Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Games You Can Think About

I really miss playing games that I can think about and invest time in. Sure, being immersed and entertained is a great thing, but somehow games these days don’t capture me like they used to. I remember coming up with new strategies for Colonization on the beach, spending large amounts of time reading through Magic the Gathering card lists and tournament results, and agonizing over builds for my Ragnarok Online characters. These days, I mostly just fire up a game and play.

There are two things this can be easily put down to – nostalgia and my own aging. Facts speak against nostalgia, as it is a fact that I spent much more time on games outside those games than I do now. That can’t only be put down to the fact that I have less free time either. I’m not even tempted to think much about optimal strategies for games in my free time anymore. That leaves aging and I suppose that is at least part of the problem. Maybe I have actually grown up a bit and am now able to see the utter futility of spending so much time on results in a game that will soon be forgotten.

Somehow I think that isn’t it either though. I can still be pretty entranced by unimportant problems and it was not all that long ago that I spent a sleepless night trying to figure out the exact mathematical worth of Je’Tze’s Bell for my shaman in World of Warcraft. Those events are rare though and haven’t really happened at all since then.

I can only assume then, that games these days don’t require or allow for much thinking outside the game itself. Most options are rather straightforward and most games simply don’t include functionality that allows me to get ahead of the curve through clever action.  Coming up with a clever deck in Magic the Gathering allowed me to perform well in tournaments and win prizes. New character builds in Diablo 2 were planned to make me rich quick by optimizing certain boss kill runs. Contrary to that, optimizing your gear and spec in World of Warcraft might allow for a slight advantage, but the visible gains are almost non-existent.

I will be posting short, nostalgia-loaded posts on old games that captured me this way in the next couple of weeks with the goal of maybe, just maybe identifying what the formula for success is in this regard and why we don’t get it anymore these days.

What about you though? Am I the only one that this is happening to? Am I simply deluding myself into thinking that things are different today and it is me who has changed instead? Is it just nostalgia after all?

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