Why we play video games we don’t actually enjoy

No Man's SKy

Gamers really are spoiled for choice.

No matter your platform of preference, there are always games releasing or on the horizon that will appeal to you specifically.

Following the massive amount of time people were putting into No Mans Sky, despite spending the majority of that time complaining, we couldn’t help but wonder – why put yourself through that experience?

PCGamesN covered the topic, stating that a singular mechanic can pull us through a game (even if the rest isn’t very good) or we will put up with a game’s faults because we are actively using it as a time sink rather than a source of active enjoyment.

It’s a topic that actually gets raised quite a bit in gaming forums as well with a massive ongoing NeoGaf thread dedicated to spending time with games we don’t enjoy.

One of the biggest prevailing ideas in that thread is that gamers tend to become more cynical towards a game the more time they put into it.

“Long-lasting games can have a good start but eventually it becomes sour, making it all feel like a waste of time.”

“Put in about 70 hours. I had just spent the past four hours in a cave, picking flowers and whatnot, and I suddenly thought, “What the hell am I doing with my time?” I realized I was doing absolutely nothing of any importance or interest and quit. Don’t think I’ve gone back.”

The Division Steam Review

I think a lot of this ties back to games being seen as an investment both monetarily and with our time.

Those who played games during their childhood know what its like not to have the disposable income to pick up the newest releases or own the latest and greatest tech.

As such, even if you can easily afford a game, there is still a feeling that we should get a certain amount of enjoyment from it proportional to what we paid.

This is know as the sunk-cost fallacy and is defined as the following:

The Misconception: You make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments and experiences.

The Truth: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.

Whatever the reason, it’s safe to assume that we’ve all found ourselves playing a game we are not actively enjoying.


Do you ever force yourself to play a game you don’t like? Why? Let us know in the comments below and in our forums.

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