It’s a phase that most if not all gamers go through and based on the fact that according to statistics, the average gamer is a 35 year old, the chances are that those who read this article have experienced Gamer Burnout at least once.
Gamer Burnout is the term I’m using to describe that time when you load up a game, any game, and you just feel bored. Your desire to actually play it has gone, so you stop and stare at the rest of your collection looking for inspiration for something else to play but, horror of all horrors, nothing catches your eye. The thought suddenly enters your head, “Am I too old for games?”. When you hear this thought the chances are that you are hearing it in the voice of you partner, parents or non game playing friends, who at one point in time will have questioned your hobby and suggested that you will eventually grow up. So are you too old for games? (of course not!)
Usually there will be a trigger that shakes you out of Gamer Burnout but it will be different for each person. Whether it lasts a few hours, days, weeks or longer, during Gamer Burnout there are many phases that you will go through but everyone will experience them in a different order and some not at all.
Been there, done that: Every game you read about or try to play just feels like its a recycled idea that you’ve played before. You tut and shake your head at the lack of originality and you don’t see the point in experiencing the same old set piece again. The anticipation to look out for that one unique twist is simply not there, you just feel like you’ve seen it all.
The Great sell-off: Not only are you bored of games but you feel like you should sell your collection and the consoles you play them on. Sure, if you are now too old for games, why should you keep them collecting dust?
Just cancel it!: You systematically work through any games you have on pre-order and cancel them. Similarly, any magazines or online game websites that you subscribe to are usually cancelled too.
Denial: You start to pay less attention to Twitter and gaming feeds that you watch regularly. You may even un-follow people who tweet about games or people in the gaming industry. Less temptation to be pulled back into the hobby that has sucked so many unrecoverable hours from your life. (but who are you trying to convince?)
Social circle shift: You make an effort to socialise with all those people who turn their noses up at games. They could be family members, colleagues at work or just friends who think games are just for kids and are a waste of time. You may even take it further and do you best to work it into the conversation about how bored you are with gaming and that you’re too old for it.
Surfing Habits: Your force a change in your internet surfing habits, possibly even deleting those gaming websites from your bookmarks. Real world news websites that you generally skipped over before start to look more appealing. That local community newsletter might even get read before being put straight in the trash.
Disposable free time: With all your spare time that’s now available you question why you wasted so much time pushing pixels around a screen. At least once a day you just sit back and think about all the free time you now have. How will you fill your day?
It’s All Child’s Play: If you reach this stage then you are dangerously close to the point of no return. When you see someone else playing a game, you look at them with mild disgust. They are playing games that only kids should play, or are they?
This is by no means an exhaustive list but, fellow gamers I’m sure most of you can relate to at least one of the phases. I’ve tried to pinpoint the cause for gamer Burnout but it seems to affect everyone at different stages. Age milestones seemed to be common, turning 30 often raises the question of being too old. Having a gaming backlog that is huge also appears to be part of the problem.
Each time I’ve experienced Gamer Burnout it’s been for a different length of time. It may last a few days, it could last weeks, but each and every time something pulls me back to gaming goodness. It could be a trailer before a film or on TV during a commercial break. It may simply be a poster, or maybe overhearing someone else describing their last play session, but sure enough I come back from the wilderness and jump full on, back into game playing. The game that pulls you back is usually then treasured for all time as it has that special something that you like.
My questions to you today are:
How long did you experience Game Burnout for and can you relate to any phases mentioned in this article?
Which game pulled you back in?
Leave a comment below to let the guys here at Platform Nation and your fellow readers know about the time you thought you had outgrown games, and also about the game that brought you back to the fold.