Breaking the Habit

Its amazing how so many games which start off as fun quickly become a chore. Of course there’s game-play loops to try and keep you invested for longer. But gaming is one of those strange activities which can quickly go from fun to dull.

I’m never going to be Ash

I love Pokémon, but as you approach the end game and when you definitely compete in the post game, the monotony of the grind becomes untenable. One of my gaming goals in 2016, was to raise a rock hard competitive team, sourcing the best in dual-type creatures across several generations of Pokémon and try my hand at some serious competitive play. All whilst really trying to complete as much of my Pokédex as possible.

I say again, I love those pocket monsters, but in the end my adoration was sorely tested by the grind. Midway through White I had enough. It wasn’t a rage quit, it was a boredom break. And it’s something the proliferation of RPGs being pumped out by major studios really need to work on.

I’ve got a fancy new phone, so I downloaded Fallout Vault. And it’s excellent, but that hasn’t stopped me from stopping playing. Whilst the game does well to put you in the shoes of the overseer, it quickly becomes an occupation rather than a hobby.

Making me work

The lure is strong, day-in-day-out I checked in on my vault. My dudes had collected resources and the visual cues kept me invested, or more appropriately addicted. But

after a while and a few unintended delays in checking in, I began to think why bother. I’m sure the denizens of Vault 969 have suffered in my absence, but it’s only a game.

Here in lies the rub, I only checked in because the game, through its own seductive mechanisms made me. Once I broke the habit of checking in on the progress of my vault residents – I really stopped caring.

The game is excellent but it’s enjoyment is temporary. It’s unfair to pick on this, albeit commercially​-made title, as in the end it was there to make me buy Fallout 4. Through an excellent marketing strategy this game was released to sustain interest rather than replace or augment the Fallout series.

Walking away

But, despite my temporary but diligent checking in, I realized that the game-play loop was never going to give me any satisfaction. As a marketing strategy Fallout Vault was amazing but it is atypical of the problems with this mobile gaming genre and strategy.

It’s a real challenge to keep invested and whilst the RPG loops of modern gaming give players that initial rush, even AAA titans like Destiny, begin the wane after players max out their characters and realize that’s all that’s left if multiplayer. Whilst I appreciate that maybe I’m in the minority, but whether it be the lure of online play or the mobiles visual cues: Eventually, I can and will walk away.


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