Reflection: Lulls

About two years ago, I wrote a piece about “lulls” in my life. I wanted to reflect upon this and give some updated opinions. The quoted portions of the text are paragraphs from the original entry; I’ve decided to write my updated views directly below. I had a lot of fun making this, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

I go through periods of my life where different things catch my interest. I might be big into reading about current events one day, and within the same week, I might neglect anything in the news to binge-watch an anime or dedicate every free hour of my day playing video games. I only feel like I’m in a lull when it comes to gaming, though.

Update: now that I’ve focused more on writing, reading, and other hobbies, I no longer agree with my previous statements. I find myself in a creative lull frequently, and I’d say that it has a more significant impact on me than a “gaming lull” ever has.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in Persona 4 Golden. I’ve been working relentlessly to achieve the platinum trophy. Achieving this goal has been a test of my stamina and will to continue. After reaching a certain point at the very end of my 2nd playthrough, I realized that I am going to have to replay the game a 3rd time for the platinum trophy as the trophy entitled: “Hardcore Risette Fan,” has eluded me each time I’ve played this game. The lofty goal that lies ahead of me has slowly whittled down my desire to follow through with my original plan. I’m now in a lull.

Update: I recall feeling these emotions surrounding this challenge. Only a relatively short amount of time has passed between then and now, and I am fighting to convince myself to, in fact, not play Persona 4 again even though I’ve done everything available in that game.

Why is it that when I have a gaming hiatus, I consider myself to be in a lull, but when I don’t watch a single episode of anime, I don’t bat an eye? Is it because I set goals for myself in games?

Update: I’m repeating myself here, but if I’m honest, I’ve always felt less invested in anime than gaming. I can say now that I thought this way because gaming was my hobby. Anime was just a way for me to push time along.

I remember my first big gaming lull. It lasted for nearly two years. I was coming out of the end of Fable 2’s achievement hunt when it hit me. I didn’t touch a single game until the end of the PS3’s lifetime. When the PS4 came, I was living alone and had nothing but free time, so I resumed my hobby. Was it the hunt for 100% that burnt me out? A pattern seems to fit.

Update: Indeed, this was true. I did feel burnt out with Fable 2 because of the requirements needed for 100%. I can say though, since this, and even since P4G I have 100% completed Persona 5 followed almost immediately by completing to 100%; Dragon Quest XI, The Spyro Trilogy, Hellblade, and a handful of smaller titles. With this experience, it seems more than likely that I felt burn out due to other factors. Primarily lack of planning, as I’m much more comprehensive in my preparation before I decide to 100% complete a game. Another major contributor is pacing. I’d play these games marathon style for days on end. I don’t have the time for that anymore, so my efforts take place in shorter sessions over a longer duration of time.

2nd significant gaming hiatus just ended about a year ago. I have been focusing on my career; other various life goals and gaming did not fit into that equation. In the early-middle of 2017, I completed the challenges I set for myself and allowed gaming into my life once again. It seems that some driving factors in my life are achievement-based. I never really realized that until today.

Update: Not much to touch on, but I still agree that a primary factor in motivating myself is goal setting. I love checking off boxes.

Another contributing factor to my lulls might be maturity. I firmly believe gaming will be a hobby of mine until I am dead, but the types of games I used to enjoy no longer make me feel the same way as before. It took me a while to realize this, but as the years march on, my tastes have drastically changed. Part of me wants to hold on to the past, but a more significant part of me won’t allow me to part with my hard-earned cash to risk chasing a high that I know I won’t be able to obtain.

Update: By this point in time, I have entirely accepted the fact that some games I used to love “aren’t for me” anymore. I don’t necessarily believe this correlates to maturity, but I guess I’m not entirely confident in that admission. Reflecting, I think that I held somewhat of a grudge against myself for allowing myself to “grow up.” A big part of me inside wanted to like these games, but I couldn’t find enjoyment anymore, so instead of just letting them go, I became bitter. I’m at peace with it now, but I don’t think I always was.

Two great games are on the precipice. Shadow of the Colossus is upon us tomorrow with Ni no Kuni 2 coming later next month. Yakuza 6 is coming shortly after that, along with God of War near the same time. Meanwhile, I have yet to finish NieR: Automata, despite my intense desire to do so. I can say the same for Okami HD and a handful of other games. I find myself no longer have free time. If I think about it too much, it makes me sad, but I realize that I have also found happiness in other places, and those thoughts keep me going on.

Update: I have never liked Shadow of the Colossus. I tried it on PS2, PS3, and again on PS4. It’s never clicked with me, and even before trying the PS4 version, I should have known to leave this one alone. Instead, I forced it on myself and possibly contributed to the “burn out” feeling I was trying to avoid. I played about 2 hours of NNK2 before admitting I didn’t like it, and never picked up Yakuza 6. I did 100% complete God of War and NieR: Automata, so it’s nice to get some closure there. I’m busier than ever these days, so it’s hard for me to believe that my past self “no longer had free time.” I can safely attribute this statement to poor time management, a hybrid between that, and the lack of understanding that I wasn’t required to play a game for 7 hours straight to be happy. I no longer get sad about my “lack” of free time. I manage my time correctly now, and I’m completing games at a much faster pace, despite actually having more going on in my adult life.

Sorry for the ramble. I didn’t know where to start this, but I remember reading somewhere that starting is the hard part, once I began my thoughts freely flowed from my fingers and it helped me realize a few essential things about myself along the way. That is what matters most to me.

Update: I am totally at peace with this now. I no longer place restrictions on myself regarding these things. Once I accepted everything I outlined above in my “Updates,” things just got better. Not letting myself get peer pressured into enjoying specific things, better time management, and overall acceptance; all of these things have led to me enjoying my hobbies much more.

If you’ve reached this point, thanks for sticking around, I hope you’ve found some level of enjoyment watching me pick apart my past self. Each time I look back on my past, it blows my mind to see how far I’ve come. I’m sure I’ll look back 3 or 5 years from now and think the same thing that I am thinking about today. This reflection was entirely for me, and it has been insightful. I am feeling lull-ish at this moment in time, but it’s only a single blip on the timeline. I try not to let myself get bogged down when I’m in the moment; instead I focus on the positive and push forward into the future.

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