Friday, March 7, 2008

We're all sick down here

So I'm sick this week, which is pretty rare for me. I mean I oversleep, undersleep, get drunk, get into accidents like everyone else - I'm not unbreakable by any means - but colds, fevers, etc. rarely bother me.

But this week I've had one of those persistent colds, and it's kind of sad. I can't keep any energy going, I'm sniffling and coughing and craving soup (salt and hot water), and no matter how much sleep I get, it's never enough.
(By the way, I'm not the only one coughing and sniffling my way into work - on the train into work this week I've noticed a low rumble of sickly sounds coming from almost everywhere in the car.)

Don't worry, this post is more than a whine into my pillow. I think I can connect this to the perennial "hardcore versus casual" debate. This week I have no energy. Most weeks when I get home I have at least a little energy. This week the only games I wanted to play were casual games, like Forumwarz, or else just read a book or a Let's Play thread.
ps. I need to write a long post on the significance of Let's Play threads for our generation at some future time.
I even purchased a game I'd been looking forward to for some time, Dawn of War: Soulstorm, and all I could do last night was play through a tutorial, because I wanted a chance to look at some of the new units under no competitive pressure.

The key concept there is competitive pressure - because I was feeling down this week, I wasn't interested in doing anything difficult, that required a lot of mental focus or physical dexterity, because I was afraid of failure. What if anything makes me more afraid of failure on weeks when I'm depressed or sick? Well, on these weeks I'm looking for soft fun and avoiding hard fun, just as I'm looking for comfort foods. Disappointed and frustrated outside of gaming, I seek easy victories in a game - or just read a book - because I don't want to feel any more down. Maybe I'll feel better next week...

In any case, Ryan Schwayder's article on Adapting Games for the Aging Gamer expresses how this experience impacts my feelings on game design:

So, for people like me who are getting older and are acquiring new preferences and responsibilities, we need to look for other games for satisfaction; we don’t need to gripe about the games we’re playing and hope that they change for us.

The best way to combat a temporary feeling of malaise is to play games outside your usual scope. Play board games even, card games, do anything but what you usually do - because if you try to compete at your usual level when you're sick, you'll invariably fail and depress yourself still further.

Does this mean someday I'll get so old I'll have to give up first-person-shooters, or will I be forced to find older and older groups of gamers to shoot?

No comments:

Post a Comment