Keep a gaming journal or diary to better enjoy games

Picture of a diary

The main reason I started was to help myself through a problem – finding games boring. I have been playing games for over 30 years and doing anything for that long takes its toll. You start to take things for granted, you become jaded and you rush through experiences without thinking about them.

It’s still early days but so far I’m feeling more energised than ever and excited about the next gaming session. This is partly because I’ve chosen a game that I’m enjoying a lot, but also because I’m writing a gaming diary of my experiences. Simply writing about the games I’ve been playing has helped me start enjoying the gaming experience again.

The general benefits of keeping a diary or journal are well documented, but I wanted to share 3 specific reasons why this is a good idea to do if you are finding games boring.

Keeping a gaming Journal promotes gaming ‘mindfulness’

The biggest benefit is that keeping a gaming diary, or journal, forces you to reflect and evaluate an experience. To take time, to slow down and really think about what has just happened. This can help you think about many different things, for example:

  • How are you feeling when playing? Are you having fun or is some other positive emotion being evoked (curiosity, excitement, immersion)? If you are reflecting on your time with a game and it’s not making you feel something, or worse it’s creating negative emotions, then you can tell that it’s probably a good time to stop.
  • Is the game doing anything new? This isn’t always a key criteria for playing a game, but it’s something I often look for. Is it pushing the boundaries with graphics or visuals? Are the tasks it’s asking you to complete different to what you’ve seen before? Or has it invented a new genre or sub-genre that you think could well be for you. (This doesn’t happen often!)
  • How is the game designed? If you’re anything like me, you get enjoyment from thinking about what the designers intended an experience to be about. What choices did they make in the design of the game, and how well does that play out? This could then help you to think about the bigger message behind a game, which can be a fascinating line of thinking to follow.

You can always read what you’ve written back

Well obviously – this is the point! But there are some key benefits to this:

  • You can remind yourself how you were feeling. Trying to kick a game that’s bad for you? Read back about how you felt it was a waste of time last round. Tired and lacking energy to play? Perhaps hearing about the fun you had in the last session will help get you started. Ultimately it can help you if you’re finding games boring by highlighting which ones to avoid, or seek out, in future.
  • It can help you pick up where you left off. Are you a gamer who either plays multiple games at the same time or leaves long gaps in between sessions? If so, you’ve probably experienced the feeling of being really lost with a game – what to do and why you’re doing it. Reading old diary entries can help get you back up to speed quickly so you can jump right back into the game you were enjoying.
  • You can see your style develop. For those who like writing, or being creative, then keeping a diary is great practice! Writing is a skill, something that develops and sharpens the more you do it. It can be deeply interesting to compare your writing now to where you were a week, month or year ago and reflect on the progress you’ve made.

And It’s fun to tell stories

I’ve written before about my nostalgia for a time where I’d have long conversations with friends about gaming. We’d swap stories of things that had happened to us in games, we’d give our opinions and we’d highlight new experiences that others might like.

Nowadays, that is harder to do. I have far less time to spend with friends, many of my friends nowadays aren’t avid gamers (I know, hard to believe) and we talk about other things. Starting a blog or contributing to discussion on Reddit can help scratch this itch, but if you don’t want to go to those lengths then just try telling stories to yourself.

People connect with stories, they are what we remember (rather than discrete chunks of gameplay). We can elevate our experiences in our heads and on the page, and remember them more fondly as a result.

What should you write?…

That is completely up to you – there are no rules, restrictions or constraints. It all depends on personal style and might vary from entry to entry. Some entries may be very short (a line or two can still have value) or be longer and more detailed. Start writing and find your way.

If you need help, we’ve built a free gaming journal template you can use. It’s very simple (that’s the point!), so give it a go.

Start today!

If this has inspired you to keep a gaming journal, then please share our work with others. Additionally, why not tell us all about it on Twitter? Alternatively, find some other ways to rediscover your love of gaming.

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