My current job means I spend a lot of time reading about video games, playing them and writing about them at work, but it also means that I often lack the time and the energy to go and play video games in my own home during my own free time.
I often need to create the conditions to play, setting up something similar to a date night with my favorite games, creating an environment that allows my tired gaming brain to become excited yet again and engage with some of my favorite experiences.
I love World War II, having read my first complete history of those years that shocked the world at about 12, but I can only play Hearts of Iron III
, the grand strategy game from Paradox Interactive that best simulates the entire conflict, if I read something related to the period, or at least to military history.
I tend to create strategies linked to how I would play the game all the time, while walking or when taking a shower, but I only get the motivation to actually play the game when an external stimulus points me towards it.
It’s a similar story with the Football Manager
series, which I have been playing since 1998 for long sessions.
I only get the urge to play it if I can find a good football game on the TV and feel that I could do a better job of managing a particular situation than the real world manages.
I suspect that a similar problem affects other gamers, those for whom their playtime has taken on some qualities of work, like those who chase just another level in Call of Duty
, or those who are interested in the next loot drop in World of Warcraft.
I’m not saying that these players no longer enjoy their own pastime, but I do hope that they have a sort of alternative favorite title that they only turn to when the conditions are right and they feel a deeper feeling stirring.