A joint article by Maki and Sandoozee.
Have you ever played a game on launch day, maybe something you’ve followed since it’s inception - you’ve watched the trailers, you’ve pre-ordered the special edition, you’ve been a loyal fan all the way through. You install and sit down, your controller is powered up, you hit the loading screen. Yes! It’s finally happening… But once that opening cinematic is over and you’ve started the first chapter, something is missing? Where is that magical feeling of excitement that was so well known to you in the previous weeks of anticipation? It’s right in front of you, the world waiting to be explored, but where did that drive go all of the sudden?
If this experience is resonating with you, you might have Gamer’s Block - and I encourage you to read on.
If you do a quick search for "Gamer’s Block", you will find a range of differing definitions. It seems to manifest uniquely for everyone who experiences it, and is easily misdiagnosed - if recognized at all. After doing some research on this topic, a few common sentiments appear;
Urban dictionary defines Gamer’s Block as a lack of motivation to play games regardless of how good they are. With cited quotes from those affected such as; “I've been sifting through my games for the past thirty minutes and haven't opened a single application. Guess I'm going through some gamer's block."
"Gamer's Block is the complete lack of interest or urge to play video games. Although it may not be a term you’re familiar with, [GB] is bound to be something you have dealt even if you didn't realize it at the time. There are extremely few gamers out there who can honestly say they haven't suffered through this at some point in their life." - Sandoozee
But is it just unavoidable? Or is there something deeper at play? What if the games could be just as enjoyable as they always were? What if our passion for playing games is still present but it’s just under the surface, waiting to be rediscovered? What if we could return to the totally engaging experience of playing games in our childhood - when the entire world could melt away and all that existed was your character on screen? Isn’t that what we all want? The answer may be in taking a sober look at our behaviors and practices, and making meaningful adjustments that can allow us to unblock that love of gaming so it can thrive once again!
Sorry to disappoint, but there aren't quite five stages to Gamer's Block. Nevertheless we need to highlight that the most important step to overcoming it is to just simply accept that you have it. Unfortunately it seems that at large, Gamers are misdiagnosing their symptoms as a lack of focus, lack of good games, or lack of energy. Some desperate souls are even turning to supplements to address the issue, yes I said supplements. Before we get into that however, consider some of these top asked questions from Google; have you ever found yourself asking these questions?
Although most gamers tend to be open about their condition with statements such as “There’s no good games out there” or “I just can’t find anything that I like”. Some tend to bottle it up which can lead to long term game deprivation. - Sandoozee
Other Symptoms may include but are not limited to;
So maybe now you’re close to self diagnosing a gnarly case of Gamer’s Block - now what? Maybe you should order some super caffeinated drink formula to overclock your brain’s CPU into loving games again? Despite popular opinion, you can’t medicate yourself out of this one! Although that hasn’t stopped many from trying...
[Spoiler alert: You don't need it]
Gfuel is an energy drink mix that is marketed to fuel your gaming sessions. It’s even the official drink of Esports. Think pre-workout formula - but for videogames. A New York Times article investigated this trend of Gaming Supplement beverages hitting the market as well as the emerging popularity of young kids using energy drinks like Rockstar and Redbull to fuel their long gaming sessions. An excerpt from their article reads;
“Researchers have documented a link between energy drinks and gaming. A 2014 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that boys who consumed energy drinks at least weekly spent approximately four more hours a week playing video games than boys who consumed energy drinks less often than once a week.”
Google Search data shows hundreds of thousands of monthly searches for terms like “Gfuel”, “Gamersupps”, and “best supplements for gaming”. What caused this sudden need to use Nootropics and cognitive enhancing formulas to keep us engaged in our videogames? Shouldn’t a game be naturally addictive enough to keep us staring widely at our screens for hours on end without a shot of Taurine and Caffeine in our veins?
Don’t buy supplements to improve your gaming sessions! Stick around and read on for some real suggestions for how you can actually beat Gamer’s Block, once and for all, no expensive drink mixes needed.
