Please help me come back to video gaming!

Playing games has become a chore! Ok, that’s a little bit dramatic, but let me explain:

My game playing time has been dramatically decreased in recent years for a couple of reasons, and I was wanting to get back into gaming. I went through the addiction phase with games like Sim City, Baldur’s Gate, Half Life, the entire Fallout Series, Age of Empires, Myth, and I am wanting to get back the same kind of immersive (borderline obsessive) feeling about a game, but I am having a hard time finding the same single-minded enthusiasm I one had.

I never had a great gaming computer before, but I just recently built a machine that can play all of the games that I shortchanged the first time I played them. I had to play games like Half Life 2 and Doom 3 at incredibly low resolution. Still, playing through HL2 again just to see it all pretty has gotten old, same with Fallout 3. I have checked out some of the more highly recommended freeware and still can’t find anything that can hold my attention. It seems like the current offerings are just more of the same.

I guess I have two questions:

  1. Did I just grow out of games? I know plenty of people my age and older (my dad included, who is a Fallout junkie) who still play. Do video games just get boring for some people?

  2. Am I just not playing the right games? Is there something out there, either new or a version of a genre that I’ve played before, that will bring me back into the fold?

I’ve been recently playing a lot of wiiware games. I find they’re innovative in their controls enough to keep you addicted, although perhaps more in a “Rubik’s cube” sort of a way than Age of Empires II and Red Alert did once upon a time, haha.

I was actually going to make a thread on here about one of my favorite latest gaming obsessions, but I may as well jump onto yours and offer this as a suggestion:

Fluidity is a really novel, beautiful looking game. There’s a lot of games for wiiware that are quite clever and innovative, in part because small design companies don’t have to worry about shipping discs and mass manufacturing them. Maybe something like that would catch your fancy?

I know how you feel. I have this chore-like feeling with some games and I am pretty well convinced I know what it is: stop playing games that emphasize their storyline. Stay away from games that want to give you a rich experience.

This includes all Witcher/Fallout 3/Dragon Age type games. Replace these games with the wholesome repetition of Titan Quest. You might try Torchlight as well, but there is something clever in it that keeps me out of it.

Avoid MMORPGs, they are just chores.

Exchange Half-Life for Crysis. In Crysis there is a story but it consists of grunts and farting while Half-Life 2 tries to be clever. I really had to be disciplined to get through HL2, but I zipped through Crysis and the expansion in no time at all. Avoid Bioshock. Bioshock is a beautifully crafted FPS, but it is too detailed and thorough in creating its environment; choreville. Play FEAR instead - it’s dumb.

Better than Crysis is any online FPS with a decent player base and dedicated servers.

Buy Burnout and spend half the night making a wreck perfect.

Real time strategy is also a safe bet. No story, just action. Starcraft 2 works because the story is grunting just like Crysis. Warhammer 40K 2 is even better because it has a story but you have no idea what it is about: you don’t need it - kill! kill! kill!

Play Civ4 or Total War games. Total War games are great because the AI can easily be tricked and this means mindless repetitive action.

Gaming doesn’t have to be a chore. You are getting older, you have lots of shit on your mind and your job tires you out. You don’t need a multimedia extravaganza with immersive storyline to escape anymore. You have habituated to the game designs and there is nothing they can do to give you that feeling of awe anymore. Its time to go back to what got you into video games in the first place - reflexes and mindless goals.

If you want a good story go read a book.

I would say keep your eyes open. Bookmark pcgamer.com and rockpapershotgun.com and just wait until you read a short article on a game you might like.

I used to be a voracious reader. Sometimes I would be reading 2 or three books at a time. You couldn’t pry me away from them. Then I suddenly couldn’t find anything to hold my interest for a few years. Then I did, and I went back to enjoying books. We all go through these types of phases in our lives.

I’m sure something will come along to stir your gaming juices.

Given your past likes I would suggest looking into something like Dragon Age/Mass Effect for your RPG itch. On the other hand, maybe it’s time for something different. How about a JRPG?

On the strategy side of things the Total war series might be something new. Shogun 2 is coming out next month, but the older Rome might keep you entertained. the no base building/fast paced Warhammer series (start with II) might also get you pumped. Something closer to your previous likes would be Starcraft 2, Civ V or the upcoming cities in motion.

The new Tell Tale adventure games are pretty much single handedly bringing back that genre. Their remakes of the monkey island games are great, as are their other episodic stuff.

On the FPS front something like the upcoming bullet storm or Crysis might tickle your “kill em and ask questions later” itch. On the other hand Bioshock might suck you in with it’s deeply imaginative and immersive world.

I couldn’t disagree more with the suggestion to avoid story-driven games. Those are always the ones that suck me in the most. Anything at all by Bioware should do nicely.

Well, it sounds like the OP went right back to those sorts of games since those were what he(?) remembers liking, and they’re not doing it for him, so it’s sortof inappropriate to tell him “Try some games like the ones you’re not enjoying”.

