25+ ways to stop finding games boring

Rediscover your love for gaming.

It is not uncommon to find yourself losing interest in a hobby, and this can happen with gaming too. After many decades of play, gamers can start to find games boring and eventually feel like it’s not worth playing them at all.
 
There’s lots of reasons why this can occur, and some gamers might be able to pinpoint the specific causes of their problems and address these head on. For others, it can be harder to understand why they now find games boring, and what to do about it. To help, here are a wide range of things you could try when you are bored of gaming.

Ways to stop finding games boring

Two guys not being bored of games

#1 – Revisit old games you know you love

 
There’s something to be said for nostalgia –  the warm and comforting feeling that transports us back to a happier moment in our lives.
 
Game developers play on this all the time, with reboots and remakes extremely common in modern gaming. However, it is rare that one of these new games captures the same magic, or sparks the same joy as the original. Of course they benefit from updated graphics and controls, but often seem to lack the same charm.
 
But it’s not always easy to bring yourself to replay the exact same game that you loved from so many years ago. With new games being released all the time, and game backlogs that leave you with tens or hundreds of things to play, it can feel like a waste of time to go backwards rather than forwards.
 

Shake off this discomfort and relive that old favourite. Play some games you previously didn’t find boring. Remind yourself why you love playing games in the first place. But be sure to give the old game some slack – game design is evolving all the time, and what was cutting edge then won’t be cutting edge now.

#2 – Clear your games backlog

 
The games backlog has become a widely recognised phenomenon at this point. It’s a problem that every gamer seems to suffer from, particularly those on PC where Steam sales (and the sweet, sweet discounts they offer) seem to occur more frequently than ever.
 
Whilst, on face value, having lots of games to be able to pick from is a nice problem to have, a large gaming backlog causes other problems. The main one is it puts too much pressure on the game you have chosen to play this time around. That game had better be good as it was chosen over tens, hundreds of other games. It not only has to be enjoyable in the moment, but among one of the best games you’ve ever played to justify it being picked in such a competitive field. It’s an unrealistic standard to meet and it stops you enjoying that game for its own merits.

Solve this problem by developing a plan to clear the games backlog, and then get to work and do itWith this pressure relieved, you may well find yourself enjoying games again.

#3 – Play something different

 
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 makes games boring. 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. But, 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.
Some top lads having fun with games

#4 – Increase the challenge

 
I don’t know if games are getting easier or whether I’m getting better at them. (Scratch that, it must be the former as any time I spend playing competitive multiplayer makes me feel incredibly inadequate, and longing for the gaming skills I enjoyed as a teenager.)
 
To some degree, this makes sense. Modern games take an absurdly large amount of money to make, and so it’s understandable that developers want players to see as much of the game as possible. But getting the difficulty level wrong can dramatically alter the player experience. When a game is too easy it can mean that players breeze through it without needing to engage with the full spectrum of mechanics, compromising the intended experience. Or more simply it means that less time is spent in the game world, considering the challenges posed or even just appreciating the environment or ambience.
 
Playing on a higher difficulty is a brave thing to do – humans naturally avoid doing hard things. But nowadays this is rarely a decision you are forever stuck with, and if raising the difficulty level results in a better game experience then it’s worth taking the leap.

#5 – Confront your gaming addictions or habits

 
Addiction is defined as not having control over doing something to the point where it could be harmful to you. This could be drugs, alcohol or food, but gaming addiction is becoming more common than ever too. Whilst gaming won’t ever get to this stage for most people, many gamers could benefit from being more mindful of how games are making them feel and behave.
 
Case in point; I spent over two years playing Warzone – at first daily, and later on several times a week. Toward the end of my time with it I realised I was no longer getting any enjoyment from it – I was finding all my Warzone games boring. This, in turn was making me feel frustrated and like I was wasting the precious little relaxation time I had. This sounds like borderline addiction to me.
 
