Veering Wildly Out Of The Slump

http://bobsburgeroftheday.tumblr.com/ New Bacon-ings

Alright, crew. I've seen lots of talk lately about how you're all in "slumps" — talk about how E3 and the new generation of consoles aren't really grabbing you. I imagine a few folks stayed out of the Steam Summer Sale thread, because of slumps, or fear of too large a pile, or some sick desire to avoid gifts of games both great and grotesque.

Well I'm here to tell you to stow that gab. Sure, you might be in a rut. You might not like the games you've grown accustomed to enjoying. Perhaps you have found that something besides gaming has your attention these days — but I'm going to make a quick guess: You aren't posting about a lull in your gaming because you're feeling pulled toward some other, non-gaming activity. No, if you were otherwise occupied, it probably isn't because of your newfound love of posting on gaming websites about how you're not really feeling that interested in gaming these days.

So here, let me help you.

Before I dig too far here, I don't want to insist that you must play games. If you really have been enjoying something else, or had used games as a relief valve and no longer feel the need to lean on that particular crutch, then more power to you; go in peace. If you had come to define yourself as a gamer, or even as a gamer of a certain genre of games, but now find your self-definition isn't matching up with your actual lifestyle, then maybe it's just time to adjust the way you see yourself. That can be alarming, but it's totally OK. Humans change over time. We're even sort of good at changing, growing and adapting — it's the sort of thing we get bonuses in for role playing games and space strategy titles.

But a lot of goodjers write articles, posts and emails asking for help. They want to be playing games but can't seem to find a game that revs their engine anymore.

If you're tired of the same old song, the answer isn't always to stop playing entirely. It's time to change your tune.

Chris Cesarano wrote last week that he'd rediscovered joy in gaming when he picked up the latest Mario Kart. Chris takes games seriously, and is used to devoting a lot of time to long games, caring deeply about the mechanics, the characters and the presentation and feedback of games. I really like that about Chris. I like a lot of the same things — sometimes.

Chris "El Serio" Cesarano found himself back into that tight focus of competition, situated in a game of talking toadstools and cartoon plumbers with evil glares. He really dug it. Let's face it, there's something different about that style of play.

And that's honestly why I'm not afraid to have a pile dozens of titles long, or to walk into a Steam sale with a wish list of over 100 games. Because I know that the dinner I enjoy tonight isn't the same thing I'm going to want to eat every night, let alone for breakfast tomorrow.

So maybe it's time to look at other parts of the menu.

Now you may think that you've seen some pretty big menus in your time. There's a particular place over in Chinatown here with menus thick enough that I'm convinced they could provide the basis for a solid PhD dissertation. Next to the Steam catalog, though, that ain't nothing.

Let me highlight something Rabbit wrote last week:

rabbit wrote:

The back catalog/indie/Steam world just provides ACRES of fantastic content for fractions of the price of the content on consoles.

I guarantee you that there are hundreds of titles available that you've never even heard of. A lot of them won't cost you more than a couple bucks and fifteen minutes to try out. Seriously, where else this side of Spotify can you try that many things that easily?

I actually spent a significant part of my Steam sale budget on buying titles I hadn't heard of, just so I can throw them at writers and other goodjers who complain to me about games not interesting them.

Of course, not everyone has a budget for Steam sales. That's what the wish list is for. You don't need all those games right now; you can wait until fall, or maybe even next summer. Go ahead, throw that oddball game on your list. It won't hurt anyone just sitting there. If you decide later on that there's no way you'd ever be interested in trying that game for $0.99, then go ahead and delete it. But really, there's not too much reason to be terribly picky about what you might be kinda sorta interested in trying out at some future date.

And as an added bonus, if anyone on my friends list actually has any of these weird games on their wishlist, then I'll send them on over.

So go ahead. Try the special. Close your eyes, open the menu, and point. At the very worst, you'll appreciate your regular order a lot more afterwards.

Comments

While I'm at it, thanks to these noble goodjers for buying me weird, seemingly random stuff off my wish list. I promise I'll fire them up on some strange day—the sort of day when I'll turn to my wife and say "Hey, this tea smells like a cheap scratch-and-sniff sticker. I think I'll have more."

