Genre Burnout

The idea struck me for this post while I was trying to go to sleep. I very almost had to get up out of bed and go jot something down, for worry that I’d forget it. I didn’t do that. So I guess we’ll see how I get on!

I remember the core of the idea at least. Over the years of gaming, there have been instances where I have played a particular genre so extensively that I burn out from it. Forever. I liken to it finding a song you like so very much that you thrash any remaining ounce of enjoyment out of it to a point where, almost without realising, you reach a point where upon you could happily go the rest of your life never hearing it again. The main difference here really only being one of timescale.

The first instance — yes, I really did mean plural. I’ve done this to myself at least three times — was with the RTS genre.

Burnin’ Down the RTS Genre

This is actually a shot of the remastered version of Command & Conquer — but this is basically how my brain remembers the game looking anyway in absence of a direct side-by-side.

C&C wasn’t my first ever RTS. That was Dune II. And still to this day I remember my amazement when I first encountered it. Nothing remotely similar had crossed my young-gamer path. Everything before had been orientated around a single character. Dune II was something else entirely.

But I call out C&C as it was the series I likely burnt myself out on the hardest. I played it extensively. All of them. Well.. Up until about Red Alert 2 anyway.

I played these things… A lot. Map editing. Multiplayer (local LAN connections with friends from time to time). Singleplayer. Every which way.

C&C took much of my time here, but then also Starcraft, Dune 2000, Warcraft 1 to 3. By the time Warcraft 3 rolled around though, the toll was starting to be felt. I really only played it for the custom game modes. Tower Defense maps (my first encounters with this concept, too!), RPGs and co-op party style games built into the really quite powerful editing tools of the game, and of course: Defense of the Ancients (DoTA).

From here it gets a little bit hazy. Like I mentioned with the analogue to music; it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain exactly when your feelings about something formerly so fervently loved shifts. For instance, after all this — I still played Supreme Commander. And that didn’t come out until 2007.

But I also remember not being into it nearly as much as I perhaps thought I should’ve been. I also didn’t play it for very long. Unlike C&C and even Warcraft where I played those games for months if not years, Supreme Commander lasted me perhaps a few weeks. I still enjoyed the experience, I think, and I wonder if Supreme Commander might still be the pinnacle of the genre… But… It wasn’t for me any more.

Apparently quite convincingly so, because it was the last RTS I was ever remotely excited about. Haven’t touched them except in passing ever since.

Moving Past MMO’s… Sort of.

Asheron’s Call — Looking onto a castle, now overrun by Skeletons after a Baron put on a cursed crown.

SDWeasel’s recent post on not ‘feeling it’ on MMO’s lately is part of what fed my late-night idea, I think.

It was a post I related to, having felt the same way for years now. But it is different when compared to the RTS situation. To the point where I wonder if it even truly fits into this post. You see; with MMO’s I still very much want to like them. At least from time to time I do. And at those times I’ll often try recapture some of what I once loved so much.

But I’m simply not sure it’s possible.

There is a certain degree of innocence lost that I can never recapture. I know too much now. I envy greatly those still yet to have their first experience with what an MMO can do and can be.

Like I noted in my comment back to SDWeasel, so little has changed in any fundamental way since the MMO concept was brought to life. Sure; we have better graphics. New design sensibilities. And personally I have very different game-style preferences relative to what I once had.

But for all that… It’s just the same old.

Promises of a virtual world, a place to occupy as a community, haven’t really ever eventuated. Our means of interacting with these play spaces haven’t really changed, either. VR is going through something of a resurgence at the moment after an aborted attempt at it for games in the 90’s. But it’s far from ubiquitous. Far from offering up the type of experiences that movies promise us.

So it’s hard to garner too much excitement for them any more. I haven’t abandoned them completely; but they’re no longer my be all and end all of gaming. I couldn’t put a year straight into a single MMO if I tried. Not as my main game at least. I’m not even sure I could do several months any more, and this from someone who spent years in Asheron’s Call.

Being truthful though — I’m not sure there are any games I can spend that sort of time in any more. My attention span for singular titles has certainly diminished. Finding a forever game now? Hah. Never.

I think I’m OK with that by and large; but it’s a fairly major shift in my gaming habits over the years and I can’t help but wonder what if anything it may mean.

It may only mean that I have a lot more disposable income now and far more options than I ever have before. Or it could be more. *shrug*

I think I’ll actually wrap this up now — but if you’re curious, the third genre that I burned myself out from was the Survival game genre. The likes of ARK, or Conan: Exiles. I looooved them for a time, there. Couldn’t stand to do another one now though. Nooooo thank-you!

This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

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