Albatross

There must be a rational way to manage buying and playing PC games. There must be an optimum of getting a maximum amount of fun out of a minimum amount of money spent, and getting the best out of each individual purchase. Unfortunately I must say that I am very far away from that optimum.

I have a large library of unplayed Steam games, which isn’t unusual. The rational thing to do would be whenever I have the time to install an unplayed game and play it to find out whether I want to spend more time with it or not. But somehow that second part causes me a problem. For example I recently installed Wolfenstein: The New Order, because I was in the mood to play a shooter game. I played the game for an hour or two, but didn’t really warm up to it. And now the game sits on my desktop and for psychological reasons I don’t really understand feels like an albatross around my neck. When I turn on my computer, seeing the icon of the game doesn’t make me want to play it. But somehow I feel that I *should* play it some more before uninstalling it and moving on. And I don’t want to install the next game before having done that decision. So in the end I end up not playing any PC game at all, but play something casual on my iPad or watch Netflix or do something D&D related.

The rational me realizes that this is pretty idiotic. If I don’t really like this game, I should just ditch it and try the next one. But the not-so-rational part of me has its doubts: Maybe I just wasn’t in a good mood when I tried the game. Maybe it gets better after a while. Maybe the $25 investment in the game necessitates a second try (which my rational self recognizes as a typical sunk cost fallacy).

I believe that a lot about our enjoyment of games isn’t really rational. We are perfectly capable of loving a game, then hating it, then loving it again. I always chuckle when I see Steam reviews of some player who has spend several hundred hours with a game and now tells you that the game sucks. The simple task of playing a game and deciding whether I like it or not turns out to be not simple at all. And then the default mode becomes procrastination until the game lingered so long on my computer that I finally uninstall it. Maybe I should try a service like Steam Advisor to find games I already own which I actually want to play.