Do You Ever Find It Hard To Sit Down and Play?

kartmaster
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Joined: 2:56 PM - Oct 27, 2013

4:53 AM - Feb 01, 2017 #1

TLDR: As you get old, do you feel guilty for not playing as many games as you wanted to?

Life is weird. When I was younger I remember vividly telling myself, "When I get older, I'm always going to keep gaming an important part of my life." I remember that time well. It was the height of the Nintendo 64. I was 15 years old, hosting two or three "GoldenEye Fests" a year at my place. There was probably nothing I was more excited about in life than playing games. The wait for the next big game was excruciating. Zelda felt like it would never get here. But no matter, I could sit back on my video chair that sat in front of our 27" Magnavox TV and playthrough GoldenEye on 00 Agent again.

Even now, holding an N64 controller, listening to the twinkle of the Super Mario 64 startup after the satisfying plunk of the N64 power switch brings back those same feelings, albiet in a slightly dulled way. Like that old can opener you still have that your Mom gave you when you first moved out on your own. It's a little hard to turn, and you could probably go out an replace it if you wanted to. But the new ones just don't last. Besides, this one still works fine. But deep down the real reason you keep it around, is because your Mom's re-married, your house you grew up in has been neglected by the druggies that live there now, at this moment you have a cold, and now you're making your own chicken noodle soup hoping to feel better. But you still have that can opener. The exact same one that your Mom used to use to open up a can of chicken noodle and let you stay home from school to watch The Price Is Right, even if maybe you could have gone. The world around that can opener may have changed, but it feels timeless when you wrap all your senses around it.

For many of us, this system takes us back to a time when things were simpler. Easier. Life was more more about anticipation of the next great unknown. Where will we go to college? What jobs will we get? Who will we marry? Will Zelda be delayed again? In the moment, the unknown is agonizing. You can't wait to get... THERE. Wherever "there" is going to be.

Now we're here. Many of the games we still put on pedestals (or in VGA graded cases) are turning 20 years old. I sit in a slightly more uncomfortable video chair today on the floor in front of my 32" Trinitron and look at these games, in some ways longing to play them, but in others, look at them more as just chronicles of my own personal history. I look at Paper Mario and remember the hours I poured into that game after leaving for college and had absolutely no one to talk to or hang out with for days and weeks at a time. But I don't feel all the compelled to play Paper Mario. Rather, I'm mostly content to meditate on those thoughts and feelings that orbit around that experience of Paper Mario and think about how they effected shaping me into the person I am today.

So one thing I've turned to is trying to track down the experiences I missed in their day. There are games I've wanted for years... decades even. Now with the means to obtain them, I find the difficult task is embarking on the journey of the experience itself. And thus the backlog grows. I find myself going back to games I'm comfortable with. Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Super Mario 3. The giants. When what I really WANT to do is go play a game like Final Fantasy VI on SNES. Even now, I can't tell you why I'm here writing this and not just playing this pretty universally acclaimed game.

Maybe it's just me? Do you ever feel guilty that you aren't even now at this very moment, you aren't doing something (anything) in your life you have always wanted to do? How do you reconcile that with feeling with being just a little burnt out on... well, everything? You can do anything you want... but what if life has been so crazy for the past few weeks that DOING NOTHING sounds like a pretty sweet, sweet escape?

What's easy? Collecting, oddly enough. For all the things that adult life brings that I expected, the aspect I didn't was the responsibility of being relied upon so frequently. By your job, by your family. Whatever the flavor of the emergency of the day is, it requires your immediate attention. Joe called in sick today. The kiddo needs picked up, the bedtime routine needs to start on time or there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But it's super easy to see a thing in a quick eBay search between the moments that demand your time and energy. It's exciting to passively win a thing that maybe you were excited about as a kid, but never had the time to experience. Ironically you still don't. But much like that Paper Mario game that sits on the shelf, looking at your thing, waiting for your thing to show up, brings you some of those fleeting feelings of what it used to be like to wait no-so-patiently for something you've dreamed about becoming a reality.

Have I betrayed 15 year old me? I don't know. Games, mostly now known as retro games, occupy my thought time more than a lot of other things. The spirit sure hasn't died. But if marathon runners were you svelt dudes knocking out 5 or more "new to you" games a year... I'm the tubby guy with a beer in hand watching Netflix while I should at least be folding laundry... But I'm thinking about it.

A lot of people say, "You'll make it a priority if it's important." That's true, but that's the root of all this middle aged angst. In 1996, the struggle was figuring out how you were going to fill your day to get to the next. In 2017 the struggle is figuring out how to do what you really wanted to do yesterday.

If anything, it's made me grateful. Grateful to have been there at such a monumental time in Video Game history. To be able to experience everything from Pac-Man, to Super Mario Bros, to Grand Theft Auto, and each of them as new, exciting, never before seen experiences. And that's what gaming is really all about. The experiences. The memories. And the moments that surround them.