I second the suggestion of playing something “light” - Magicka is pretty darn amusing, for example, and doesn’t require any deep emotional investment. It isn’t quite “pick up and put down at any time” though due to the strange way the saves work.

King’s Bounty: Armored Princess is good and not exactly heavy duty stuff and there’s a demo that’ll tell you all you need to know about it.

Or you could just go play Plants vs Zombies. Or Recettear.

Hrm, that pretty much describes my non-MMO PC gaming lately. @_@

I would suggest more “immediate” games.

I assume you have played Portal? If not, that is probably your best bet.

If you have any interest in 2d platformers, Cave Story and Braid are awesome.

I kind of drifted away from PC gaminig for a while, then I fell in love with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - as awesome (and short) as the single-player campaign was, the multiplayer sucked me in. It’s great for the casual gamer, in that you can pop in for a couple free-for-alls, then logout, or you can stay and build up your achievements, and thus build your weapons loadout and perks.

And if you’re decent at FPS games, the game never gets really imbalanced - even starting at a low level doesn’t feel like a detriment when you’re up against guys with better weapons and perks, cause an AK kills just as dead as a P90.

In fact, I had to reimage my system a while ago, and the MW disc is still sitting on my desk, uninstalled. I think I know what I’m doing tonight.

I’d say check out GOG.com… I love that site like few others, and they have such an extensive library of games that there’s a good chance that there’s a great older game on there that you haven’t played that is now considered a classic. Classics often become that way for a reason, as I’ve discovered after downloading and playing Duke Nukem 3D from GOG. It’s so much simpler than FPSs that came after, but damn if it isn’t still fun! They also have some newish games there, but a lower-end computer should be able to run almost all of them.

I find myself playing old games more. SimCity 4, for instance, has sucked up valuable hours of my time.

I agree with the OP that most games now ‘feel’ the same. Because of that, I find myself playing more causal/independent games which sometimes feature new ideas.

Thanks for all the replies, I wish I could say that my delayed response was because I was engrossed in a game or two :dubious:

I have CivIII, and I loaded it up again over the weekend. This brings me to your second paragraph. I have determined that what is keeping me from the games I played in the pas, apart from your point, is sheer time availability. I simply do not have 8-20 hours at a time several days in a row to commit, and playing 30 minutes to 2 hours a time of a game that could last 20 hours just isn’t satisfying.

I will be looking at those titles when I get more time, thanks!

Yes, I think the term ‘immediate’ would sum it up. I haven’t played Portal, which I’m almost ashamed to say. The premise didn’t grab me, but I know it’s a well thought-out puzzler. I’ll give it a shot as well.

I do like GOG! Two of the games I have actually had a lot of mindless fun at are the Duke Nukem platformer and Alien Shooter, both of which I downloaded from GOG. I’m thinking these are typical of the games I will find myself enjoying in the future.

I have also been browsing the indie section of Steam, there seem to be many great titles there.

Something about SimCity4 put me off, I really got elbow deep into SimCity 3, something changed and I couldn’t submerse into 4…

Try Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines. A fun atypical Action-RPG that has you stalking the streets of LA snacking on citizens’ blood and performing tasks for various vampire factions. It plays somewhat like Deus Ex (in that it’s like an FPS, but your attacks are based on stats that you have to level up, and you have some special magic powers, too). Great atmosphere, memorable characters, and a story that’s not afraid to get crazy.

Second Torchlight. It basically relieves some of the problems I have with Diablo 2 (less endless-item-shuffling, graphics that arent ugly, and it doesnt have that overbearing EEEEEVVVVILLLLLL thing ((granted, I know some like this))). Fun, simple, and you can jump right into it.

I just downloaded the demos for Torchlight and Trine, and I think both are going to be super fun! Perfect for what I am looking for right now.

Purchased the full version of Trine…super fun, exactly what I am looking for right now.

I really enjoyed Trine; My only complaint was that the final level was a little bit punishing and trial-and-errory.

The good news is that Trine 2 is supposed to release sometime this year. :slight_smile:

I actually tried Torchlight for the first time the other evening and found it sortof…system heavy for a hack’n’slasher. Of course, that’s probably what appeals to a lot of people about it, since you can super duper customize your character and gear, but to me it just kinda felt like work.

Playing Trine and just finished ‘The Forge’. It does get very difficult quickly towards the end. I guess now that I’m at the tower that’s it? No time to figure that one out tonight, we shall see later this weekend.

Torchlight looked cool, and I did play the demo for awhile, but I just didn’t grab me. It still seemed like the type of game that would require some dedication and memory between sessions.

Finished Trine last night, have to say that the next-to-last level was much harder than the last.

Found ‘Atom Zombie Smashers’ today and played the demo a half-dozen times. Awesome game, and each scenario just takes a few minutes. Full version just got done downloading, bye!

What is the Forge?

One of the levels in Trine.