It has been a long day. You’d like nothing more than to plop yourself down in front of your TV for a few hours and slink into the world of gaming. But there is a problem. As you cycle through your dashboard or scan your shelf, nothing stands out. An itch forms deep in your soul as you realize that the desire to play what you own is nonexistent.
We have all been there.
The gaming slump is very real phenomenon. As the new releases slow in the long winter months, I am not alone in becoming less and less enamored with the gaming options available at my fingertips. Rather than being excited about playing a specific game, I begin to crave specific genres or experiences, or, in some cases, nothing at all. While the gaming slump is disheartening, it is not insurmountable. Here are some surefire ways to beat your personal dry spell.
Take a breather
Everybody likes different things. Some people plant their flag on the multiplayer hill while others swear by single player experiences. First person shooters are the “One True Way” to some while others spook themselves silly with horror games. If you tend to sway towards a particular niche, I urge you to get away from it. Very few of us have tastes limited to a single area, so break away from the normal and try something different. Put Destiny away and play The Witcher. Leave the Commonwealth and journey to a galaxy far, far away. Sometimes all it takes is some time away to reignite our passions for our favorite games.
The best things in life are free…
PlayStation Plus and Games with Gold are both incredible values that provide gamers with a few free games a month across multiple platforms and genres. While not every game is of equal quality, each month usually provides a standout game that warrants your time. And if you’ve been keeping up with the releases, you could have a backlog of free games ready to be experienced. The services have made games like The Walking Dead: Season 1, Rocket League and Transistor available in the past, which are all incredible games that everyone should try. You never know what game will break your slump, so, play a title that won’t cost a dime.
…But don’t be afraid to spend money
The amount of games that we have access to in this generation is simply staggering. Online Stores have opened the floodgates for gamers willing to invest a bit of cash. Platforms like Steam and the Playstation Store often hold flash sales that heavily discount large quantities of quality games. Games, in general, go down in price as they get further from release, so you may be able to pick up a game on your backlog for the perfect price. In many cases, games that offer 20 plus hours of gameplay can be snagged for the same price as a sandwich at a restaurant, so don’t be afraid to spend 10 bucks on a game that you are on the fence about.
Expand your horizons
Sometimes we just need to try something new. Games are becoming more and more diversified in the experiences they provide. Genres are constantly becoming blurred and invented. So play something you would never try otherwise. If you hate puzzle games, play a puzzle game. If you only play multiplayer games, play a short, narrative-based game. Just try something you wouldn’t normally play. You might even find a new favorite genre.
My personal choice for breaking my gaming slumps is playing classic games. Playstation Classics, Nintendo’s Virtual Console and Steam provide avenues to most of history’s gems. Many of us came into gaming having not grown up at a time when many classics were new. I personally missed out on the 8, 16 and 64-bit eras, so I love breaking my usual trends with classics such as Super Mario World and Final Fantasy VI and experiencing different eras of gaming. It is also incredible to realize how wonderful many of these games are. Many classics have found their way into my personal top 10 (Chrono Trigger anyone?). They are classics for a reason; play them!
Every gamer has a game that they love unconditionally. One that feels like putting on a pair of slippers at the end of a long day. That game is in your life to break you out of gaming slumps. I can say that Kingdom Hearts has pulled me out of the gaming doldrums numerous times (I actually want to play it now). If it’s been a while since you’ve visited your favorite world, you’ve got an easy choice.
Get off the couch
Unfortunately, there isn’t always a game to pull us out of our slump. Luckily for us, there is an incredible world out there that isn’t found inside a black rectangle. Read a book. Go outside. Visit a new place. There are unlimited possibilities. And between you and me, you could probably afford to hit the gym.
Winter is a tough time to be a gamer. Believe me. But it can also be an incredibly exciting time if you know where to look to get your gaming fix. Break your routine and explore all of the possibilities that gaming has to offer.
(Published March 11, 2016, 8 Bit Chimp)