Toddland for Year Walk
theharpomarxist for Kairo,
groan and doubtingthomas for (for Don't Starve).
Dr_Awkward for Risk Of Rain
Rahmen for The Swapper
Quintin Stone, that monster, for Tropico 4
Chris Cesarano for Metro: Last Light (complete)
SillyRabbit for Surgeon Simulator 2013
JonMan for Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers
Jollybill for Space Hulk
Markly for Noir Syndrome
Archangel for Galaxy on Fire 2 (Full HD)
krev for Strike Vector

Even outside the world of Steam's slash and burn sale prices, there are all kinds of gaming experiences to be had for less than the cost of Chinese takeout. Browsing my Wii U eShop wish list, I could spend a few dollars for all kinds of indie games, retro classics, and discount titles. It's amazing just what all is available these days on any platform for a little bit of money.

Between the plethora of sales and being an actual credentialed Gamer With Jobs these days (as opposed to being a kid without one), I'm definitely in a place where time has become a lot more scarce than money (at least as far as having money to buy games goes).

I'm not having those problems. My pile is extremely high, ~240 games, but I'm still playing them and enjoying them. I'm working through Xenoblade Chronicles now, while following and commenting along with a Lets Play series for the same, along with a few other miscellaneous games.

Games now are better than they've ever been. There is a lack of of one genre that I really enjoy having many new releases (JRPGs), but that's offset by all of these other games in other genres that didn't exist to the same extent way back when that genre was my primary, and even with the slow going of new releases I still have more JRPGs than I can possibly play.

My only problem really is finding time to play. Maybe I should comment on internet posts less often.

kazriko wrote:

My only problem really is finding time to play. Maybe I should comment on internet posts less often. ;)

Same here!

So go ahead. Try the special. Close your eyes, open the menu, and point. At the very worst, you'll appreciate your regular order a lot more afterwards.

Don't know about video games, but this definitely applies to real life restaurants.
I'm so sorry Korea, I hate your food so very much.

I agree with everything above, if your a console gamer like me, check out bargain bins at gamestop and simular retailers, there are some really great gems in there that may light your fire, I always end up in a bit of a slump after I finish a lenghty game and I may try playing 5-10 different games till something grabs me. This past week I found Ridge Racer 7 and Eat Lead: Return of Matt Hazard, both completely different type of games from what I normally play, but each game cost me less then 5 bucks for a complete copy and you know what, even if they are over 5 years old, and they're still a whole lot of fun.

The closing tag on the link to Chris's piece is missing the 'rl' in URL.

Good read. It's so easy to get tired of the same old same old when you're gaming, but there are so many amazing little palate cleansers and new experiences out there that it's easy to think that what is probably genre fatigue is dissatisfaction with the hobby in general.

Me I'm easily bored, I've gotten better about finishing games, but I've always treated gaming more like a buffet where I like to try as big a variety of items as possible, rather than loading my plate with a pile of meat.

Maybe it goes back to how I used to game. We had an intellivision at home, but it wasn't often connected, we used to go to the arcade when we went to movies and I would wander around and play the cheapest games that were always available, rather than queue for Time Crisis. It's made me prefer a variety of quirky experiences over one large one. Even when I got my own PC I would buy 3 old cheap games over one expensive one. Today I buy several humble bundles a year and a few things on Steam or GOG sale and only one or two new releases a year.

I was expecting something about Bob's Burgers. BAIT AND SWITCH!

Consider yourself preemptively enabled for Winter Sale.

Not really having an issue of not enjoying games either. Just a standard issue of not enough time and too many games - despite playing a ton still.
More an issue of too many choices having a bad effect, as silly as that is.

iaintgotnopants wrote:

I was expecting something about Bob's Burgers. BAIT AND SWITCH!

I realized last night after posting that one of the things I love about Bob's Burgers is that there isn't a character where I roll my eyes when I figure out that it's one of "their" episodes. Every time I think I've settled on a favorite kid, another one says something hilarious.

Shadout wrote:

Consider yourself preemptively enabled for Winter Sale.

