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Gaming Burn-out

by Tonya Foust

When gaming becomes too much.

I'm a gamer, a die-hard, cut-in-the-the-wool, serious gamer. I can sit and play for hours or even days. Whether it's computer games, table top, social or independent, I love gaming. Until recently...

Our copies of World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade (WoW: BC) finally arrived. My husband was bursting with excitement and totally bummed that he had to wait until after work to install and play it.

Me, I'm actually having another reaction. Yes, I am excited to play, but I think I am burning myself out on MMORPGs (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) right now. I'm just not having the fun I used to.

I've always been a follower of the "If it's too much like work, it's work" philosophy. And unfortunately, lately, anything dealing with computers after work hours has felt like work. I'm not sure if this is residual "down-in-the-mouth" from the holidays or if I really need a break from being attached at the wrist to a keyboard.

I am finding myself missing games like Clue and Monopoly and SceneIt and Apples-to-Apples and Fluxx and any number of other card/board/tabletop face-to-face social type games. Maybe I am just missing people - which in of itself is odd for me since I really consider myself a hermit.

When I think back on it, a recent visit to a friend's house was the turning point. On the way home we both said that we missed being social, missed seeing our friends and hanging out, going to dinner, seeing a movie, whatever.

So, what do you do if you are burned out on your hobby? The more socially and emotionally secure are able to walk away for a time, gather their thoughts and return refreshed and invigorated. However, in stereotypical fashion, gamers do not tend to be the most social bunch unless it is with their gaming group. How do you walk away from that? Where do you go? Who do you talk to?

It seems to me that with the increasing popularity of online games, people have been gathering themselves into smaller and smaller groups. This is, in my opinion, a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you get to know several people incredibly well and know that you have a lot in common. On the other hand, when you experience something like Game Burn-out, you find yourself with no one else to talk to or do stuff with because all your friends are playing the game that makes your head hurt! How do you take a break in that situation?

Not sure yet how I am going to handle it. I am torn between taking a couple months break in gaming to be more human and the thought that I will disappoint my friends if I don't make our regularly scheduled games. Thankfully I have a number of friends with a wide variety of interests and hobbies that can allow me to take a break from gaming (or at least the online gaming that I have burned out on) and get my head back to where I am comfortable.

I guess, in the long run, everyone will do what is best for them. It's easier to do if it's a conscience choice you make, but having friends there who will support you and be there even if you don't play a game is what helped me and, I'm guessing, what would be helpful to anyone. Gaming and your friends will always be there, so if you need to take a break - by all means take it!

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