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A Whole Pile Of Gaming Mental Snafus

Today, I started my new substitute position.  The people are nice, I think it will probably go well.  That said, I'm not entirely sure where I am, relative to my gaming, right now.  I spent about 2-3 days essentially playing nothing, doing nothing more but spamming boards about differences of opinion as to what's canon in the lands of Equestria.  Not really because I'm that obsessed with ponies, but because it occupied my time.

Granted, the ponies are a lot of fun.

Why can't I seem to bring myself to play a game?  Perhaps a case-by-case example will shed some light on this.  Here's what games I have sitting on my desktop right now, simply in order from top to bottom:
  • Minecraft -  I've found that reverting back to 1.2.5 in order to play some of my favorite mods (Thaumcraft, a more stable version of Millenaire) does make the game a lot more appealing.  However, I still remain somewhat trapped in a catch22: "hardcore" mode is infinitely more interesting, because dying without consequence is boring, but the consequence of losing the whole world also makes it hard to grow attached to the persistent world you generate.  I've yet to find a satisfying medium.
  • Batman: Arkham City - I really was looking forward to this since Batman: Arkham Asylum was so good.  Unfortunately, while the production values were marvelous, the open-endedness resulted in a much less focused experience.  I've been away from the game so long that I'd have to start over, and I don't really feel like it.
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Recent blog entries chronicle my recent attempts to get back into the game, wherein I once again grew bored of the way you're supposed to play it, and followed that up with growing bored of the way you're not supposed to play it.  My recent decision to have multiple characters has backfired in that I'm not at all particularly involved in any of their stories.  The narrative is shot, and when Skyrim's game balance is as loose as it is, the narrative is all you really have.
  • Civilization V - I really need to get Gods And Kings for this game, in that I've read some reviews that suggest it changes the way the game is played to the point where you won't want to go back.  Civilization V is strong in that it is a game you can play forever, but weak in that you know you'll be playing it forever, and so what's the hurry?  I've won a few games of Civilization V, I know what to expect, isn't that enough?
  • FTL Faster Than Light - Now here's a game I could play some more of.  It only consumes maybe 2 1/2 hours a run, and I've yet to unlock all the ships.  I don't know if there's really anything new for me to find in the game, though.  I've already beaten it a few times, and most sectors are something I've already done dozens of times already.   Needs more variety.
  • Battlefield 3 - This game just didn't click for me; it seems to be built for people whose mindset prefers a different balance than mine.  Part of that is that I don't particularly like a game where ganking people who never even get a chance to spot you is considered an ideal balance.  I've been able to get around this in previous Battlefields by driving vehicles, but BF3's vehicular balance rubs me the wrong way, too.  Judging by how many people prefer the subway map, which has no vehicles, I'm not the only one.  Despite the nigh-photo realistic graphics and popularity, I just don't think Battlefield 3 is a great game.
  • The Sims 3 - I've already gained all the gratification to be had from the majority of activities in The Sims 3: got to the end of several major career tracks, had a romance, not particularly interested in having a family.  I'm not sure if I can come up with a scenario I care about in the game.  Maybe if I throw the Supernaturals expansion in there it'll be worth playing again, at least for a little while.
  • X-Com Apocolypse - Might as well remove this from my desktop now that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is out.  I never finished Apocolypse, but I did play long enough to have researched nearly everything, and so there's nothing new to be found.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Already beat the game on "normal."  I'm thinking I'll come back and try to beat the game on "classic" once they get the bugs ironed out... at this rate, it'll be months.  To an extent, this game suffers from the same problem I'm having with Apocolypse: I've researched nearly everything, and so there's really no surprises left.  But I can still see this game as being worth playing just for the solid squad-based tactical combat alone: good gameplay, in itself, is sufficient draw for me.
  • Saints Row: The Third - Aside from its callous disregard for human life, there's really nothing wrong with this game.  It's one of the latest, and greatest, of Grand Theft Auto 3 clones.  I suppose the only reason I'm not playing it is just because it's rather senseless, not just morally, but in terms of gameplay dynamic: "drive around, do random stuff."  Meh.  But, it is fun, right?
  • Dungeons of Dredmor - The roguelike procedural generation and flexible character system don't change that, if I play this game often enough, I reach a point where managing all that inventory becomes a chore.  It so happens that I've played this game often enough.
  • Planetside 2 Beta - To an extent, I just don't want to play this game because I don't want to spoil it for myself when it releases.   Unfortunately, the developers have decided to shadow Battlefield 3 which, for reasons I elaborated above, is not a decision I support.  I don't think I'll be playing this game much but, you never know, perhaps the release balance will be different.  I suspect Mechwarrior Online would be my preferred way to spend my time in the event I'm interested in a massively multi-player combat sim, and I have yet to play teh game.
  • Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Demo) - The nice thing about the demo is it showed off just how remarkably humdrum Carrier Command is by today's standards.  As a Rock Paper Shotgun commentator noted, there's nothing wrong with the gameplay, it just lacks any sort of "hook."  I'm definitely going to wait for this one to hit $20 first.
  • Guild Wars 2 - A marvelous game, but one I don't play largely due to personal hangups.  To an extent, I'm feeling guilty about how I haven't been able to play this game with my friends as much at they might have liked, which makes this game all that much more unapproachable.  However, that's mired down even further by my having over-rationalized which character I want to play identically to the way I did in Skyrim.  I get the feeling if I could solve my altaholicism in Skyrim enough to be able to complete it, I'll solve this as well.
  • Star Wars - The Old Republic - I heard this game went Free 2 Play recently, but I still haven't been able to make the time to play it.
  • Vanguard: Saga  Of Heroes - I heard this game went Free 2 Play recently, but I still haven't been able to make the time to play it.  (X2)
  • A Game Of Dwarves - I could still play this game.  Sure, it's kind of overly casual for my liking, the game balance is even looser than Skyrim's, but it's relaxing to watch my happy little dwarves do their thing.  I sort of don't want to finish the campaign, because I know I've already unlocked the entire tech tree, and after the campaign is over there's really no reason left to play.
  • Orcs Must Die! 2 - I just bought this game today.  $10, half-off and including DLC.  I loved the first Orcs Must Die!, and I believe I'll be able to finish the campaign of this game as well.  It won't last me more than a day or two, though.
So part of my problem is this: I have far too many games to play vying for my attention.  (I'm considering buying Mass Effect 3, which is already down to $30, but I can wait a little longer on that.)  It also seems like I'm bored of gaming in general right now, and a lot of what you see above are just the easy excuses as to why those particular games cannot excite me enough to pierce that boredom.

The boredom isn't natural; something's missing.  I really need some more purpose in my life.  At least now, thanks to having some part-time employment, I can say I have a little bit of that purpose.  Yet, with one day of work under my belt, things have not yet reached the point where I feel I can simply game the day away.

To an extent, the problem is depression.  I could start taking Zoloft again, but I'm not sure that's a good idea.  It could very well be that this untraceable concern of mine is legitimate.  Maybe I need more exercise.  Maybe I'm just bored with games, and my gaming days are behind me.  Maybe I'm going to need to start doing something productive at home, as well as work. 

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