Have you ever fallen out of love with video games?

I‘ve seen and heard this topic discussed elsewhere, but not so much here at insert credit. And given that so many folks here are so passionate about games, I’ve been hesitant to bring it up, until now. I don't want to bum anyone out, you know?

Anyway, for the second time in my life, I feel myself drifting away from video games. The first time was when I started university, so that was an understandable enough departure. By the time I'd hit third year, though, I'd been turned on to Persona 3 and Final Fantasy X, and so the hobby began anew, and it's continued ever since.

This time, I find myself wondering whether it's just a temporary break I need, or whether it's more permanent. To be clear: I still play games – most days of the week, in fact. But the act of playing feels mostly like a routine, something I'm doing because I've always done it. Most of my friends are into games, and so I feel vaguely compelled to continue being part of that conversation. But my play sessions never last more than 20 or 30 minutes, and at least half of the time, I find myself regretting the time I've spent playing. I'm sure not getting much satisfaction from the experience.

I just wonder if anyone else has gone through this kind of experience before. Am I just getting old? Am I depressed? Exhausted from Corona Lockdown?

If you've felt yourself drifting away from gaming, what did you do about it? Did you embrace it? Take a break?

This isn't a call for help or anything, so please don't take it that way. I'm just curious to hear about other folks' experience.

I definitely hear you and this is certainly something I have felt at various times in my life. At this point I've learned to just try not to force it and let video games drift into and out of my life when it feels appropriate. I feel like I can best address this topic by sort of answering the inverse of your question. What I mean to say is there were definitely periods where video games passively receded from my life, but what I specifically remember are instances where the stars aligned just so and I fell back in love, usually without forcing the issue.

The anniversary of the GBA, for example, reminds me of when I purchased a GBA SP on something of a whim in college. I was playing occasional multiplayer console games at the time with my roommates, but my personal passion for games was kind of waning. I picked up WarioWare and I think the port of Yoshi's Island and before I knew it I felt like I had completely rediscovered the joy of gaming. Something about that perfect form factor and the incredible single-player GBA games coming out at the time just hooked me right back in--I chewed through all of the Mario Bros. ports, FFIV, FF Tactics Advance, Zelda: LTTP, Astro Boy, and the Castlevania games to name a few.

After that, my gaming interest has followed something of a sinusoidal curve, with another peak just a few years ago when I had a similar mini single-player game renaissance and played through Bloodborne, Dark Souls II, Breath of the Wild, DOOM 2016, MGSV, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and many other smaller games in between. I am probably back in something of a lull right now, but I think the takeaway lesson (to reiterate) is just not to force it. If I'm getting to the point where I'm regretting the time I put in, like you said, then I now know myself well enough to step away and come back if and when it feels right. There's just too much stuff to experience out there to dwell on what you _should_ be enjoying--that's usually when I swing pretty hard back into another hobby, or just chill and clear my head for a while.

never really fallen out of love, but I do have moments where my relationship with games can feel more distant.

When I turned 30 I didn't feel like I was where I wanted to be in life, so I cut out games pretty hard; I must have only beaten like two games that whole year. I would spend my evenings going out trying to live my life and create the type of life I thought I wanted, only to realize I wasn't too happy and thought spending my evenings alone playing games would have been a better way to spend my time. So I started playing games more often again and just found better ways to balance :)

another story, but I was playing Wind Waker for my first time in 2019, coz apparently it's one of the best games ever and I figured I should finally experience it. Around later in the year while I was still in the middle of playing it I got heartbroken. I still decided to finish WW, but knew I would always hate the game due to its association of where my life was at the time. I was committed and did finally beat the game, but seriously fuck Wind Waker lol

I definitely feel you on this. I guess it‘s always in waves. When I don’t have too much on my plate I do play a little more. Sometimes I‘m excited for stuff to come out, but it’s an issue of time and priority. Usually videos games take a back seat to art making and book reading for myself. Especially with restrictions being loosened and having to spend more time working again, having that extra time isn't there.

Once I become self aware of what little free time I have, and stress being productive in a creative manner. It's when this happens, that I have some guilt with playing games that usually deters from playing too long or at all. I don't feel it's ever permanent but can go on for months at a time where I take a substantial break from games. Listening to this podcast or other video game oriented podcasts, does keep me excited about video games whether or not I have the time to spend with them.

I‘ve gone through phases where I didn’t play many games. It has happened on many occasions. I‘ve taken breaks with a good book, or some TV, or films. But I find sometimes you just need one good game and you’ll get those good feels back again. I like to try games from genres I don't normally play to find those games.

One such game for me was Persona 5 Royal which I ate up like a man starved. I loved it, especially during the lockdowns. I wasn't a human trapped in my home, I was a heroic Anime schoolboy, hanging with friends and fighting jerks after doing my school work.

I now have a hunger for JRPGs that cannot be slaked. This ultimately led to me buying a Vita and playing Persona 4 Golden (finished the game the week it was released on Steam heh) and then playing Persona 3 FES to completion (I had hoped that Sod's Law would apply to this game too, with a surprise remaster of P3, alas).