I kept a gaming diary to help diagnose myself, where I recorded how each session felt to play. After a couple of weeks I could look back at the evidence; more times than not I was not enjoying myself. At that point it was an easy decision to stop (although not always easy to stay completely away from the game).

#6 – Play with someone new

 
Maybe it’s not that you are finding games boring, but you are finding the people you are playing with boring.
 
That might sound harsh but it is possible. If you’re playing with the same people regularly, you get to know their style and playing preferences well – nothing comes as a surprise anymore. You may find yourself repeating the same approaches to a given game, picking the same team over and over in FIFA or dropping in the same locations in a battle royale. If they are gamers with a similar amount of play time, or playing history as you, you may find that they too are feeling jaded and this can rub off on you, making you feel worse as a result.
 
Mix it up! Find someone new to play with. This could be within that multiplayer game you are so regularly playing, or even outside of it. Finding new people to play with may force you to try games that you wouldn’t have normally picked for yourself. If you choose to play with someone who plays less regularly than you (your partner, your child) then that can be a further breath of fresh air as you witness their amazement about the experiences gaming can create for the first time.
Twitch TV can help if you find games boring

#7 – Watch someone passionate about gaming

 
Platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming are absolutely huge nowadays, attracting tens of millions of viewers across the course of the year. Viewers tune in to watch others play games for a variety of reasons. It could be to relax and engage with gaming without the stress of having to play themselves. It could be to learn about a game or develop their own skills by watching players who are significantly better than them. It could even be as a way to explore new games, or see what a game is about before deciding whether to buy it or not.
 
Regardless of the reason, there’s no denying that many of the top streamers have an infectious personality that instantly connects with their audience. They don’t tend to find games boring, they love gaming (obviously not all of them, all of the time). As a viewer, this feels great – there is something energising about watching people in their element. You learn new things, you get to see parts of a game you may never have appreciated – ultimately you get to live the experience through someone who is deeply passionate about a particular game or gaming in general.
 
If you’ve not tried these platforms already, give them a go. Google the top streamers for your favourite games and give some of their old content a watch to get a flavour for who they are. If you don’t connect with them, quickly move on – there are literally millions to pick from so you don’t need to get overly attached to any particular one.

#8 – Play a game on release

 
Triple-A (AAA) gaming is not in a good place. Between predatory monetisation strategies and buggy, incomplete launches, the conventional wisdom suggests you should keep your money in your wallet until you know a game is in its perfect shape. At which point, the game is likely to cost a lot less than it would have done on launch, particularly if it’s a PC release. A better experience for cheaper – a win-win.
 
It’s hard to argue with that logic but there’s something exciting about playing a game on launch. Seeing the game preload in the proceeding days and waiting for the countdown to hit zero is a great feeling. There is another great feeling to be had from consuming that product at the same time everyone else is. That’s when people will talk about a game the most, post it on YouTube or Twitch the most, and generally be most excited about it.
 
So look for games to play on launch, but be careful with this strategy, and pick your launch titles sensibly. You may find you enjoy the game more than if you’re picking it up a year down the line and everyone else has moved on.

#9 – Stop checking how long a game takes to complete

 
HowLongToBeat is a fantastic resource which allows you to check how long a game will take to complete. There are many good reasons you might want to do this such as wanting to know whether a game is going to give good value before purchase, or wanting to work out the required time commitment for your next game before diving in. Often I find myself using it when finding a game boring, checking how long left there is until I can move onto the next.
 
But having this information so readily available is both a blessing and a curse. The negative side-effect it has is that it keeps your brain watching the clock rather than fully immersing in the experience. It ruins endings by signposting when they are likely to occur, and it turns playing a game into a task to complete rather than something to enjoy freely without pressure or expectation.
 
So stop doing it. Try not to measure value in hours you’re going to get out of something, and more in terms of the quality of the time. If you’re not enjoying something, don’t feel the need to check how many additional hours you need to sink into a game – just stop playing it. Take your eye off the clock, and you will find yourself connecting with games more deeply and consistently.

