Letters from a Gamer: The Real Darkzone

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled program for an emergency message for your health!

It’s days like these that I dread. The days where life is a little bit worse. Days when I just can’t seem to enjoy games. I’ve hit a draught, and nothing is fun anymore for some reason. I can't seem to make myself continue any of the gaming goals I was just working on a week ago. I’m not in the mood to get reamed by tryhards, and not even amazing games that I swear by interest me…

We’ve all gone through this at least once or twice in our lives as gamers, and anybody who has will agree with me that it is (in my favorite phrase) “Just the friggin worst”. As gamers we inherently have some issues when it comes to our favorite hobby; between bad games, bad people, and bad businesses sometimes the field is quite volatile, however not being able to enjoy on of my favorite pass-times is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (ToastMB). It really is sacred if you think about it, my daily habit of screaming “Xbox on” from my front door, knowing that when I get to my nerd cave I can sit in my favorite chair and begin enjoying myself no matter what. The awesome weekends when all my gaming bros are on and we kickass like the A-Team in Battlefield 4. The weeks when I’m able to work on all my gaming goals and achievement huntin. My point… The Real Darkzone is that place in which, as a gamer, you just can’t find the motivation to play games; or you’re just not able to enjoy them.

How do you know if you are in the Real Darkzone? All of us have our favorite genres, and most of us engage in competitive multiplayer games as well.  We can sometimes isolate ourselves within one type of experience or even one specific game for a while. The result of this is making these experiences stale even though we want to play them. This happens to me often especially within the competitive FPS realm, even though I’m good at most of my favorite FPS’s, mainly due to negative communication or negative experiences with other players.  Perhaps that's not your nitch though, maybe you like beautiful stories and experiences in single-player games, I’m right there with you because I love single-player games too. The inherent problem with single-player is that the eventually end, no matter what, no matter how good they are, how many quest you do, or how big the maps are, they always end (or at least really good RPG’s). The Darkzone is a very scary place for gamers, not having that special drive can take all the fun from even the best games we own. Luckily there is cure to this debilitating condition, several actually.

Like I said, the darkzone really sucks, but there are some ways to escape it:

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If you are predominantly a FPS player there's a good chance you've got a favorite shooter, and you probably play the hell out of it! So mix it up a little!

I'm not saying to switch from COD to The Witcher, just give yourself a break from the same gameplay experiences. Today the market is flooded with shooters so chances are that you can find something else (probably something that you even own) that will freshen up your brain. Look at other takes on the FPS experience, whether that be a more in-depth like Battlefield, fast paced like Titanfall, or new and different like Overwatch. I know those are all rather big names and you might have already played them but there are many more fun shoot-em-up experiences out there for you.

Perhaps a genre change could do you some good though, again I'm not saying to pull a 180 in the gaming spectrum. Instead find a different subclass of shooter to mess around with. I like using Overwatch as an example for this! Is it different? Yes. Is it still a FPS? Sure! Maybe a couple hours in a colorful environment with set characters will give you the breakthrough you need. Maybe even playing a PVE experience instead could help. Shutting is fun so try your hand at games that will give you the same experience of blasting your enemies but maybe a story-mode or PVE game will.

Finally this is my favorite solution because it works so often when I myself am in the Darkzone of games. Just play with some bros! For me some BF4 and my 4 best bros all in the same room works every time. There is something about playing with your best friends and either goofing around or tryharding the crap out of a good shooter that makes everything right again. Often this is also when I learn something more about how to play shooters better, work on class combos for ultimate ass-kicking potential, and yes... laugh so hard that I have to use my rescue inhaler (shout out to SpeedingSloth77… stupid Peepoo!!!).

Let's say though that you're a hardcore RPG fan, and you've lost that loving feeling for your favorite story/adventure. This is a little harder to fix due to that fact that we often just want more of the same universe. However good sequels for great RPG’s often take a while. So what can you do?

Maybe it's not the particular story but rather the formula that you desire more of. Try taking a look at your favorite developer’s game catalogue, you could find another gem that gives you the same sense of wonder.

Perhaps you're running into the opposite problem? If you find yourself bored with the same fetch quest filled open worlds than consider a couple options:

Ask for a recommendation. Sometimes people have already played the exact game you need and all you need to do is ask. Never be afraid to try something out! Ask a friend for a game for a week just to try it out. Don't get stuck in a rut because a game may be out of your comfort zone, or you'll have to drop some more money, just do it!

It's time for a change of pace. If you like open world RPG’s but the story that you want to take part in is lost in poor design, than throw out the open world. There are tons of RPG’s without open world and great stories. Sometimes an indie game that cost 10 dollars can have a story more rich and rewarding that a AAA game that cost 60 bucks!

Hopefully you now have the solution to rut you find your gaming live slowly sinking into. Remember that most other gamers probably have gone through the same thing, you probably only need to mix up your gaming or just have an epic night with friends. On a personal note, I have found that gaming, while a huge part of my life, has to take second or third place in my life. Games are great don't get me wrong but what makes games so special is that they are our reward for getting through a bad day, or how we keep connected with great people. I have noticed that when put gaming before really important stuff like my relationship with God and homework that's already overdue, that it loses its spice and no longer recharges me. I'd love to hear from you about when you've been in a funk and how you escaped the Darkzone.

Until next time…

 

Blake Jenkins

What's up nerds!!! This community is awesome! I've loved writing since I started college and I've loved video games since I was born! (almost true I started on my dad's NES when I was 4) So I decided why not do both, so I started a Youtube channel. Check it out here and give me a thumbs up! It's only a little sad I promise.

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Blake Jenkins

What's up nerds!!! I'm Blake Jenkins, and this community is awesome! I've loved writing since I started college and I've loved video games since I was born! (almost true I started on my dad's NES when I was 4) So I decided why not do both, so I started a Youtube channel. Check it out and give me a thumbs up! It's only a little sad I promise ;)!