So I guess my advice is to play Persona 5 Royal haha. Or try a genre alien to your tastes.

HELL no. Gamer all day every day.



Ok but for real I think, no, actually. Videogames have always been my most loved leisure activity, something I‘m continually interested in, and I feel like I have a lifetime of a backlog to get through. I like to understand and think about games, dream about making them, talk to people about em. If I’m feeling down I like to escape into games and if I‘m feeling good and like I have free time I’ll want to play something new or revisit a game I've wanted to revisit for a while.

If I've ever went through periods of frustration with them it has almost always centered on the idea that I don't have enough time to play games as much as I wish I could, or I can't afford the kind of games or consoles or PC I want (feeling that right now BIG TIME).

I feel very grateful for having this enduring level of interest. Videogames have really gotten me through some very tough times, even if some of them were tough because I was too busy to do it. I remember distinctly having to force myself to not play the Bloodborne expansion when it came out because it came out right around the end of the school year and I had a metric ton of work to do so I had to use it as my reward for finishing the year.

I‘m not sure that I’ve ever fallen fully out of love for any period, but like others have said I've certainly waxed and waned over the years.

My relationship with games has changed a lot during different periods in my life. In college I basically just played party games - Smash Bros, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Mario Kart -- stuff like that. There have been other periods where I'm your pretty typical AAA consumer, buying every fourth or fifth big budget game that comes out. Stuff like Assassin's Creed, Final Fantasy, Mario, Zelda. In the last couple of years I've drifted to mostly playing older games (mostly ones I played as a kid and have a nostalgia for) and "artsy" games.

I'm mostly looking for games to make my burnt out husk of a soul feel again.

OH YEAH. Mid 2000‘s I had some dealings with a real game hugger whose entire "remember the 90’s? remember video games?" personality made me think that was the only type of adult personality that could be into games. I basically missed the entire 360 / PS3 generation because I wanted nothing to do with games or game people. For the best really as I went and did a lot of other cool stuff in terms of local NYC culture. Nothing but the sharpest deepest venom for that type of person. I can't even remember what brought me back (probably Gamestop clearancing PS2 gen games, stumbling on same gaming podcasts with smart people, something like that) but I am glad I came back, and glad I have a forum like this to talk to well rounded people about games.


Every once in a while I‘ll really want to play something, but absolutely nothing will scratch the itch. I’ll start like 3 or 4 games hoping one of them will hold my attention and sometimes it clicks, but sometimes it feels like I‘m forcing it. Whenever I feel that happening I try to voluntarily step away from games and pick up a book or something… The reasoning here being that books are the complete opposite of games I guess. Something inevitably grabs me back though, be it a new release that I’ve been looking forward to or finding a new retro game to add to my collection.

It's strange, sometimes my soul will want to play a game but _I_ won't have any clue what it is. I'll get this feeling like "I really need to play an action sci fi game with bright colors and compelling story" or something really specific like that and I'll start up a bunch of games in my collection hoping something will click. When that happens I entertain the notion that an alternate universe self has discovered something awesome and that energy is bleeding out into the multiverse or something looooool

The longest I've gone being completely wrapped up in games in my recent adult life without any lulls was the beginning of 2017 through the beginning of 2020. It was the year of Yakuza for me. I got super interested in the series for the first time, bought Yakuza 0 and just did. Not. Stop. I played them all through, one after the other. I picked the perfect time to get into it because by the time I would finish one, either a sequel or spinoff would come out and I'd be occupied for a while. If there was a lull between releases, I'd go back to one I had already played. My life was Yakuza. It's crazy.

So no, I've never fallen out of love completely with games. The times that I can't find enjoyment in what I'm playing, the love is still there and I know I'll always come back to it. Video games have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and if I'm not playing them, I'm either trying to make them or fix them or mod them or draw about them. There's so many ways I can apply myself to the world of video games that I don't think we'll ever leave each other.

I took a major Hiatus when I moved out and went to college some years ago. I ended up selling my collection for cheap, which is not saying much since I had been regularly giving my consoles and games away to my younger cousins/siblings. My hiatus wasn't because I fell out of love necessarily, I just knew I could be very distracted if I brought any of my video games to college. Plus, moving to a new city and having a ton of stuff to move around with no car sounded like it would suck so I packed very lightly when I first moved into town.