#10 – Try playing very short games

 
As a teenager, I played very few short games. 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 invest in far fewer multiplayer games, knowing that I just don’t have the time I’d need to get to the skill level I would like to.
 
Instead, I’ve increasingly prioritised shorter games, with 4-6 hour games being my sweet spot. These are long enough to immerse in an experience, but not so long that the game outstays its welcome.
 
The benefits have been plentiful. These games are cheaper (at least cheaper than bloated AAA single-player experiences such as Assassins Creed). They establish new ideas and move onto the next quicker, keeping the game feel fresh and cutting down on repetition. And they often have to find a way to justify their existence through a new hook, idea or compelling story that may be genuinely innovative in their space.
 
Short games aren’t always better than long ones, but they’re built differently. So if you’re finding you’re bored of gaming, give one a try.

#11 – Try developing games

 
A potential curveball this one, and not something I can recommend to anyone without programming experience or significant time and willing to learn. The idea; if you’re finding games boring then make your own. Play around with the new ideas that are sitting in your brain and develop the game you think will keep your attention.
 
Now I know what you’ll say; developing a fully fleshed out game takes a significant time investment. Blockbuster games take thousands of people many years to complete. One-man indie darlings, such as Stardew Valley, also take years of significant, daily effort to build. This is just not realistic for most people to achieve.
 
The solution; enter a game jam. Often occurring over a 48-hour period, a game jam is an event where many developers, often solo-developers, come together and all create something based on a predefined theme. You have a set period of time to work, after which you release whatever it is you’ve built and start playing other peoples’ games. Judges will often shortlist games and award prizes to the winners.
 
Regardless of how you do, it’s a truly fascinating experience that helps encourage your creative side, and surrounds you in new thinking (participants won’t stand out if they don’t innovate). And I can guarantee, you will go easier on professional developers once you get to the end. It’s hard work, but developing any game is an incredibly rewarding experience.

#12 – Play games most people haven’t heard of

 
The biggest games that are released today don’t release in a vacuum. They get released with a weight of expectation, into an environment where they are judged and compared to similar titles. The online discourse then concludes whether a game is worthy of your time or not, along with professional reviewers and gaming commentators. In this context, it’s near impossible to go into an experience completely clean, and with zero preconceptions about what you’re about to play.
 
Of course, you could try avoiding all news or commentary about a game before you get to play it. But this is incredibly difficult, particularly if you are regularly browsing gaming news sites or social media. Instead; try playing something you’ve genuinely unheard of. Use Steam’s discovery queue or websites that surface random content to find your next game. There’s no guarantee about whether what you find will be any good, but at the very least you will be able to make your own mind up on it without going in with someone else’s opinions lodged in your brain. Having to think for yourself and assess a game’s strengths and weaknesses forces you to pay attention and prevents you from either sleepwalking through a game, or being constantly on the look-out for evidence that supports a view you’ve already bought into.

#13 – Join a gaming community

 
Gaming is often better with other people. Naturally this is true for multiplayer games, where other players are everything. But it’s also true for single-player games as it can be gratifying to swap stories or talk about your thoughts or experience of a game. So if you’re finding games boring, join a community and get swept up in the passion that other people have for a particular title.
 
For multiplayer games, join a clan or a guild – an organisation of people who are all playing the same thing. Often these organisations will have online spaces to hang out in (forums, Discord channels etc) and arrange events or times to play together. They may compete vs others, which can bring further reward (see below).
 
For singleplayer games, turn to a game’s Wiki page or find its subreddit. Voice your opinions, and add to conversations started by other players. Engage with a community who share a similar interest to you and you will be rewarded with rich discussion, new things to think about and try, and a more rounded perspective on a game’s strengths and weaknesses
An eSports competition

#14 – Get competitive 

 
As humans, we are naturally competitive beings who will compete over almost anything in life. There is a lot of joy to be had from competition, in working towards mastery of (or simply just getting better at) a game. Competition creates adrenaline, a powerful feeling that you could begin to crave more and more of.
 
