It’s ok to take a break from gaming, to have a little down time. It seems an odd thing to have to say, to suggest we need to consciously take a break from our hobby but sometimes it’s really needed. An extended break is not something we often talk about.
I’ve seen plenty of people over the years exclaim that they’re struggling to find something to play or that a game no longer holds them. I’ve been there, when you get the gaming funk. What we seem to do is try and solve that funk with another game. I followed up God of War last year with a smaller experience called Cycle 28. They are completely different games and that change helped. A week with Cycle 28 allowed me to jump to the next big experience, the funk was over. Moving onto a new game when in the funk worked that time. What I, and some of those questioning why they’re not clicking with games haven’t considered is taking a break.
The summer is here and, for me, it’s full of weddings, family weekends away and days out with friends. My normal routine is thrown out the window over the summer (my wife’s a teacher) and I find I’ve a lot less time and opportunity to play video games. I’ve come to the realisation that I’m fine with this. The break from gaming is a choice, in this instance one made easier by circumstance. Not everyone will have the same summer as me and gaming for them may be both an expressive outlet and a link to their communities. This suggestion of a longer break from gaming isn’t about cutting those ties. There’s no reason to leave or mute a Facebook group or discord server, no need to stop having conversations about games you enjoy or discuss news. It’s more the physical act of playing, giving your mind a break from the experience.
I’ve never really taken an extended time away from games before. I’d have the odd week here or there where my gaming time was limited; the week I got married and the week my daughter was born are two such times. Yet, I’d always find a little time to game. This may have been a quick round on whatever fps I was playing or a dip into a game on my phone. Those times weren’t breaks. Currently my PS plus subscription has lapsed giving me a break from The Division 2, the only persistent world game I’m currently playing. I’ve reached world tier 3 and apart from the final Black Tusk hideout and the end game raids I’m all done. I’m also happy with where I’ve left Sunless Skies, the only single player narrative experience I’m playing through at the moment. It’s a wonderful adventure game where I can forge my own path, to an extent, and a game that balances story with survival very well (check out Tanked Up 170 for more thoughts on it). Apart from these nothing has caught my eye even though there are a ton of releases this time of year and thousands of games I missed on release; plus my backlog.
Knowing I’m happy with where I’ve left the games that I’m currently playing helps me. I feel that there’s no expectation on keeping up with the newest game releases. I don’t feel I need to fill the gap, or that I’m missing out on anything, and I’m happier for it; for this week at least.