Loving all the posts here, to the point where I feel like I’ll want to come back and read this thread next time I need a video games pick me up. Really good suggestions and advice.
What works well for me to not get burnt out on games is maintaining a healthy balance and moderation. Because games require so much of your time and can often keep you away from other people (at least physically), they can make me feel alienated and stagnant if I’m not careful. So I try to keep my regular sessions on the shorter side. I’ll do a bigger/longer dive into my current main squeeze maybe every other weekend, and only if I’m not keeping myself from, say, going to see a concert I’d like or getting a drink with some friends. Once the games overshadow the outside world, things can get really negative.
I’ve also found that something as simple as having a friend over to play a game together, or just going through a particular game at the same time as another good friend, makes the experiences so much more fulfilling. Community and sharing is, in my mind, an irreplaceable part of what games are about. Some of the most fun I’ve had with games lately is playing Horizon Zero Dawn with my girlfriend. We’ve figured out a rhythm of passing the controller around that keeps us both engaged moment to moment, and whoever isn’t playing can go grab snacks, or crack jokes, or remind you to heal in the heat of a battle. Those nights in and of themselves remind me just how good gaming can be.
This idea of returning to an old favorite resonates a lot with me, too. There was a little while earlier this year where I would get into some of the bigger games coming out and be excited about them, only for that feeling to taper away quickly. I’d soon realize that, good as the game may be, it didn’t have that special something that I look for in a work of art I can’t tear myself away from. As I was feeling down about that, I wound up buying a physical copy of Hyper Light Drifter mostly as a collector’s item. After it arrived, I popped it in my PS4 just to reacquaint myself with the world, and I wound up sinking a handful of hours into it that day. I’ve just about finished my second playthrough of it now. Doing that reminded me of the feeling games can give you, where they seem to speak to you, where they feel almost like they were made just for you. Hollow Knight did this for me as well. If you’re feeling down on games, it’s good to give yourself a reminder of just how powerful they can be.
Lastly, playing games is largely an act of consumption. And since I’m an inherently creative person, I need to make sure I’m putting as much out into the world as I’m taking from it. Learning to make games has taken up a large part of my “gaming time” in the past handful of months, and I just finished my first game jam ever (which of course was hosted by members of this wonderful community). My entry is by no means great, but just the act of contributing to a culture that I take so much from felt incredibly fulfilling. I think that it all ties back to the idea of maintaining balance, however that translates to you personally.