I could have posted this last week, but that seemed almost mean.

This past summer steam sale has reignited my passion for actually playing games, I have to say. I've received a ton of gifts from my wishlist and from the Nother world that has games I'd never heard of (Marlo Briggs) or that I never would have otherwise tried (Euro Truck Simulator 2).

I'm outside my comfort zone, and I'm loving it!

wordsmythe wrote:

Because I know that the dinner I enjoy tonight isn't the same thing I'm going to want to eat every night, let alone for breakfast tomorrow.

But...but...pizza!

I think part of the key most certainly is not only variety, but a willingness to experiment. I used to lock myself out of any open world game because of a couple that just didn't interest me. I thought Assassin's Creed was a phenomenon, but after inFamous: Second Son I started to reconsider my feelings on the matter. Now I'm looking forward to tackling Sleeping Dogs after it was gifted to me on Steam and I thoroughly enjoyed Saint's Row 3, neither of which I would have bothered with due to my previous feelings on open world games.

Similarly, while I didn't dislike Far Cry 3, I felt like it was more of a chore than anything due to the gameplay and the story. It actually had me cautious about Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, a game I was originally excited for. Yet I started playing it after McIrishJihad gifted it to me, and now I'm greatly enjoying it. Moreover, all the stuff that felt tiresome in Far Cry 3, all the side quest bits, are what I'm focusing on right now. I'm ignoring the story so I can get all the optional items. It's not really different, as I'm basically playing a reskinned version of Far Cry 3, but the aesthetic and minor differences in the design (new abilities unlocking faster, a smaller world that condenses everything, larger, more interesting fortifications to tackle) make it a game I'm absolutely loving right now.

It's very important not to let previous experiences with certain games cloud your perception of an entire genre, or even an entire franchise.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Me I'm easily bored, I've gotten better about finishing games, but I've always treated gaming more like a buffet where I like to try as big a variety of items as possible, rather than loading my plate with a pile of meat.

Meanwhile I just load my plate with a variety of meats.

...I don't mean that as a metaphor, I mean that as how I literally treat buffets...

...speaking of the weight-loss thread...

Let me highlight something Rabbit wrote last week:

Wait, he wrote something?!? When did this happen?

wordsmythe wrote:

There's a particular place over in Chinatown here with menus thick enough that I'm convinced they could provide the basis for a solid PhD dissertation.

Which place? I've always been impressed by the size of the Joy Yee menu. The pictures are the best.

garion333 wrote:
Let me highlight something Rabbit wrote last week:

Wait, he wrote something?!? When did this happen?

In the comments to the conference call.

Sarcophagus wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

There's a particular place over in Chinatown here with menus thick enough that I'm convinced they could provide the basis for a solid PhD dissertation.

Which place? I've always been impressed by the size of the Joy Yee menu. The pictures are the best.

I think it was "just" a tea shop on Archer.

ccesarano wrote:

Now I'm looking forward to tackling Sleeping Dogs after it was gifted to me on Steam

One thing I really dug about Sleeping Dogs was that the world wasn't too big and while it has sidequests, it didn't feel bloated with busywork.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Me I'm easily bored, I've gotten better about finishing games, but I've always treated gaming more like a buffet where I like to try as big a variety of items as possible, rather than loading my plate with a pile of meat.

ccesarano wrote:

Meanwhile I just load my plate with a variety of meats.

I thought everyone knew the best strategy for buffets was to start with desserts?

Felix Threepaper wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

Now I'm looking forward to tackling Sleeping Dogs after it was gifted to me on Steam

One thing I really dug about Sleeping Dogs was that the world wasn't too big and while it has sidequests, it didn't feel bloated with busywork.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Me I'm easily bored, I've gotten better about finishing games, but I've always treated gaming more like a buffet where I like to try as big a variety of items as possible, rather than loading my plate with a pile of meat.

ccesarano wrote:

Meanwhile I just load my plate with a variety of meats.

I thought everyone knew the best strategy for buffets was to start with desserts?

The first rule of buffets is also the first rule of aggressive driving: Don't look at what you don't want to hit.