10 reasons you may be bored of gaming

Game over

Becoming bored of gaming doesn’t happen overnight, it’s typically a gradual process that develops over time. This feeling might be caused by one single thing, or it could be a number of things adding up. What is driving your boredom could also be very different to what is driving it for someone else.

But understanding why you’re bored of gaming is incredibly important, as without this you cannot begin to solve the issue. Sometimes it might be obvious and you won’t need this list, other times the causes are better hidden and harder to identify. To help, here are 10 reasons you may be bored of gaming.

1 – You’re playing boring games

Let’s face it, some games just aren’t all that brilliant or aren’t designed to be fun. They may have loads of other redeeming qualities, but they’re not trying to create a sense of excitement in the player. Let’s take Euro Truck Simulator as an example – not because I don’t think it’s a good game, but because it’s clearly going for a different vibe.

It’s a game that requires patience on behalf of the player, and asks them to get on board (excuse the pun) with being a trucker. Lots of people will find this eye-opening, or get an incredible feeling of relaxation taking in the European scenery, and that’s fine. But being a trucker is typically quite boring (I’d imagine) and the game is trying to recreate that feeling. Idle games, such as Cookie Clicker, also fall into this bracket. You might like them for helping you pass the time, but they’re not exciting or fun.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t play these games – lots of people do get value from them. But if you’re already feeling bored with gaming, playing a game that isn’t designed to be fun and exciting probably isn’t the best idea.

2 – You’re playing games that aren’t right for you

More typically, the issue is not that the game is boring but that the game just isn’t suitable for you. My example of this is Crusader Kings 2 & 3. They are both games with incredibly intricate systems and design, attempting to simulate what it’s like to be an olden-time ruler. Lots of people are very passionate about this game (and it’s reviewed well) and I’m very happy for them. But I find it the most dull thing in the world – I don’t have the patience to simulate great stretches of history or to learn the difference between a Duchy and a Kingdom.

My jam is Football Manager, a game that sometimes gets described as a glorified spreadsheet, where you watch tiny little digital men play a simulated match of football. This clearly isn’t for everyone either.

If you’re not having fun with a game you’ve already bought, stop playing it. Before buying a game, trust your gut. Even if a game has reviewed incredibly well, or others have recommended it to you, if you don’t think you’ll enjoy it then find something else. (You can use our Steam review data to help find you the perfect thing).

3 – You’re playing games the wrong way

To make this clear off the bat, you should play games however you like and not feel pressured into playing them in a particular way. If you like driving around in Grand Theft Auto 5 obeying all the traffic rules and never committing any crimes, then more for you – so long as you’re getting what you want from an experience.

But if you’re bored of gaming and the game you’re playing in particular, then the chances are there is going to be a different way to play that could change how you feel about it. A classic example here is in RPGs where you are presented with a seemingly endless list of side quests and objectives. If you’re like me, you try and tick these all off before moving on with the game, but rarely do these side quests actually give me that much joy (Witcher 3 aside). Worse; they break the main game by making your character so over-levelled that any challenge you’d face from major bosses is now completely removed. Boring.

The solution – just don’t do the side quests. They’re typically there to pad the run time and provide content to players who want to spend longer with the game. If they’re not doing it for you then leave them alone. Leave the game’s starting area, and progress with the main quest. You can almost always come back to these if you think you’ve made the wrong decision.

4 – You’re not expanding your horizons

Boredom can often come about by doing the same things over and over.  This can easily happen when gaming as it’s natural to want to play games that are like others that you have already enjoyed. If you know you like strategy games, it makes sense to make your next game a strategy game. If you enjoy playing FIFA with your mates, then you’re likely to want to keep doing that.

It’s a very human tendency to seek the familiar, but it can leave you with the feeling that you’re having the same experience over and over, never seeing anything new. Unsurprisingly, this leads to a feeling of being bored of gaming. It takes a very conscious and deliberate effort to break out of this cycle, but it can be done by playing something you’ve never previously considered, or had assumed you might not like. At the very least, if you risk going out of your comfort zone you’ll broaden your horizons and be exposed to new ideas and gameplay. At best, you may find a completely new type of game that you enjoy playing.

5 – You’re playing games that are too long

As a teenager, I had a limited gaming budget and I was sure as hell going to get my money’s worth from any game I bought. Long single-player games (such a the Final Fantasy series) or endlessly re-playable multiplayer games (Pro Evo, Counter Strike) became my go-tos.

