Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ways to Keep Gaming Fresh

As a Gamer there's no denying that there will be times that you will hit a wall - a slump if you will. Games that you've grown to love just won't do it for you like they've had in the past. Your worst fears have come true - you're burnt out. Don't worry it happens to us all. I'm no exception, especially as someone who reviews games, it seems there is always a month or so where I feel so burnt out. And it sucks, because at the same time I want to play games - I just can't find anything to captivate me. I figured I'd share with you all some of the things I've found that have helped me when I feel my fire starting to dim.

Naturally, I feel like the birth of the internet and online capabilities of our consoles are such a bonus to gaming. It adds so much to a hobby that was once so solitary. For instance, I play NHL 11 like it's my job. Honestly, if I got paid to play I'd be making one hefty salary. My favorite mode is be a GM mode, but I play all the games myself instead of sim them, because I want to feel like I'm the driving force behind my players' successes and failures. However, sometimes playing season through season, I start to get a little burnt out, so then I start to play online matches against other players. Oh man, adding a little friendly competition into the mix definitely adds a spark inside me that makes me get addicted to NHL 11 all over again. I think it's because it's forcing me to play the game differently - adjusting to other people's play styles and it's more satisfying beating a real person opposed to the computer. Since a real person actually picks up on how you play and adjusts to your play style and then you have adjust your strategy all over again. And don't even get me started on playing fighters online competitively, if that doesn't get you into a game, I don't know what will.

Another good thing about the internet is that you're able to game with others (not only against them). Whenever I'm feeling burnt out on gaming on my own, I get a group of friends together and we hit Xbox Live, usually playing L4D. It's just fun to game with somebody you know and this can no doubt revive any drought you may be feeling in the gaming department. I'm not sure exactly why (although I can probably think of a few reasons), but having the social interactions breed life into gaming. Grab a friend or significant other and suddenly a game can become fresh and new - it's just fun to have a buddy to laugh at things in the game with or when you die in a absolutely stupid way (something I'll admit I've done more times than I can count).

If the social thing isn't for you, I've also found that if I go back to an old favorite game - something nostalgic - this, too, can bring me back. Maybe games now can be too complicated for their own good. Sometimes it's nice to go back to something more simple and familiar. The VC, PSN, and XBLA all are great resources for connecting to old favorites. In fact, right now I'm playing Kirby's Adventure and loving every minute of it. Now, if Maniac Mansion would just get a VC release..but back on topic - sometimes it's nice to break from these more complex, 50 hour long games - to something that you can beat in under 10 hours.

Going back to old favorites isn't for everyone, sometimes the games are too archaic, and for this, I have another suggestion: going completely out of your element and trying something new. For years, RPGs and racing games like Mario Kart are all that I would touch. I always stood clear of shooters, because I was never that great at them. Well, when this generation's consoles first came out, RPGs weren't coming out in large numbers, heck, they still aren't and I wasn't about to give up gaming, so I bit my tongue, and stepped out of my element and tried some FPS' and now I play a whole lot of them. L4D is one of my favorite games. I'll admit I'm still not the best at them, but you know what? It was refreshing to actually try something different. The more options we give ourselves of different games to play the better off we are in the long run of not getting burnt out. Stepping out of our comfort zone with games into something a different genre is one of the best ways to keep gaming fresh. It's also one of the best ways to challenge yourself. So, you're not experienced with the genre and it may take time to get used to - that's even more of a reason to give it a try! Hey, believe it or not, I was actually not the best - at first - at NHL. NHL was also something that I picked up that was out of my comfort zone, but I kept playing it because it challenged me, and you all know what happened there - it became an addiction that will never stop!

Anyway, getting burnt out here and there is only natural. These are some ways I try to combat the fizzle. Feel free to share with me some of your ways, I'd love to hear them. In the end, we're all just trying to keep the gaming love alive.

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