Competing with others is easier than ever now, and big multiplayer games with online competitive play are nothing new. Very few people reading this will be hearing about competitive modes for the first time, although it may have been a while since you last thought about participating in them.
 
However, the idea of competition can be broader than just regular online modes. You could get properly serious about a game and start competing in its ranked mode (if it has one), a great way of showing how your skill at a game progresses (or declines!) over time. You could also choose to compete in other ways, such as being the first to achieve something or the fastest to do something (speed-running). In any case, competition can be an effective way to reignite a passion for a game (or, if you’re like me, sink hundreds of hours into it and end up despising its very being).

#15 – Play games in early access

 
Depending on who you ask, early access is either a blessing or a curse for gaming. On one hand, it’s a great way for smaller teams or solo developers to fund their project. Making games takes a lot of time and money, and early access guarantees both a revenue stream before the game is complete, and a source of free beta testing that can only serve to improve a product. On the other hand, it can be seen as asking customers to pay for an unfinished product, one that may end up sucking or not even being released at all.
 
But participating in early access can be a deeply rewarding experience. You can see a game evolve and grow over time, like you would see in a child or a pet (finding the games boring – do something about it!). You, as a player, can even influence its development through testing and providing feedback. And in the case of competitive games, you can get a head-start over players who only start playing once the full product is launched.
 
Early access is not something that everyone will get something from. You should avoid it if you have limited time to play, or on games you want to experience ‘properly’ once they are finished. But it’s undeniably a different type of experience, and worth a look in if any of this appeals to you.

#16 – Find something to Kickstart

 
Kickstarter can hold claim to coming before now established and popular programmes such as Steam Early Access. Despite falling out of popularity a bit in recent times, its advent had a significant impact on the world of gaming (and on other media).
 
The benefits and risks associated with Kickstarting a project that you like are much the same as those written about above, but the process is quite different. You’re coming at a game much earlier in its development, often before a vertical slice or prototype has been developed. As such, you’re evaluating the project based on both the raw idea behind it, and the passion that the developers have in selling it. The trade-off is that Kickstarting a project, with a view to getting a free copy of a game, is often cheaper and gives you greater access to the development journey through developer blogs and diaries.
 
There have been countless Kickstarter failures but I’m pretty happy with my own track record; FTL and Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Oh and Godus…

#17 – Watch gaming documentaries

 
As players, we often take gaming for granted. We see a finished product, and are quick to judge it (favourably or unfavourably). We can get frustrated quickly with a product, and we can be overly critical of its design decisions or faults. Rarely do we stop to consider the journey that went into making a game; the blood, sweat and the tears of development. We don’t contextualise or understand why those bad decisions have been made (or whether they were decisions that have been freely made at all).
 
Watching a documentary about how your favourite game has been built can be genuinely enlightening. It can provide missing context and tell you interesting stories about its background and origins. Ultimately, a good documentary can open your eyes and help you to see beyond just the end product that you were able to enjoy (or not).
 
Beyond development documentaries, there are many other fascinating stories that are waiting to be heard. Stories about the history behind a studio, about changes in the industry or even about professional gamers. There really is something for everyone.
The Witcher books help make the games more real

#18 – Read gaming books

 
Gaming is a huge industry that spawns other media around it. I’ve covered documentaries, above, but there is an absurd amount of literature relating to gaming.
 
The range of literature on offer is broad. It covers novels and stories based on popular titles, either unlicensed fan fiction or officially affiliated works. It covers art books that explore the look and feel of a game, often throughout its development. And it covers non-fiction titles exploring the history of a game, its development or a specific part of gaming culture.
 
All of this, once again, gives you opportunity to see a different side to your gaming passion, and experience it in a different form, removed from the controller or keyboard. And at the very least, there’s few gamers who can claim to love their respective titles more than fan fiction writers, something that is impossible to not get swept away on when reading their work.