This is hands down the best recipe to break you out of your funk. And the ingredients are simple. You'll need; 1 part favorite childhood game, 2 parts retro console (or emulator), and 1 part sitting on the floor close to your TV. Optionally, add some great friends and salt to taste. There is nothing that can reignite your spirits quite the same way as a trip back to Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart on NES, Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis or whatever your favorite happens to be. Watch as the magic comes back, you won’t be disappointed!
Online gaming is great, but nothing beats a couch co-op session with some great friends. This could be tough during Covid, so make sure to be wise about who you bring into your bubble. Choose a great party game that has competition like Super Smash Bros, Crash Team Racing, or TowerFall Ascension. Alternatively, choose something that allows for cooperative play like Overcooked, Rayman Legends, Minecraft or Diablo III! If you need to bolster competition, consider implementing a buy-in and create a prize pool for the night’s winner. Drinks are recommended, but snacks are mandatory.
Do you remember the days before Youtube and game streamers? Before digital services like Xbox Gamepass and PS Now that put hundreds of games at your finger tips, never challenging you with the risk of investing time and money into a “bad game”? We used to drive ourselves down to the local video shop - Block Buster or EB Games - and discover games based on what we saw on the shelf. We picked up game cases, and deduced what we could from Cover art, a paragraph synopsis from the developers and some hot-take quotes. If we were lucky we could open and read a game booklet - revealing a control scheme, map or other gameplay elements that helped make a purchasing decision. We paid a fair sum, and took that game home! How often did we play just 20 min of that game before giving up, much like we do nowadays? I would reason to bet that we often stuck it out and absorbed the full value that game had to offer, simply because we invested so much. There’s something to be said about this trade-off of value. And I encourage each of you to walk into your local game store next time you can and reinvent this process for yourself. This was how I discovered Kingdoms of Amalur, now one of my favorite games of all time - which I had no idea existed before I walked into EB Games and found it in the discount bin!
Fight the urge to youtube a trailer or google a review from the store, just go with your gut, you’ve got this!
What better way to reignite your love of videogames than surrounding yourself with superfans? You don’t have to wait for E3 or Comicon to get your fix either, look for local events in your town or towns nearby! Even small towns have their population of Gamers, Comic and Anime fans. Get on Google and track down those conventions, some are even returning now with physical distancing protocols, but don’t worry you can still absorb the motivation you need from 6 feet away. This may seem like a rather serious intervention, but it’s effective. Be friendly and meet as many people as you can!
The media is hyper-critical and can be polarizing when it comes to the Gaming industry. There are tons of influencers out there who make a living tearing apart great games, or conversely, building up hype for terrible ones. We’ve all seen it, and it can have a toxic effect. Furthermore, stay away from the console wars! Xbox is fantastic, Playstation is amazing, Nintendo kicks ass, why do we need to play favorites? All the console wars content out there just polarizes a community that would otherwise be united. Mute the memes, lay off the daily Youtuber binges, and cut out the incendiary critic reviews - just for a while... see how you feel! If the constant commentary and news cycles stop, do the games change? How do you experience a game when you haven’t heard 30 different takes, rumors and trailer breakdowns before playing? Take this cleanse for at least a week, and then perhaps revisit Tip #3 - You’ll be happy you did.
Delve into new genres that you normally wouldn’t try. If you’re a hardcore RPG fan who spends hours and hours (and a large portion of your paychecks) exclusively on this genre, it might be time to try your hand at a racing game and see if that can keep your attention. Although it can be tough to spend the money to try out these other genres, there are a number of services out there that allow you to try out multiple games at no extra cost to you such as Xbox's Game Pass, Playstations PS Now. Heck, even Amazon has a game streaming service now! Just make sure to commit to playing what you download, give it a real shot. Change is good.
Did this article help you successfully diagnose your Gamer's Block? Did any of these tips work for you? Do you have tips that you'd like to share? We want to hear from you!
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