As I got older, my free time began to diminish and my whole world view has changed. I can no longer invest 60 hours into a game, and if I do then that’ll be the only game I’m playing for months. I’m less patient than I was before, more aware of when games look to be padding out their runtime with filler. I now actively resent games that ask too much of my time, or that are clearly repeating content in an attempt to keep me playing their game and nothing else.

If I find I’ve hit a point where I’m wondering when the game is going to end, or it’s starting to drag, then I start to scrutinise whether I’m still getting anything from the experience. If I’m not, then I stop playing and accept that I’ve got what I need from the game, and it’s no longer worth investing the time the developer’s are asking me to invest.

6 – You’re playing games on the wrong difficulty

For most people, the optimal game difficulty is the level at which they are being challenged and asked to showcase skill and cunning, but are not repeatedly hitting their head against a brick wall. In the future, as game design gets incredibly sophisticated, this balance will be more frequently achieved, but for now it’s almost always reliant on the player to self-select their desired difficulty.

This is an almost impossible choice for the player to have to make as you have no way of knowing what a game is going to feel like at various difficulties until you start playing it. And once begun it’s rare that a player will choose to change the difficulty of a game, and in some games it’s not even possible.

This leads to two different types of boring; breezing through the game without any challenge, or being increasingly frustrated by your slow lack of progress. The solution; don’t be afraid to change the difficulty mid-game if you’re allowed. It is hard to accept you are failing at something and adjust down, but also to want something to be harder and adjust up. But doing so will help you hit that ideal balance more frequently, preventing you from being bored of gaming.

7 – You’re not playing to have fun

Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game.

Soren Johnson and Sid Meier (designers of Civilization 4)

I think about this quote a lot when I’m playing games, because I see it all the time in my own play. I too often see a game as something to be completed – an end point rather than an experience waited to be had. And I often treat it as such, finding the optimal builds, strategies or techniques to get me through a challenge as easily as possible. In games like the Sims I find the highest paying career, make sure my character is well rested and has all their other needs met as soon as possible (I take better care of them than I do me). I don’t play, I optimise.

And this is incredibly boring, and is, for most games, completely missing the point of them. They’re there to have fun with, and you should try and play them in the way that leads to you having the most fun. So look up the YouTube videos with idea of how to add the fun back, set restrictions around your play and commit to the journey of a game, rather than just the destination.

8 – You’re feeling the pressure of your backlog

I’ve already written at length about the pressures of the backlog and In short, having a big backlog causes two main issues:

  1. You’re far more discerning about the game you’re playing as it’s been chosen over 10s or 100s of potentially better games. You’re rarely willing to give it the benefit of the doubt as there could be something more enjoyable in your library to play.
  2. You want to speed through it to get onto the next thing, often watching the clock and wanting it to end as quickly as possible.

Both of these things lead to boredom and frustration that would otherwise not be there if you had a shorter list of games to play. To help, here’s 4 steps to clear your gaming backlog.

9 – You’re not committing fully to a game

My Mum used to tell me that ‘only boring people get bored‘. Overall, this is obviously nonsense, but there is some wisdom to be had in it. With gaming, you get out what you put in. If you’re only paying a game half your attention then you’re not going to get as strong an experience as you would if you committed fully to it.

A picture of some lovely commitment

So make that commitment. Read the flavour text and invest in the lore. Go slower and breathe in the game’s enviroment and ambience. Read about the game online, discuss it with other players, and make it your next obsession. Whilst you can’t do this with every game you play (and not all games are worthy of this level of focus!), giving more headspace and attention to any game will help you enjoy it more.

10 – You’re playing too much

If boredom comes from repetition, then there’s going to be a clear link between playtime and boredom. Of course it’s not linear – you can invest 100s of hours into a game because you are so hooked and are finding it so much fun. But if you’re spending many hours gaming a day or week and not finding yourself having fun, then there’s a real chance you’re playing too much

Take a break – either by reducing your play, or by going on a gaming diet or hiatus. Find another hobby, take time to recharge your batteries, and then come back with a renewed desire to play and have fun.

Step away if you're bored of gaming

There you have it. If this has helped you feel less bored of gaming, please leave a comment below or get in touch with us on Twitter.

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