#19 – Write about games

 
Writing about games is harder than it looks (or hard to do well at least). It’s hard because it forces analysis and reflection, something that oftentimes gamers don’t do when playing through, or completing a game. The benefit of doing so is huge and underappreciated. Often this reflection or analysis of a game can be where a lot of its enjoyment is truly realised, or where you begin to appreciate a game for doing something that you had simply glossed over in the moment.
 
Of course, most gamers aren’t writers or games journalists, and so writing about a game can feel like a waste of time (why, after all, would anyone care about your opinion). This misses the point – writing about games doesn’t need to be for anyone else, it can just be for you. Start a gaming diary and record your thoughts. Start writing reviews on a game’s Steam page (something that still requires analysis, but comes with no pressure to develop a new take or opinion). Or, if you’re brave, post your thoughts to a gaming community or subreddit. At the worst, someone will hate what you have to say (but so what). At best, you will start a discussion and hear other points of views. And in all of these cases you will have spent time properly unpacking your experience of a game, getting greater value from it than had you moved straight on to the next.

#20 – Skip the filler that makes games boring

 
There is a significant pressure placed on many modern games to deliver incredible value, as there should be. But too often, this value is not judged on the virtue of a game’s ideas or innovations, but on its length. Quantity over quality.
 
In response, many modern games pad their runtime with low-effort content. Repetitive, uninspired filler that serves to make the game longer, but in doing so dilutes the experience that the gamer is having. For gamers who have multiple demands on their time, this is a significant problem as it’s not always clear which content can be skipped without penalty (do I need that optional experience to be able to overcome main story challenges?) and it can be incredibly hard to leave uncompleted quests in the journal, or leave map markers unchecked.
 
However, most of the time this content genuinely is optional. Game designers know that not everyone will play it, and so the challenge faced in the main quest reflects that. So start skipping the side quests that add no value, the collectables challenges which add little challenge. Stick to the main path, the part of the game the designers have put the most effort into. You’ll soon realise that you’re not really missing out, but benefitting from a tighter and richer gaming experience.
Mario having a great time in game

#21 – Play something that is recommended to you

 
It’s hard work deciding what to play. There is, quite frankly, too much choice – more games than you would ever have time to complete. And games are being released at a faster pace than ever, so the process will only get harder and harder.
 
To make it easier, many players rely on the gaming media or the opinions of those on social networks. But guess what, there’s too much of this too – too much content about too many games! Our brains know this, and help us to filter out the bits that aren’t of immediate interest, or that sound strange and unfamiliar. The result; we only pay attention to a small subset of media and opinion, and prioritise our attention onto games which we can immediately understand (through familiarity with the developer, the genre etc). This keeps our focus narrow, and means we end up buying the same types of games over and over.
 
This can make gaming feel very boring and samey, but luckily there is hope. Let someone else be in charge of your purchase decisions. Browse the Steam store, use the Steam discovery queue, or ask a friend to recommend something you may not have heard of. This will give you something new to play and also take the pressure off you to make a good purchase decision.

#22 – Play to have fun, not to win or complete a game

 
It’s incredible how children play. They can spend hours and hours inventing stories and games to occupy their attention, repeating the parts which make them laugh or bring them joy. That’s how many of us would have started gaming too – it was never about mastering a game, or necessarily beating a game, it was about having fun.
 
At some point in our gaming lives, this pivots. ‘Messing around’ with a game feels like a waste of time as gaming culture tells us we should be beating games. Multiplayer games force you to play to win, to be the best at something. RPGs give you long quest lists to work through and tick off like you would at work. Of course there’s exceptions; games like The Sims or Kerbal Space Programme are very open-ended and let you find the fun wherever you want to. But even these require you to set your own goals or work towards a ‘win state’ (getting into space).
 
Try playing a game just to have fun. Load up the sandbox mode rather than focusing on a game’s campaign. Genuinely role play and go with the flow rather than striving towards an end goal. Ignore all the quests, and just explore the environment. Make up stories. And avoid games that force you to follow an ‘optimal’ path to succeed.

