27 Jul Why Video Games Get Boring: The Psychology of Fun
Have you ever bought a video game, played it for a week, and then never even touched it again? If so, you’re not the only one. Becoming bored with video games can happen to every gamer, even when there seems to be no good reason. I’ve been there myself, so I did some research on why video games become boring.
Why do video games get boring? Video games get boring when they are too repetitive with little to no variation, are predictable and offer no surprises to the player, don’t present enough of a challenge for players, have poor pacing that requires too much work for too little reward, or simply aren’t fun from the beginning.
If you’re struggling with video game boredom, the good news is that there are ways to make your gaming routine interesting again. Before I get into that, let’s take a deeper look at the causes of video game boredom.
Things That Make Video Games Boring
If you’re a video game designer, the challenge you face is keeping your games from quickly becoming boring for players. While there’s no exact formula for creating a game that will keep players engaged, there are a number of mistakes that can be avoided that can result in someone trading their gaming time to do something else.
Making a Game Too Repetitive Can Make it Boring
A common tactic used by game developers is to recycle as many gameplay elements as they can throughout their game in order to speed up the production process. In and of itself there is nothing wrong with this strategy. It actually makes a lot of sense if it means a couple of years can be shaved off of production time.
The issue occurs when the gameplay is essentially copy and pasted with only a few minor variations thrown in, in an attempt to keep players interested. I’ve played video games before where this method comprised almost the entire game! Needless to say, I became bored fairly quickly.
Video Games Become Boring When They’re Too Predictable
Just like movies with overused plot lines can be boring, the same is true of video games. When a player feels like they know what’s going to happen and they’re correct time and time again, they can quickly begin to lose interest.
In order to keep players interested, game designers need to maintain an element of surprise. Great game designers can put themselves in the position of the player so that they can steer things in a completely new direction just when the player thinks they have everything figured out.
Nonsense surprises can make players roll their eyes, but well-timed, plot-relevant surprises will go a long way in keeping a video game from becoming boring.
Video Games With Not Enough Challenge Can Quickly Become Boring
What makes you feel better? Being handed a blue ribbon for participation, or earning a blue ribbon for working hard and breaking a sweat? I don’t know about you, but I certainly prefer the latter.
Game designers must present their players with a worthy challenge in order to maintain their interest. But it isn’t quite as simple as just giving them a challenge. The challenges must be in the correct order and have the correct difficulty level in order to keep players from becoming frustrated.
If a player isn’t given the correct tools and enough understanding of those tools in order to complete a task in a video game, then the game designers have dropped the ball.
Poor Pacing Can Make a Video Game Boring
Even if everything else is done correctly in a story, if the pacing is off, players can still become bored. While it’s great that the quality of graphics now allows for a more cinematic experience in video games, there’s still a reason that they’re called video games and not movies. Players should be actively engaging more than they’re watching cutscenes.
Players Get Bored With Video Games When They’re Not Rewarded for Playing
One of the most important elements that should be included in every video game is rewards for the players. Video game rewards can take many forms. They might be an in-game currency, collectibles that expand the story, new outfit options, new playable areas, new abilities, or the unveiling of an interesting plot point.
When a player goes through long stretches of gameplay without being properly rewarded, they can start to become bored. An important element of video game rewards is making sure that players know that they exist and that they’re coming.
Creating a system within a video game where players will learn to expect a reward for completing specific actions can encourage them to keep going. Game designers can also drop hints early on in the game about legendary rewards still out there to be claimed.
Video Games Become Boring When They Simply Aren’t Fun
Everyone has different tastes when it comes to fun, so there’s no one size fits all when it comes to this point. But the fact stands, when a video game isn’t fun for a player, they will inevitably become bored.
Some of the common culprits that can drain the fun out of video games are gameplay mechanics that are overly technical or games that depend upon written explanations to teach the players everything.
Video Games Can Get Boring When They’re Played Too Much
This might go without saying, but if you play a video game for long enough it will eventually become boring. If you know a video game like the back of your hand and can quote all of the cutscenes from memory then it’s probably time to invest in a new game.
How to Enjoy Playing Video Games Again
If you find that you no longer enjoy playing video games, here are a few tips that can help you avoid boredom and rekindle your love for gaming.
Try a New Hobby for a While
One of the most effective ways to get past a lull in your relationship with video games is to simply take a break from them to try something different.
Maybe instead of playing video games all the time, you could start learning about creating your own or take up a completely new hobby like a musical instrument or rock climbing.
I find that when I direct my attention elsewhere for a while, I naturally return to video games over time with a renewed interest.
Try Playing a Different Genre of Game
If you’re constantly playing RPGs or platformers, try mixing things up by playing something completely out of your wheelhouse like a puzzle or sports-based game.
Best case scenario, you love it and want to keep playing. Worst case scenario, you hate it and now have a renewed appreciation for the games you were starting to get bored with.
Overcome Boredom by Waiting for a Video Game You’re Excited About
If you’re bored with your current game selection, and nothing in the video game marketplace has piqued your interest, sometimes the best thing to do is wait. Sooner or later, a game is bound to come around that will be right up your alley.
Things That Make Video Games Not Boring
Allowing Players to Make Decisions
There’s a name for games that demand nothing from the player other than putting the disc in and pressing start. They’re called movies! And they’re not what players want or expect from a video game.
Video games should present players with choices, or at least the illusion of choice, in order to create a hands-on experience.
This can be difficult at times in puzzle games where there is usually only one solution, but providing multiple ways to reach that solution can make players feel like they have a say in the direction of the game.
Presenting Challenges in the Correct Sequence
One of the first things that should be determined for a game is who the target audience is. With this information in mind, it’s a game designers job to match the difficulty level of their game to the level of skill and experience of those who will be playing it.
This typically requires a lot of trial and error, as well as testing the game with different audiences pre-release to determine whether or not any adjustments are necessary.
Telling a Great Story
When great gameplay mechanics, balanced challenges, interesting characters, and a great story are all combined, the result is a memorable and engaging experience for players.
When the story of a video game is done right, players will keep coming back, sequel after sequel. Even if certain aspects of the game become boring, players will often keep playing just to finds out what happens in an interesting story.
Thanks for reading! You can get back to all of my recent articles by going here.