When You Overplay a Game

What Happens When You Overplay a Game?

How one of my favorite games almost caused me to have burnout

Do you ever look at your gaming library and just can’t bring yourself to pick up your favorite game one more time? Maybe it’s simply too long, or maybe it doesn’t have that special spark it once did when you cue it up. I had that moment with The Witcher 3.

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When You Overplay a Game

I’ve had a long run with Geralt’s adventures, but it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve had so many great memories with this game, but I do not have the time of day to travel all across the world with Geralt.

It’s hard saying goodbye to this game, especially one where I was so excited to grab it when it first launched in 2015. One of the game’s selling points was how expansive the world was, something that intimidated me. But when I got hold of the game, its graphics, gameplay, and its incredible stories had me hooked and pushing forward.

I have completed The Witcher 3 over a dozen times in the first year alone. I’d find myself playing over and over again years later in 2017, finding new things to appreciate about the game.

This was a time where I was playing a good deal of lengthy games, like Fallout 4 (which, at the time I was pretty disappointed with the game). I have dedicated hundreds of hours to games like The Witcher 3 without a problem.

Fast forward to 2019 and I found myself gravitating towards shorter games. Games like The Outer Worlds and Jedi: Fallen Order could be completed in around 15 hours or less. This was a game that fit my schedule and lifestyle at the time.

When you’re a teenager or have a pretty open schedule, spending 50+ hours on a single playthrough is nothing. Now as an adult, I don’t have the luxury. Even when I have the time, spending weeks and weekends on a single game feels more like a chore than something to enjoy. That is when I became disillusioned with lengthy games like The Witcher 3. Even if it’s me spending only a few hours a day on it, knowing I still have so many hours of gameplay and story to complete is a bit much. I found myself facing video-game burnout.

It’s why it’s time for me to call it quits with The Witcher 3 and other hour-heavy games. Quitting now helps me continue to appreciate the role this game played in my gaming journey. Revisiting the game now in my life may actually hurt my fond memories with the game than create new ones.

Can playing a game too much do more harm than good?

When we enjoy a game, it’s natural for us to spend countless hours with it. However, my time with The Witcher 3 made me wonder if dedicating so much time over and over again (multiple playthroughs), can do more harm than good for our gaming experience?

I’ve had a lot of great moments with The Witcher 3, but the more I replayed it, the less excited I would be. I found myself bored.

Spending multiple days, dedicating over five hours each time just to get to the more interesting parts of the game, became off-putting. The nostalgia goes away and all you can focus on is what is wrong — the problems you didn’t notice before when the game was exciting and fresh to you.

My time with The Witcher 3 was beginning to change and not for the better.

When you play shorter games like Mass Effect or The Outer Worlds, the action and story are very to the point. This is something that as I grow older, I prefer more.

I no longer enjoy spending dozens of hours on a single playthrough anymore. It’s no longer an enjoyable experience. If anything, it has led to a negative reaction from me, lengthy games feeling more of a chore than a fun pastime.

Missing out on other fun gaming moments

Another problem with devoting too much time to a single game is that you can end up missing out on other adventures that you may have enjoyed. For me, The Witcher 3 was my most played game for years. I have missed out on other games that only now I have explored.

I’ve missed out on the Mass Effect games — such as Mass Effect: Andromeda and the Mass Effect Legendary Edition — because I kept my focus on one game for a long period of time. These are games I found myself enjoying when I finally got a hold of them and they do not require hours and hours like The Witcher to finish.

This is the problem when you devote too much time to a single game. You really miss out on other games out there. Looking back, I regret I made one game my only gaming experience for so long.

This journey and end with games like The Witcher 3 have shown me that over time, our opinions and what we find enjoyable with games change. Our change in lifestyle can make it hard to invest in certain games like we once could. Or playing one game repeatedly can take away the spark it once had with us.

It’s not a bad thing to replay a favorite, but there is good in letting yourself take a break from it and discover new games. Not only does it help you on your gaming journey, but it can also expand your gaming pallet and create room for more enjoyable gaming moments.

Written by Laura Halls

Originally published on Medium at July 28
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