During my monthly editorial posts, I’ve often mentioned how it’s been difficult to find time for gaming so far this year. My other-half and I have been undertaking some massive renovation work on our house at the same time as working longer hours in our jobs; and our weekends are spent chasing around after my ten-year old stepson and invariably getting up to some sort of mischief together.
It can therefore be a bit of an effort to work up the motivation to turn on the PlayStation or PC when we do have a spare hour in the evenings. We usually have good intentions but after being stuck at a desk or in meetings all day, it’s hard not to resist the call of a bowl of ice-cream on the sofa in front of some trashy television. However, there are only so many episodes of MasterChef or Dinner Date you can stomach (pun intended).
Last week I came across a post by Dylan over on PlayingWithThoughts entitled What Are Your Thoughts on Grinding? I started to leave a comment about how I’m ‘one of those old-schoolers who doesn’t mind the grind’ but it got me thinking: is there more to it than that? I realised then that the smaller battles or quests which make up grinding suit my current play-style, offering a short section of game that can fill an hour or so but still leave me feeling as if I’m making progress towards an end goal.
That being said though, starting up a large RPG when you’re short on spare time can be an incredibly daunting experience. Take Horizon Zero Dawn for example; I thoroughly enjoyed it and fell in love with Aloy, but I’m tired after completing 21 main quests and numerous side missions. I think I’m suffering from a case of open-world fatigue and the thought of going into another title that’s going to take over 100 hours to complete isn’t entirely appealing right now.
That doesn’t mean I’m taking a break from gaming however. In fact, I’ve probably played more video games during the past month than I have done for a while – which may sound strange when you consider how busy life is right now. The answer came in the form of the Steam summer sale at the end of June, like a shining hero stepping out of the open-world fog and handing me the controller in my hour of need.
I’ve already made a start on the 13 games I purchased and so far, these smaller indie titles are fitting in well with our current routine. My other-half and I can get home from our respective offices after a long day at work knowing that even just sixty minutes of gaming will see us make good progress on a title. Although huge RPGs do have a certain appeal, there’s also something nice about being able to complete a game within several sittings and move onto the next one.
Here’s what we’ve managed to finish so far:
Next up is Orwell. It’s an entry that had been sitting in my Steam wishlist for ages and after reading Tabitha’s thoughts on the game over on The Gaming Teacher last month, I finally decided to pick it up in the sale. Then after that I’ll probably tackle Virginia, a title that has been recommended to me by several bloggers I follow here on WordPress. Oh, and I’ve still got to make a start on Life is Strange too because I’m so late to the party.
So if you’ve been suffering from open-world fatigue too: put down the controller, step away from the RPGs, and pull out that indie gem which has been sitting overlooked in your game library for way too long. You may not find yourself in a world so large or with so many quests to tackle; but you might find an experience which is still as fulfilling.