accept that. I’ve invested so much of my energy, my money and my life into supporting my video game hobby, even the mere thought that I’m no longer interested in them makes me weep. What would I even do without video games? Knit? Ride bikes? I’ve lived with video entertainment for so long, I’d be absolutely lost without it, yet my life obviously has no love for the hobby.
So what is the final conclusion to this post? Is there even one?
No… I don’t think there is. I will never give up on video games because they’re too ingrained into my life. They literally molded me to become who I am today. My house is organized around the best and most comfortable way to play video games. It’s like a relationship: and sure, maybe me hanging on to video games even if we’re not meant to be is like a very unhappy couple staying together just for the kids. But since no-one else is involved in this particular situation, I have no problems kicking and screaming to keep the relationship going as long as possible.
And there are those odd games that I seriously do enjoy. Farcry 3. Dishonored. Bastion. Minecraft. Call of Duty: Black Ops. They don’t come around very often, but when they do, at least those few short hours as I’m playing those games, I can pretend that me and video games have a solid relationship; that we still love each other.
It won’t hurt as much that way.