Many game developers and publishers have announced their best concurrent player records ever this year, and it’s quite understandable why this is. In the midst of lockdown, entertainment options are limited, and there’s perhaps nothing quite as engaging, stimulating, or easy-to-access than a games console or gaming PC, provided you have your setup established.
That said, nothing lasts forever, and sometimes you can find yourself feeling a bit burned out from playing video games online with others. Win enough and lose enough, you’ll realize that you’re going through the motions quite repeatedly, and nothing can be as tiring as that. So, why not inject a little novelty into your gaming habits? Why not go out of your way to stretch your comfort zone? Often, this can help you, your friends, or even your family look at gaming in a new light.
Of course, don’t forget to take breaks from time to time. Spending too much time in front of a screen itself can leave you feeling lethargic, and even in the midst of lockdown, better alternatives are available. So – let’s consider how you might game without feeling locked to online matches:
Getting outside is a good use of your time in the first place. As children, we could often see it as a punishment because it meant time away from our favorite cartoons or video games – but this is where the real fun lies. You don’t have to give up feeling immediately entertained either, as there are many activities with a primacy and rawness that means you can whittle away afternoons having a great deal of fun.
For instance, checking out the DJI Mini 2 drone and how well it flies could give you the means to try maintain and enjoy one of these highly specialized tools. Who knows? Perhaps you could use it for camera work and short film projects, or simply to relax in a green space on a Sunday afternoon. Within reason, flying around your drone next to a friend can also be a great use of your time. What matters is enjoying this space, getting outside, taking your time, and trying something new and different.
Single Player Gaming
Gamers often fall into one of two categories. Either they really enjoy multiplayer games and consider that to be their wheelhouse, or they love the quiet (and sometimes intense) personal effort involved in single-player gaming. Of course, many people love both, but everyone has a default they would prefer if they had to make a decision.
Single-player games, if you haven’t played some for a while, are absolutely incredible in the modern-day. From titles like Spiderman: Miles Morales to slightly older yet still amazing games to play on the modern consoles like God of War, writing, performances, artistic merit, music, all of this can be absolutely astounding, and some of the best of any medium you will find. We’d also recommend checking out some niche titles.
Paradise Killer, for example, is one of the best detective games released recently, with an open-ended investigation that permits a bountiful range of opportunities to conduct your own detective work. It might be that you play Hades, an amazing rouge-like absolutely marinating in style and moment to moment action. If you’ve discounted single-player games thus far, be sure not to continue doing so.
It’s very easy to stick to one genre of game. Some people love board games, some people love first-person video game shooters, some simply enjoy spending time playing chess. But we’d recommend that in order to feel that first, burning passion for the medium you once held, challenging your deeply held tastes can only be healthy.
Puzzles can often fit quite well into this. People either love them or hate them, but everyone will feel great about solving one. It might be that giving yourself a little mental work over this period can help you feel rejuvenating and not a small amount of stimulation. Of course, on the video game side of things, there are boundless opportunities. For instance, you might wish to play games like The Witness, developed by Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid. This game asks you to complete line puzzles of various complexity as you move through the experience, and it’s truly something to experience.
Return Of The Obra Dinn is a quaint puzzle-detective game set on an old, creaky ship. It has a distinct visual style, and is actually quite tough to figure out. Chipping away at this case can take time, but it’s sure to be enjoyable. Puzzle games also come in the form of mutual party games. For instance, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is a two-player bomb defusal game that you can have an absolute blast playing (particularly if you have had a glass of wine beforehand). Puzzles help us challenge ourselves, how we think and why we think that way. For that reason, they can certainly shake off your gaming ennui.
Create Your Own Games
Bear with us here. We’re not asking you to head to college for four years to learn a programming language and game design principles. However, you can have a lot of fun creating your own games as a toolset for other players in games you already love. Mario Maker levels, for instance, can be uploaded to the community and rated by those who take the time to play it. People have made careers in level design this way, which is quite amazing to think about.
You might also decide to make Minecraft custom maps, or make cities in Cities: Skylines. What matters is taking the time to apply your creative expression, no matter how you wish to do so. That can help you see gaming as less of just a strict on-rails march, but more of a toolbox for you to ply your hand at. If anything, that can be quite entertaining.
Video games aren’t just the point-scoring or combative effort that most unfamiliar people believe they are. You can actually learn quite a lot from them. Consider how the prior two Assassin’s Creed games, Origins and Odyssey, allowed you to play a ‘tour mode’ that gave you a thorough tour of Ancient Egypt and Greece, respectively. Of course, these maps have been condensed, but it’s true that there’s an awful lot of detail and historical representation in these tools. They really are impressive. In fact, some teachers have used them to more adequately showcase the period to their students.
Not all games are perfect from a historical vantage-point, they are games after all, and often feature fictional characters and narratives. Yet even with titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, the rendering of the world in vast detail helps give you a strong sense of time and place. This can, if anything, help you feel like you’re learning something. It might inspire a wish to learn more. It might even help you become a history nut. But, baby steps.
Write About Your Experiences
Why not get your voice out there? Joining an online forum that discusses the games, consoles, platforms, genres, or industry figures you like and appreciate can help you learn more, and express yourself.
There are many communities all over the internet. From those who create and share custom maps with each other to those who spend time discussing the best strategies to give you an edge in multiplayer (if you return), hanging out with people you meet online has become one of the best ways to socialize, even in the midst of 2020’s lockdowns.
Of course, sometimes you care about this industry so much that you wish to make your voice heard through and through. How can you, you might ask? Talking on developer forums, taking the time to ask questions, learning about the history of your passion, all of this can make a massive difference going forward.
When we think of video game creators, it’s not hard to think of vastly popular YouTubers making ‘rage compilations’ or playing scary horror games and jumping out of their seats, perhaps in an exaggerated manner. But there are many amazing creators out there that are thoroughly deserving of your time.
Following creators, then, can be a great idea depending on what you’re looking for. Some creators make multi-hour YouTube videos describing the story beats and analysis of your favorite games. Others might assess the historical accuracy in a video game, others might review board games, some may delve into the political representation and implications of certain video game industry trends. Video games are far from simply loading up a title in a console and playing it for a few minutes, they are vast cultural statements that often have quite a lot to say. You don’t have to interpret all of that work yourself – sometimes it’s better to allow someone who has really done the work to entertain you and keep you encouraged.
To Conclude, we hope the following advice is useful to you. While gaming is certainly not all there is in life, if you feel bored, these little tips or efforts can help you feel a rejuvenated sense of passion and keenness for the art form.