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Defeating the Gaming Doldrums

Why a gaming dry spell isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Usually when there’s a lack of huge releases, there tends to be a sense of dismay among gamers. We begin to worry about the state of the industry and we wonder why these machines that we’ve spent huge amounts of money on continue to sit idle. As a relatively new and proud owner of a PlayStation 4, it does bother me that I don’t really have many reasons to use it. The big, highly anticipated releases have been few and far between this year, and people are noticing. The games that I’ve personally been looking forward to are still months away, like Destiny and Super Smash Brothers for Wii U. However, after a brief period of boredom I’ve come to find this dry spell somewhat refreshing. After giving it some thought I’ve come up with a few reasons why this current gaming dry spell isn’t so dry after all.

Reason 1: Back to the Backlog!

Most of us have one, admit it. Many of us have accumulated copious amounts of games over the years. Some of us have backlogs reaching back to previous console cycles as well. I myself have quite the big list, with games like Dead Space 2, Saint’s Row 4, and Persona 3 waiting for me. I always wondered when I’d be able to get back to these games that I love, yet haven’t finished. One day, as I wondered what there was to play, I looked at my pile of shame to see so many fantastic games that I haven’t finished. I picked up Xenoblade Chronicles again and managed to get pulled back in thanks to the amazing story and ambitious scope. Games like Dead Space 2 are also on my radar because of its ease of digestion. With new releases being so slim, this is the best time to go through your backlogs and pick a game. Give it a spin and see how it sticks. Eventually you’ll find yourself having fun during these “dull” times.

Reason 2: New Game Plus Anyone?

If you’ve played any game lately, you know that most of them have New Game Plus options that spice up a second play through. While it might take a little extra effort to get engaged in a game that you’ve already finished, getting that New Game Plus out of the way might go a long way to helping you remember why you loved those games in the first place. Games like Tales of Xillia, the Mass Effect series, and the Dark Souls games all have ample reasons to play through again for a new experience with added bonuses. As I work through the Jude side of Tales of Xillia with the bonuses carried from my first run, I can enjoy the story elements I missed out on in Milla’s adventure and I’m so powerful that I can kill most bosses in mere seconds, even on the hardest difficulty. Assuming you have a game with new game plus that you’ve been meaning to try, definitely give it a go.

Reason 3: Time for a palate cleanse!

This one is a little more relative than the others. For those unfamiliar with the term, a palate cleanser refers to a game that helps remind you why you love video games. During the down times, some might feel that games aren’t for them anymore, or that they might be growing out of it. Palate cleansers help defeat this by showing you why you invest in the media all together. For me, it also helps me prepare for upcoming games, by setting a standard. Palate cleansers are often games that you personally have an affinity toward. Most likely, they will be the games in your top ten of all time. For me, I’ll replay games like Metroid Prime or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to refresh my memory of the games and to set the stage for an upcoming anticipated release. A palate cleanse doesn’t necessarily require a full play through, though. Every now and then I return to Baten Kaitos to mess around with the systems and experience the story again, but only for little bits of time until the dry spell is up. But in my opinion, if you’re in need of another game to play, try returning to your old favorites.

Reason 4: Oh, I don’t know…just about everything else.

Most obviously, the gaming doldrums give us a chance to get back into things that we may have put aside to play through the copious new releases out there. With the down time, we can re-engage in things like our favorite shows, or anime. Now you can binge watch the show your friends have been recommending for years! Or you can read the sequel to the Mass Effect novel you loved a few years back. Or you can go hang out with friends, play sports and play some whimsical multiplayer games like the good old days. This one is the most obvious, but without the temptation to return to an engrossing and shiny new game, it makes it way easier to enjoy hanging out.


What has worked for you during gaming dry spells past and present? Have any of these reasons helped you out previously? What else would you do to counter gaming dry spells? Let me know in the comments and get the discussion going!



Cary Woodham

06/21/2014 at 05:21 PM

I don't mind the slow times either, but only problem I have with it is that when you write for a game review site, it's hard to provide continuous content during these times.  Feast or famine.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

06/21/2014 at 07:33 PM

Haha, thats very true. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

06/21/2014 at 08:14 PM

hang out with friends???  Play sports???  You're talking crazy talk.  I have to beat Final Fantasy IX for the seventh time!!

Tongue Out

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

06/21/2014 at 10:12 PM

Whatever floats your boat Tongue Out


06/21/2014 at 10:57 PM

Nintendo also has released my palate cleansers.  I tend to stick with SNES era games though like Super Metroid and ALttP.  I think that Nintendo works well to cleanse my palate because their games tend to focus on everything but story.  The focus on mechanics and the elusive "FUN" factor that other companies sometimes forget.


06/24/2014 at 01:58 AM

Theres ridiculous amounts of replayability in all those games you mentio ed


06/27/2014 at 02:13 AM

Looking at July, I don't see anything new to interest me, but I'm glad because the backlog is large. I'm going in reverse chronological order with my games at the moment and trying to get the most out of each title. I'll be playing Valiant Hearts first, then there's some more achivements to get in Enemy Front and Wolfenstein N.O., and then I have Bound by Flame I just picked up, and then I still have to finish Child of Light. The list goes on and on and on. I'm excited to see how far back in my backlog I can get in one month.

Super Step Contributing Writer

06/27/2014 at 03:25 PM

See, my strategy is to just be really broke, but then a Steam sale happens and ...


06/30/2014 at 05:53 AM

Your more broke then you were to begin with,lol!!! Steam sales were def tempting but the only thing I grabed was The Witcher 2.


06/30/2014 at 06:00 AM

I personally wish game releases worked this way, i know it prolly wouldnt be good on the business side of it but getting slammed with 4 to 5 games at once in a month to 2 month time can be hell on the wallet. I know Feb 2015 just got interesting over the course of the last few weeks with games being delayed till then. Im gonna take this slow release time to catch up on some games I need to finish and buy 1 or 2 I left behind and didnt buy first when the games release rushes were going.

Justin Matkowski Staff Alumnus

07/03/2014 at 10:26 PM

While I wait to go Next Gen, I have plenty of last gen titles to keep me busy, and of course, retro stuff Smile

Actually, I just started Earthbound recently for the first time, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing it!


07/07/2014 at 07:03 PM

I've been so busy with work and catching up on my reading backlog that I haven't touched a game in several weeks. And I've been going through the boxes that are still sitting in the middle of my floor from my move a year and a half ago.


07/07/2014 at 07:44 PM

What's with the hit an run stuff young lady? You got some bloggin' to do. :P


07/13/2014 at 04:59 PM

Way too busy at work lately. Maybe when things quiet down. Last month we gave nature programs to 830 school kids in addition to our regular duties and our public nature programs. This month looks like we'll match it and then some.

I might have something this week. SanAndreas from 1up is coming to visit tomorrow and I might blog about our adventures.


07/13/2014 at 07:37 PM

That would be cool. Also teaching kids about nature is cool. :)


07/07/2014 at 07:49 PM

I can never ever have a gaming dry spell. I have enough games in my backlog that I I'll never be wanting. :) I can however succumb to periods where nothing I have interests me so there's that.

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