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Shellshocker18
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Shellshocker18
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Joined: 2:13 AM - Aug 04, 2016

11:26 AM - Feb 01, 2017 #2

Hi Karmaster. I'm probably the least qualified person to respond to your question because I'm not middle aged and I've never had a serious bout of gaming burnout, but you shouldn't feel bad for not spending your leisure time a certain way.

The burnout you are feeling right now is what happens when you game for nearly your entire life. It's something that many gamers go through sometimes. While it can feel good to beat lots of games or play a game so much that you're an expert, Remember that video games are just made for entertainment at the end of the day. Forcing yourself to play just because you always have or because you feel obligated to take part can suck the life out any hobby.

Many gamers including myself love talking about games just as much as playing them and many of our friends and family are heavy gamers as well, so I understand that some of this guilt could be from not taking part in as many game related discussions since you haven't been taking part in any new experiences lately. Those discussions bring people together and not being able to participate because you're losing intrest or motivation can suck but I'm sure everyone here can sympathize with that feeling. We all have responsibilities and hectic lives but only so much energy to dedicate to these virtual timesinks, no one is going to fault you for putting down the controller for a little while to recharge. You (hopefully) still have plenty of time left in your future and if video games aren't satisfying you in this moment then it's best to not force it and get back into the groove when you're ready.

"Variety is the spice of life" is one of the best proverbs to take to heart because everyone has to make an effort to try new things when life becomes tedious. It's good to step away from the things you love because they will feel all the more refreshing when you come back to them after having been gone so long. If you want to watch Netflix instead of game then that's perfectly fine, healthy too as long as you are enjoying yourself. If you get bored of Netflix you can spend time looking for other activities to do, and I understand that isn't as easy as some people make it sound but in the end you are always the one who has to find motivation for yourself. It is human nature to reminisce about fond memories you've had in the past and for all of us Video games are right there within those memories so stepping away from them can be tough, but you can't fuel yourself on just 1 activity. I know it's disheartening to not feel the spark of joy from something you've done for so long but with time your motivation will probably come back full force.

You say that video games are still in the back of your mind, but new games are hard to get into and replaying old games is getting harder since they seem less enjoyable each time. This is a pretty hard feeling to kick, but if and when you get the urge to playing games you'll have to do a few things to keep yourself invested.

1. Never play a game more than once or twice in a row and don't worry about trying to unlock every little thing all at once. There is an unfortunate law of diminishing returns when replaying a game you once loved so trying spacing out replays by around 6 months to a year. If I play Space Station Silicon Valley 50 times in the span of 7 months (yes seriously) then it's gonna lose its luster once I've accomplished everything and learned every little detail about the game. However if the last time I played Paper Mario was in 2013 it will be more refreshing when I come back to it because I forgot everything about it from the first time I played.

2. Play games and genres that you've never tried. Playing them insures you are getting an all new experience and sometimes it can rejuvenate you if you are tired of the same old stuff, that is if you have the motivation like learn an all new genre. On the same note, remember not to force yourself to play something just because it's critically acclaimed, just play things that interest you or hold your attention.

3. Remember that games aren't really meant to be beat, they are meant for fun. Just because you don't finish a game doesn't mean you wasted your time. Multiplayer games, puzzle games, and party games are still fun despite most of them never ending. If you do want to finish more games, use cheats if it helps you enjoy more of the game. There's nothing wrong with breezing through a game or skipping the more difficult or tedious sections instead of forcing yourself through the hard way for the sake of hardcore gamer pride.

Well I'm rambling hardcore and I might have said something relevant somewhere in that wall of text, but it's good that you are talking about this because it's the first step to making a change and figuring out how to improve your mood. Hopefully the enthusiasm comes back at some point but even if it doesn't happen right away just remember that your game collection and people around here to talk to aren't going anywhere.


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Milage007
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Joined: 7:56 PM - Mar 16, 2014

12:48 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #3

I'm going to try and keep my response quite short on this one. I totally agree with what you are saying Kartmaster. By the sounds of it I am slightly younger than yourself, I'm 28 in March, nevertheless I can completely empathise with where you are coming from.

I have gone from a casual 64 gamer, which I still am, to a collector. I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder as I don't buy or want everything, but I have decided to go for a full 64 PAL set, with my favourite US exclusives, because it's a challenge, it's rewarding, I enjoy it, and it's somewhere to put any non investment disposable income as let's face it, it's getting nothing in the bank interest wise. I also believe in the long-run, the complete set will be worth a few bob.

In terms of time available to play games over the years time has drastically reduced and I can only imagine that will reduce further as I age, and as things like children etc (if I am lucky and my partner does want them as well) come along and require more time and attention.

To be honest I don't always need to play the games, just walking into my game room opening my cabinet and admiring the beautiful consoles and games for a moment, before exiting the room is enough to take me back and feel satisfied, before I resume doing something not related to gaming.

My view is that I will always have time for games, especially N64, as I will make time if I have to beg steal or borrow it. But I have to accept that time will be limited, and when it happens, enjoy the most of it. That is nothing to feel guilty about. I too have 64 games I really want to love but I just never got that attachment back in the day so find it difficult to find the enthusiasm to play them sometimes so I too often resort to past favourites. E.g I have recently completed Mission Impossible, a game I have completed before albeit a long time ago, over the many I have yet to even attempt including that Madden 2002 which I fell at the first hurdle on, because I don't even know the American Football rules, let alone the fact it is a pretty poor game lol.