#23 – Play a game you love a second time

 
Just like it can feel a waste of time to revisit very old games that you once loved, it can also feel a waste of time to replay a game you’ve recently beaten. It’s true; running through a game a second time is unlikely to have the same emotional impact as your first time as you’ll be seeing things that you’ve already experienced. But, you know what, who cares? If you’re still having a good time with a game at the point that it ends, you shouldn’t feel bad about wanting to jump back into it.
 
Particularly when there are so many ways to keep a game feeling fresh the second time through. You could increase the difficulty and put your, now well-practiced, skills to the test. You could change your playstyle – for example from chaos to stealth in the Dishonoured games. You could make different narrative decisions and see how they play out differently the second time through. Or, if none of this sounds interesting, you can just play through the same as before. We don’t feel guilty about re-watching a movie or re-reading a book, so we shouldn’t need to feel guilty about replaying games.

#24 – Play multiple games at the same time

 
As I’ve covered earlier, modern games are typically very long. Whilst this is good for players who want to maximise the bang for their gaming buck, for those with limited spare time there can be little room for anything else and a game can start to feel all-consuming. This, in turn, can start to make a game feel like a bit of a slog, the opposite of how it should feel.
 
One easy solution is to play multiple games at the same time. Play one for a few days and then move onto another, before looping back round. This is enough time to build up some momentum with a game, but not so long that the gameplay starts to get repetitive or you feel yourself going through the motions. To make this work you’ll need to accept that you could be playing a game for weeks or even months, a little bit at a time – but that’s okay. Gaming isn’t a race to the finish, it’s about the journey you go on and the experiences you have along the way!

#25 – Try speed-running

 
Talking about races to the finish, have you tried speed-running? For the uninitiated, the aim of speed-running is to complete a game as quickly as possible. This is achieved through a combination of techniques from exploiting bugs and glitches to just being damn good at playing a particular game. It’s absolutely incredible to watch and I’m always in awe of the people who are constantly striving to shave seconds off a world record that may have stood for years and years.
 
There is the perception that speed-running can only be done by the elite few, but it’s easier than ever to get into. Some fantastic resources exist to help beginners through the experience. To start, pick a game that you think would be good to speed-run, shorter games are often (but by no means always) better for this. Watch others speed-run it, look up help guides for it and get stuck in. Set your baseline time, then work through optimisations to make it quicker and quicker.
 
If you find games boring, this is a sure-fire way to build excitement back into them, and you’ll even learn lots about how your game of choice has been designed.
A girl having fun with VR games

#26 – Try VR gaming

 
I’ve written before about how new hardware isn’t automatically the solution to the problem of finding games boring. Yes it might be a tempting thought to invest in a shiny new thing and hope this reignites a spark, but if what you’re buying doesn’t fundamentally change how you’re playing then you’ll quickly find yourself reverting back to old behaviours and attitudes.
 
Virtual reality is, undeniably, the single biggest gaming innovation in a decade or longer. It introduces an entirely new way of playing and perceiving games, and has brought with it types of games that just couldn’t exist without it. And, most impressively of all, it’s even encouraged Valve to develop again, with the fantastic Half-Life: Alyx releasing in 2021.
 
It can be a hefty investment, and does sometimes come with prerequisites, so do your research before diving in. But it’s unlikely that you won’t be reinvigorated and introduced to new experiences and things to talk about.

#27 – Take a break from gaming

 
If nothing else works, then it may well be time to just have a break from gaming.
 
This could be done in several ways. You could try just reducing the amount of time in a day you play, filling this time with something else. You could skip playing at all on certain days. Or you could impose a gaming ‘fast’, where you go for a set period of time without playing at all.
 
This might help you reevaluate how you want to spend your time, allowing you to enjoy non-gaming experience which might then develop into passions. Or it may just help you to appreciate gaming more; resetting your brain and allowing you to reappraise gaming with a more positive mindset.
This guy isn't finding games boring at all
Have any of these helped you stop finding games boring? Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear from you – either via the contact form or through Twitter.