Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lapsed Gamers and Gaming in General

Last one of these, I promise. For serious.

Today I'm going to talk about some of the more general reasons that might be behind lapsed gaming. I realize that what I said yesterday might be highly specific to me, but that hardly means they're indicative of the whole. So I'm running down some different types of situations that might cause someone to become a lapsed gamer (something I also desperately need to find a new way of saying, given that the word lapsed is now starting to lose meaning).

Perhaps the largest guilty party to this condition is the dreaded backlog. I feel pretty safe in saying that most gamers have had at least a small backlog at some point during this hobby, but it's when the backlog starts to spiral out of control that people might look at the mountain of games -- all of which might be excellent games in and of themselves -- and start to feel a little overwhelmed. The problem with backlogs is that they can become rolling, almost living monstrosities: if you stop to clear the backlog then odds are you'll have more games to play when you return to "current" releases, and if you just keep playing new games the thing never disappears. Quite a problem, and not one with an easy solution either.

Another subsection of this trend, although I don't know if I'd call them lapsed per se, are gamers that are always a generation behind the current one. Now, the reasons might be monetary, but it's also a sound strategy for avoiding a backlog or getting overwhelmed with new releases. That combined with doing wonders for the cost means that some people out there will be picking up PS3's and 360's when the next iterations hit the shelves. Of course it should be obvious what the downside is to this plan is ... I hope you have a lot of patience.

Speaking of monetary things though, there's an issue that I share, that being outdated tech. This is of course more of a PC gaming problem then a console or handheld concern, but considering that PC gaming is a huge market in and of itself it becomes a pertinent issue. I myself am hoping to fix this problem soon, but doing so is going to leave my wallet crying at least a little if I want something that has a couple years of shelf life. It can be pain to upgrade when you never know if the next big breakthrough in graphics, harddrives, or anything else is right around the corner, but it's part of the market.

There is an undercurrent to all of this that I'd like to elaborate upon; for most of these issues one common thread seems to be gaming becoming more of a chore than a hobby. That's not to say that the people still don't enjoy gaming, but rather that sometimes they see themselves as having to play the latest release or things like that. I think that is probably what kills a lot of enjoyment for people and even causes some of them to ultimately walk away from gaming on the whole. It's not really the fault of the industry but rather just a mindset that I believe needs to be avoided at all costs.

I wouldn't say that being a lapsed gamer is a serious issue unless it actually bothers the person a lot (which it does in my case at least) but there are plenty of ways to get back into the midst of things. It's just a matter of finding one that works for each individual.

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