It’s meant to be an escape from the real world isn’t it? A brief moment of respite from yourself. But what happens when gaming anxiety takes over?

I get this from time to time. I take a short break for various reasons and struggle to get back. Those reasons for taking a break vary greatly. It could be something to do with my kids, work, or even my own mental state at the time.

No matter what it is, I find I am hit with anxiety when trying to start playing again. This usually happens when I am in the middle of a game I have been dedicating my time to. One that is story based anyway.

This bout of gaming anxiety was brought on by The Witcher 3. At around 15 hours in it is entralling. Yet a mix of work, kids and being ill meant I haven’t picked up the Switch for the best part of a week.

I know where I am in the game and it is one that feels like it should be easy enough to find my way in again. The excellent structure of the story-telling, the world itself and the side quests, mean I can plod around for a bit before taking another bit of the main quest line.

But for ages the thought of trying to play again made me feel a bit sick. So I then try and look at other games in the library and a sense of guilt then takes over. Spending ten minutes decision making, rather than playing. Deciding in the end to not bother at all.

Eventually of course I find a way to get over myself and play. Gaming anxiety isn’t even a thing is it? Honestly such is the way I am wired I wonder if I am so broken that even other mental health sufferers would look at me like I am some kind of freak.

This isn’t a recent thing and not just something with The Witcher 3. I seem to go through it every year at least once, of not more. I won’t list the games, as that isn’t the point. But I can tell you it ranges from length to genre.

Anyway, even when I do break that mental barrier and get playing again. I then spend some time internally berating myself for being such an idiot for thinking such idiotic thoughts. This finally subsides and I start to enjoy said game again.

I’ll go into this next bit in detail in another post, but as long as developers continue to make fantastic and engaging games, there will always be a route for me to escape. The more we have game designed around bleeding us dry, the harder that becomes.

Indie developers are a shining light in this respect. I once wrote that ‘Games are Games‘ and how there shouldn’t be a distinction made between AAA titles and Indies. Feeling that indies deserved the same treatment.

That attitude has changed loads now and Indies should stand out on their own and be lauded for the virtues they still continue to bring. Baring the odd exception of course. But as I say, that is all for another post.

I will continue to beat the drum for the wonderful things gaming can do for mental health. Especially with the escapism side of things. But bloody hell. does my messed up brain try to ruin things.

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