Since then, I practically have no physical collection of games. I'm waiting until I can buy a house to start collecting stuff. Like I mentioned already, I still am very averse to having way more stuff than I need especially if I know I'm living somewhere temporarily, even if temporary means a few years. These days, time is for sure a factor and I can go days without playing something, or play for hours in a row when I do finally pick something up. This year, I've decided not to focus on any huge titles that require massive amounts of time to play and get through, because I know that I almost never beat any of them before getting bored and believing that I've extracted all amounts of fun from the game that I would want. It's been working out so far. Having a decent collection of roms is really nice too for when I just wanna hop into a game for a few minutes and fool around.

yeah, but for me it was a reflection of my overall mental state I think. this definitely isn‘t advice for anyone reading, just my personal experience. I was 21 & effing up pretty bad in college and unemployed, realized I had really messed up my expected trajectory and wasn’t doing anything other than going out and playing my 3DS in bed. One day, I was right in the middle of Bravely Second and I just shut it off. Next time I went back home, I gave my 3DS (at the time my only video game device) to my little sister and didn‘t touch video games for like three years. I didn’t like that it was consuming most of my time and I wasn‘t pursuing any of my interests or life goals. In hindsight I was massively depressed, but I don’t think I would have gotten out of that rut had I not consciously stopped playing video games.

after getting some of my life together again, I was pretty into Destiny 2 as a way to decompress, but I wasn't interested in the general video games that were coming out nor did I have any desire to engage with the more interesting and positive parts of gaming subculture that I loved as a teenager. but my sister, having been messing around with the 3DS started getting really interested in Japanese video games and would keep asking me stuff about different RPGs and quirky games. her newfound interest really rekindled my enthusiasm for things. I got us a couple switches and dusted off the PS2 and it's been very fun to feel like my knowledge and hours put in may have a purpose other than proof of digital hedonism.

Quarantine has helped this feeling and allowed me to feel connected with others by sharing experiences, but at the same time, there's days that I may spend what I feel is too much of the day playing video games, bum myself out, and go on like a cleanse for 3 days lol.

Absolutely, a lot of my interests are cyclical. There have been YEARS where my interest in video games was almost nil. I might still buy a few games here or there that look like something I'd be interested but then never get around to playing them. I might set out to play a long game and then just play for a 15 minute session every couple of weeks.

For me, I like keeping in mind that this is normal and not necessarily permanent. Even if it FEELS like it might be permanent, so far I've always ended up coming back around and getting back into games. And its not just games I'll have this relationship with! Movies, comic books, actual books, and even music!
I think the most important thing is to not force yourself to try to enjoy something you aren't feeling like you're into. Just take a break for however long you'd like. Don't feel bad about not playing games, even if you aren't playing them for years, even if you have shelves full of unbeaten games.
And if you DO end up getting completely out of the hobby forever, that's okay too. Don't force yourself one way or the other.

serious answer: I have never lost interest in games as media objects and mostly have seen them that way rather than “their own thing.”

Enjoyed "the culture" to an extent through gamepro, egm, and into the 1up show years. But the combined effects of becoming an adult and gamergate caused me to disconnect with the "gamer" side of things completely.

Absolutely, yes, I‘ve fallen out of love with video games a few times! Fortunately (?!?) I’ve always found my way back to them, at least to date.

The first time was back when I was in high school. Most of my friends had no interest in games at the time, and I had zero money to buy any (and this was pre-internet, so emulation and other grey-area methods for finding games were nonexistent), so I just drifted away from them for a few years. Then, when I was in my final year of high school, and later when I was in college, I fell in with a bunch of people who loved first arcade and then PC games, so I got more and more interested. I was suddenly making money from working, so they were more accessible. I think at the time, arcade games being pretty cheap to play definitely made a difference.

The second time... well, it's a long story that maybe I'll end up being able to talk about fully, but the short version is this: I had gotten my first job as a game programmer, working for a tiny company and with a boss who was incredibly abusive, and it was especially tough given that I was one of three people who worked for him. His abusiveness, combined with my anxiety over being new to my job and being worried about meeting deadlines, very nearly made me stop playing games. Ultimately I ended up quitting and starting my own company, where I was (and am) still incredibly stressed but at least I no longer had the added stress of a shitty boss. That's probably what kept me from giving up on games.

Just an additional note: I can 100% tell that my relationship with games has changed as a result of becoming a game developer, which I think has both made me closer to games in some ways and less connected to them in other ways. I think it's inevitable that once you start making games, you can't really look at games themselves in the same way. It's not that I have some kind of ridiculous insight, but just by knowing the kinds of challenges I have and the kinds of decisions I have to make, I think it's a lot easier to look at a game and have some kind of sense of the kinds of corners that were cut, decisions that were made, and ways in which something was or wasn't finished. It's sort of related, I guess, to the topic here, since I could see someone who's a developer getting bored with games since the novelty of them has worn off a bit. Fortunately that hasn't happened to me (yet)!

your courtship was brief. you were fast friends, sweethearts. the honeymoon went on and on!

those first years you passed together were full, delicious, transformative, essential.

one day you came home to Video Games, as every day. her greeting was warm, her embrace well worn.
you looked Video Games in the eye and realized something horrible. as you took more from them, you gave less. every year he grew, you fell deeper into him, he was as generous a friend as you'd ever known; there was always something new in Video Games. this became a problem for you. months went by like seconds and you were still as fresh-faced and foolish as when you met. you were the same as you'd always been, grotesquely unchanged. this could not go on.

you needed to leave. you needed something else. to send yourself away into the wider world for a while, to have something to bring back to Video Games. you could be more. you deserved better. Video Games deserved better.

one day you came back. Video Games welcomed you.

--my dumb long-winded way of saying every once in a while i take a break. it's not just games, it's too much time spent consuming media