originals\ Sep 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Five Reasons Why We Stop Playing Video Games


Excuses, excuses. As gamers, we can think up any number of reasons for why we still have a backlog of games to work through but just bought a brand new game to play. Are video games today just that bad, or does the blame lie with us? Why would we rather buy something new than pop in something old (and free)? Here are five common reasons we stop playing games before the end credits scroll.

Boredom: Next, Please

We start video games because we’re bored, but ironically, we stop them for the same reason. We grow bored of the characters, the worlds, the mood of the dialogue, the colors palettes, the achievements, the trophies, the constant patches, and the same ins and outs of gameplay. Even when a game does an earnest job of keeping itself fresh, we tire of everything it offers us.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a short attention span. We don’t want too much of anything for too long. Like with channels on a television set, we keep flipping through massive libraries as though each game were made for a mere few hours of enjoyment. We’re all entitled to play whatever we want (yes, even Cooking Mama) for as long as we want, but the next time you’re ready to quit on a game early, consider what a disservice it would be to the developers and everyone involved who put months or years of their lives into making it. Unless the game in question is Duke Nukem Forever, you might want to give it another hour or two’s chance.

Distractions: Delivered with the Press of a Button

You don’t have to suffer from an attention-deficit disorder to want to play every game out there. Games have such pretty box art, after all. And such good prices used. And I heard that one is supposed to be great.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Distractions. We live in a society saturated with distraction heaped upon distraction in the form of readily accessible media. It’s easier than ever to read a book (just download in under a minute with your e-reader), listen to music (click to stream or buy), or play a game (hop on your console’s network for even full-retail titles). Television show episodes are playable with the press of the OnDemand button or a quick browse through Netflix’s instant streaming collection. Just about anything you want can be bought from the comfort of your chair or couch.

So many of us are hooked not on one source of entertainment, but on a handful. Who doesn’t watch at least one or two shows weekly? Or listen to the latest albums on iTunes? Or buy the newest comics? Or read the hottest books? Or buy a game one or two Tuesdays a month? With so much to do, it’s hard to divide our time between leisure, work, and social outings with friends and family. When we want to do it all, it’s easier to do a little bit here and there than try to enjoy everything completely. That would be one tough task—more akin to work than a relaxing night of “me” time.

Busy Schedules: Too Little Time and Energy

Even when our interests are kept to a minimum, we only have so much time to dedicate to a particular hobby. If you work an eight-hour job, come home to make dinner, and then pick up the controller to play your favorite game—one game, by the way, that you’re determined to beat—you might not have more than an hour or two to spare before you’re dragging yourself to bed. You do have to wake up early the next morning. Or maybe overtime is in your future. Even if you have the whole night to share with your game console, you might not be in the mood to take down an army of evil. Maybe you’ll settle for a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond instead. Jeez, when did you turn forty?

And weekends? Don’t even get me started on weekends. That’s time to do whatever you couldn’t squeeze into the work week. Or, if you’re in school, that’s precious time to cram for your three exams. Whenever you finally take a break or a vacation, you’ll probably want to skip the beach scene and plop down in front of the TV to play a game instead.

Disinterest: What’s the Conflict, Again?

The demands of life take their toll on all of us. Documents need to be submitted and filed. Customers need to be helped. Clients need to be called. Friends need to be consoled. Dinner won’t make itself. So on, and so on, all for a week’s pay. When we finally get the chance to sit down and catch our breath—like with a video game, for instance—it’s not uncommon to forget what boss we were about to fight or what new item we were supposed to find. Every time you stop playing, whether you’ve played for an hour or a day, your mind creates a “checkpoint” for access later on. Your most recent activity is saved, including all the key details of the story and objectives, but the longer you wait to reload that information, the more of it you lose.

In layman’s terms, if you wait a month between gameplay sessions in God of War (maybe because of all that work piled on your desk), you might forget why that big scary monster has an overwhelming desire to chop off your head. If you don’t remember who to fight or where to go upon first glance, you probably don’t feel like going through the trouble of remembering via aimless exploring.

Overloading: More, More, More!

Sometimes we knowingly create the problem—and, like addicts, we can’t help ourselves. We start a different game before we finish the other, or we load up a new title with no more than the harmless intention of trying it out, and then before we know it, we’ve gone and developed a bad habit. We’re playing multiple games at once, without any desire to see them through to the end. Besides, Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City are coming out next month. Not to mention Dark Souls. They’re much too exciting not to buy and play right away. Too many internet memes will crop up if you don’t. Too many hilarious jokes will go missed. Better to drop it and get whatever’s hot!

Juggle too many games, and you’ll end up spoiled.

About The Author
Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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