I enjoy visiting the forum and talking to you lot, and sharing my experiences and collection developments with you.



Follow my N64 Instagram - milage007_n64

Tupac Shakur - 'You know it?s funny, when it rains it pours they got money for wars but can?t feed the poor?
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The White Falcon
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The White Falcon
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Joined: 11:49 PM - Jul 25, 2016

1:32 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #4

This is why I love the 3DS and especially the Vita, because they have suspend/sleep modes. As long as I'm not playing something online (which is rare on those) I don't have to worry about finding a save point, or finishing a mission. I can put it into sleep mode and come back to it later. The Vita's sleep mode is so good I've left a game slept for a month and gone back to it on the same charge. It makes playing old RPG's (or anything without "save anywhere") that much more achievable.

I do have to agree with the sentiments about variety. One thing that took me a while to learn was that, sure, I may not touch a console for months, but I shouldn't sell it, because at some point I'm going to want to come back to it, and I'll end up playing a ton.

I don't worry about the backlog, because I know I'll either get to it eventually or I won't. I have found that tracking (and reporting) what I beat is a good incentive to actually get through some games.

And...I do use How Long To Beat when deciding on new games to buy. I thought about getting the DQVIII remake, or Xenoblade Chronicles X, until I saw both games would require 100+ hours of commitment (each!) to beat.

To quote Sweet Brown, ain't nobody got time for that.
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Cabanon
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Joined: 11:57 PM - May 08, 2011

2:52 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #5

i'll have to read it all, but just from the title the answer is yes. My gaming time is butchered not only by kids but also by my desire to do so. no current gen games interested me but also past games are all nostalgia, nothing I want to fully redo or play for the 1st time.
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Grizzmeister
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Joined: 9:14 PM - Mar 08, 2011

3:18 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #6

kartmaster wrote:TLDR: As you get old, do you feel guilty for not playing as many games as you wanted to?
I'm embarrassed to admit but I still spend way too much time video gaming. :-8

Yeah, I've taken hiatuses from video gaming over the years but no matter how hard I try to escape - it always pulls me back in. :lol:

It's probably easier for me to stay enthusiastic about the hobby since I'm big in to online gaming. That helps maintain the feel of the social gaming that I used to do with real life friends when we played Turok Rage Wars on the N64 back in the late 90's. Online is a poor substitute for gathering with friends, I'll admit, but I find it much more interesting than playing against CPU opponents.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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kartmaster
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Joined: 2:56 PM - Oct 27, 2013

5:59 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #7

Great thoughts. Sounds like everybody is somewhere a little different on the spectrum. I'm not quitting, just at a weird place.

@The White Falcon - Great observations and I can tell you I have also grown more appreciative of portable gaming recently too. Portable games tend to be more forgiving of life's interruptions in general, and I've seen my 3DS library grow because of how much more accessible that platform is for me.

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bluedogrulez
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Joined: 9:20 PM - Mar 08, 2010

6:48 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #8

@Kartmaster: that is an amazing piece of writing! The can opener analogy is shockingly adept.

I have a few years on you, but am in the same place as you for purposes of this discussion. But to answer the question posed, I actually feel more guilty for playing than not playing. I understand time could be spent more productively, but we all need some form of recreation...we are not machines (yet). I do feel an emotion about the under-utilization of my collection. It's not guilt per se, but a similar emotion I can't quite describe without making it sound exactly like guilt.
Switch Friend Code: SW-0786-9287-1202 (bluedogBDR)
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sublime1996525
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sublime1996525
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Joined: 6:56 AM - Dec 26, 2015

7:07 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #9

I can definitely relate to this. I'm 34, work full time, just finished with school, we are building a new house, my wife wants to start having kids, I take care of my 92 year old grandpa. There is a lot of real life stuff going on and I really wish I had more time for gaming. My N64 is in a spare room that is filled with crap as we pack and try to de-clutter our house so it makes it difficult to get to. This limited time pretty much forces me to play XBOne. All I play are 10 minute Call of Duty rounds or some Forza because it's easy for me to just turn it off.

I really hope that when I get some things settled down in real life I can go back to playing N64. I just got a new Steel Stick that I haven't even tried yet and it's killing me. Every time I walk by that room I swear I can hear it calling out to me. I also keep hoping that I can get my wife to play a little with me, she does not like gaming at all so when I do get to play while she's there it's never for a long period.
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No64DD
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Joined: 1:07 AM - Mar 14, 2012

7:57 PM - Feb 01, 2017 #10

What a great read this has been!
You could say that i spend more time here than i do actually gaming, but it is only because i am always thinking about it as well.
Honestly, being able to have such a platform helps me, and also inspires others through the same ups and downs!

I do hope that the Nintendo Switch aleviates some of the issues stressed here. In many ways it does feel like the second coming of the Nintendo 64.
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