Most of you have been there before: the dreaded game rut. Everything you own sucks. Why the hell did you spend all of that money on a library of games that you have zero interest in playing? Why did you buy all of those booster boxes of (insert CCG title here)? Hey, hey, calm down, it’ll be alright! I’ve been there myself, quite a few times actually. (Although hopefully game ruts are a thing of the past now that Shawn and I run this website and produce the 2 Guys Gaming podcast. This job forces us to try ALL of the different games out there in order to write articles for you guys and gals. ) Earlier this year I found myself in the mother of all gaming ruts. All of my usual “go to” games were now boring and extremely unappealing. It felt like a chore just putting a disc into my 360, and when I did I found myself playing for only a few minutes before I would hit eject, put in another disc, play for ten minutes or so, hit eject again…rinse and repeat…until I finally would just shut off the Xbox. My rut didn’t just apply to video games either; even MTG became repetitive and stale. So how did I beat the rut? Well looking back, it actually wasn’t that difficult to do. First thing I did was stopped looking at my Magic collection. The more I looked at it, the more depressed and frustrated I became because I wanted to recapture the interest in the game that I had even just a few weeks earlier and that spark just wasn’t there. The only way I can possibly describe that feeling is that it’s like quicksand; the more you struggle and fight the faster you sink. By taking a break from even looking at the cards it felt like I had removed a source of frustration. I then started to research current CCG’s to get a feel for any game currently on the market that might be down my alley. Unfortunately, nothing really stuck out to me, so I started to look at discontinued CCG’s. I’m a penny pincher when it comes to games, so this is always a viable option for me since all product associated with a discontinued game is cheap as hell. And as I found out, discontinued doesn’t mean the game is crap. I ended up with 3 games bouncing around in my head: Rage, Marvel VS, and finally World of Warcraft TCG. Just like that the rut began to weaken. After talking with Shawn, he mentioned that he had actually purchased a box of Warcraft starter decks awhile ago and just had them sitting in a closet. That’s all I needed to hear, I went to dacardworld.com and purchased a booster box of the expansion set, War of the Elements (for only $18!!!!). After playing the game a few times, the “CCG wall” of the rut crumbled and I could see daylight. I found myself scouring the internet checking out deck lists and strategies. The game is so well-designed and fun that even in death, that still to this day people actively play it and write articles about it. It was only pulled off of the market because Blizzard decided to go with a bare bones digital version of the game, that we know as Hearthstone.
Ok, so one wall of the rut down, one to go. But you might be saying to yourself, “Blondie, I don’t even play CCG’s, ya nerd!” Ok, ok, point taken, so how did I beat the video game rut? I managed to crawl out of the rut by doing a few different things. First, I unplugged my 360. It was symbolic in a way. I was unplugging the source of my boredom. None of the games were doing it for me so why would I have it connected? In its place I plugged in my Playstation 2 which had been previously collecting dust on a shelf in my game room. Ok, so I replaced the console that was boring me with another console that I hadn’t played in a long time. What now? I turned to eBay to find some games that I hadn’t played yet. The kicker was that they couldn’t be games in the genres that I usually favor. So no shooters and no 2D fighters as that would just be like playing the same games that I already had. So I picked out Dragon Quest 8 and Odin Sphere. Usually I tend to not buy as many RPGs as fighters and shooters because of the time commitment involved, but in this case, I was desperate. Games are essentially my only hobby, so without that satisfaction of sitting down after a rough day of work and just unwinding with an hour of gaming, I was slowly becoming miserable. After playing DQ 8 (Dragon Quest not Dairy Queen), I felt the depression lift..I couldn’t get enough of the game, the gameplay was decent as well as the story. Once again, I found myself on eBay hunting down other Dragon Quest games. I ended up purchasing DQ 4, 5, 6 and 9. There was now a huge crack in the last remaining wall of the rut. Then I popped in Odin Sphere. The wall exploded. If you have never played Odin Sphere finish this article and go buy it. Now. You will not regret it. But I digress as this isn’t a review for Odin Sphere. (Seriously though, it’s an amazing game.)
Ok, so let’s review how I beat my video game rut. I removed the source of my frustration (aka my 360), plugged in another system that I hadn’t played in a really long time, went and found some games in a genre that IS NOT one that usually I dabble in. Now let’s review how I broke out of the CCG rut. I removed the source of my frustration (aka my MTG collection), researched other games that I have never tried before and picked one out. See the pattern? When you find yourself in a rut, take a step back from your normal gaming habits and think outside of the box. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and try games that you ordinarily wouldn’t give a second look to. Whether it’s a game in a genre that you usually pass on, or a discontinued card game. Who knows you might find something worthwhile. I know I did.