Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Dysfunctional Gamer

Disclaimer: I am not a professional writer as soon will be evident.

My name is Rob C and I am a gameaholic. Well, it probably isn't that bad (is this denial?), but I definitely have some gaming issues. It is a two part problem. Steam and other online distributor holiday sales do crazy things to me -- Railworks Train Simulator on sale for $3, sign me up! I have never really expressed interest in trains; never had a train set, and never wanted to drive a train. Why did I just buy that? I have a fear that I may let a potentially good game slide buy that is a really good deal. I bought 15 games from Steam alone since Black Friday, not including any DLC. Never mind that if I didn't buy so many deals I may have the money to buy a game I really want, like Unity of Command.

The second part of the problem is that I feel I need to rush through these games to get to the next one. This is counter to my compulsion that I need to finish a game that I start. In the past it was very rare that I stopped playing a game before I finish its campaign. Now my problem is that I start too many games at once, and then lose my bearings by the time I go back to the game. If I thought it was a pretty good game, then I feel inclined to start over. This really hurts my quota for completing games. If it was so-so, it gets added to my 'May Play Again' category (I actually have a spreadsheet!). Bad games get dumped.

I think these problems are actually creating a third problem. I am having trouble finding a game I really enjoy. This just fuels the fire for trying more games and feeling more rushed. I am finding more and more games just bore me. I used to love the Heroes of Might and Magic series of games -- and got really excited when Heroes VI went on sale on Steam! I played through the tutorial campaign and the first mission of a 'real' campaign. I think I have had enough. It doesn't seem like a bad game. Why doesn't it scratch that itch like it did in the past?

Do you have any of these issues?


  1. Saw you post in Ageod forum.

    I confess I bought the Railworks Train Sim 2012 under the exactly same condition as you were....fired it up once, and hmm, not an exciting job driving trains....

    After browsing through you post I really like your taste of games, and as a big boy approaching 30, I share the feeling that sometimes it is just so hard to find a game that scratch the itch, but still feel compulsory to scratch it...I tried very hard to use PoN or Vic to scratch it, but the first one still feels as an unfinished work while the latter won't get myself involved. As a desperate gamble, I got AACW because I saw so many people recommending it as a superb strategy game despite that I have zero knowledge or interests in ACW before. As it turns out in almost 3 months now, I am still playing it everyday, and reading books on ACW. PBEM certainly improves its lasting effect:)

    Just want to share a few words with a fellow gamer here, which otherwise would be difficult for other 'normal' friends to appreciate.

    1. Hey, thanks for sharing your comments. Well, I have to admit that you did a little better then I did with Trainworks. I still haven't installed it!

      I agree with you so far about PoN and Vicky 2. To be fair I haven't put in a lot of time into PoN yet. I focused mainly on colonization and building my industry as Belgium. The sluggishness of the UI at times was slightly annoying even though I have a fairly powerful computer. PoN seemed interesting, but I don't think I would label it 'fun' yet. I'm not sure how I would classify Vicky 2. I believe I like a little more direct control over my empire.

      I too own AACW (along with Birth of America 2), so perhaps I will have to give it a try since we share a taste in games and you give it the thumbs up. Our situations are similar too as I only have a very basic knowledge of the ACW.

      Right now I am playing Tropico 4, as I wanted to play something a bit lighter then the games I had been spending time with. It is initially appealing, but I think it will wear out its welcome before I work my way through the 20 scenario campaign.

      Again, thanks for sharing your comments, I appreciate it! I am sure there are many more gamers like us that share our compulsions :-)

    2. i had tried tropico 3, quite fun, relaxing music, but the enjoyment just won't last long enough.

      In case you started AACW someday, and have some questions, which I am sure the forum veterans have better answers than I do, but I am still more than happy to share my limited experience. And maybe you can give it a try with a relaxed PBEM game.

      One question regarding the mentality of gamers: how would you respond to the question from 'normal' people about what games do you play...when I tried to explain I played wargames or strategy games which is not starcraft or warcraft, then some of them would say, oh, you play red alert then?

      Thus I gave up trying to differentiate myself from WoW players anymore....

    3. So far I have played 9 out of 20 campaign scenarios in Tropico 4 and I think it just about time to stop. Even though the objectives vary, each one plays out very similarly.

      Hmmm, I guess for me I would describe the typical strategy games I play as 'based in reality' and 'emphasizing deeper choices over how fast I can make those choices'. I used to play a lot of RTSs with coworkers over lunch and had a lot of fun, but I grew tired the typical harvest resources, build units, attack forumula. While I'm not a history buff, I like historical wargames to give me a glimpse into what it was like during the conflict and what problems they had to deal with. For example, I like how Unity of Command illustrates the importance of supply.

      I like to play a wide variety of games, from strategy games like Civilization, Unity of Command, etc..., to RPGs and some FPSs. In the end, as long as we're having fun it doesn't matter how we categorize the games we play. I would encourage all players to try a game outside of their typical choices because they may find they do enjoy a wider variety of games then they thought.