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Choice paralysis


FiveFootNinja
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I tend to get lost in my Steam or Twitch library browsing for something to play and not really getting anywhere. It kind of depends on what I'm looking for - sometimes I want to play something different but not something that's going to be a massive time commitment, or maybe I want to try something new but also something that will be enjoyable as opposed to being a chore to play. I have a certain threshold of "I could be spending this time playing something more fun" and so it can make me pretty picky, but that does mean that I potentially try more games in a shorter span of time, and so I'm more likely to find something that sticks.

 

As for variety, I tend to always have a handful of classics that I can always fall back on if I'm not in the mood for this one single experience that I've just picked up and is now ruling over my free time. :P The more genres I can cover in my handful of classics, the easier things get, but they're things like Outrun 2006, Downwell, Super Mario Bros 3, Enter The Gungeon, Hotline Miami - "immediate" experiences that have just about enough variety between them. 

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Same in all aspects of life these days... Too much choice everywhere. Mobile phone suppliers/contracts, energy supplies, insurance it just goes on and on. 

 

Think to a degree technology is to blame for this makes it easier for companies to push more and more things and combinations out there. Games and media are just other facets of the same problem.

 

Not sure how to manage it really. Think your approach is as good as any have a personal list.

 

With films these days I just click on something that sounds remotely interesting and see how it goes. No lists. 

 

Games just have GanePass and find something that is of interest and is short enough to complete over a few sittings. Don't bother with the epic games with grinding anymore. Last game I tried like this was Red Dead 2 a few months back and it got to the camp bit where your have to do jobs etc to earn money and decided it was tedious. Just give me the fun already. 

 

Just has a play of the original Crackdown again and it's refreshing again. Just a world to mess about in and create some carnage.

 

Suppose you have to be your own filter these days and just find something you enjoy doing.   

 

 

 

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Netflix. There's so much content I can not make a proper choice, I find myself more and more sticking to what I know - Better Call Saul at the moment - and kind of having Netflix around out of sake of convenience. I barely watch anything, prior to finishing Tiger King the last series I completed was The Haunting of Hill House when it premiered. I started many series, but my tolerance is low nowadays - if it does not grab me I am out instead of sticking around because FOMO.

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It's funny because I really don't get it elsewhere in my life particularly, just games/entertainment/media stuff.

 

Just thinking aloud, perhaps it's because typically these decisions are mostly right at the end of the day/when tired and my brain just decides they aren't important enough to process. When I've had a day off work to myself I can't remember struggling to decide what to throw time in. I might start trying to make a decision on what to do earlier in the day (like on my lunch break) and commit to it so it's done and dusted. Then when I get to it at 10-11pm it isn't even something to think about and see how I get on.

 

 

Quote

Last game I tried like this was Red Dead 2 a few months back and it got to the camp bit where your have to do jobs etc to earn money and decided it was tedious. Just give me the fun already.

 

I have Red Dead 2 in the drawer after putting it down at exactly the same point as it happens. I really didn't hate it and keep thinking I'll go back to it sometime, but just felt a bit "come on, you are really really pretty but throw me an enjoyment bone here"

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everything is like the first time you got a flash cart for a GBA, or your mate got a tape to tape recorder so you could copy spectrum games (but not Daley Thompson's decathlon with its hyper load, grrrr)

 

too much choice everywhere meaning you dip in and out to a bit of everything for fear of missing out on the 'best thing' but subsequently you enjoy a lot if not all of it far less.

 

all the music on streaming, all the tv on an assortment of netflix/amazon/sky, game pass, huge choice of shop games for Switch - content is plentiful and everywhere.

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Come to think of it, I have it now while playing The Surge 2. Cracking game, I am very near the end but have some tedious side quests that I do not need to do. At all, like. There's no reward worth my time and effort, and the side quests are not interesting or engaging. So instead of doing fun stuff like completing the story I am walking around  park where I already killed most if not all enemies looking for 7 audio logs. Because a side quest demands it.

 

I can say no. I should say no. But here we are.

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Personally I think games are a bit too involved and if you've had a busy day anyway last thing you want to do is have a feeling of "going out to work again". Think that is why I stick to short fun experiences these days. Although stuck the original Crackdown on this afternoon and got hooked again... nothing beats leaping around buildings quickly levelling up and blowing things up.... Never feels grindy, controls are easy to pick up and just a blast of fun. Still feels fresh.

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11 minutes ago, MattyP said:

Personally I think games are a bit too involved and if you've had a busy day anyway last thing you want to do is have a feeling of "going out to work again". Think that is why I stick to short fun experiences these days. Although stuck the original Crackdown on this afternoon and got hooked again... nothing beats leaping around buildings quickly levelling up and blowing things up.... Never feels grindy, controls are easy to pick up and just a blast of fun. Still feels fresh.

I can only keep one game on the go on any system. I'd love to play Paper Beasts, but I've still got too much to do in No Man's Sky (and will have for a long while now). On PC I still play the Spelunky daily challenge, and whilst I've got loads of other games lined up to play afterwards if I have any spare time I might just return to Spelunky, because I know it like the back of my hand. Nothing to learn - just a chance to enjoy it some more.

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We had a very similar thread to this one in OT not too long ago with lots of people giving advice. I'll try to find it.

 

Anyway, with games, I keep track of the order that I've bought them in and play the oldest ones first, unless something new that comes out which I get at launch. 

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1 hour ago, FiveFootNinja said:

 

I have Red Dead 2 in the drawer after putting it down at exactly the same point as it happens. I really didn't hate it and keep thinking I'll go back to it sometime, but just felt a bit "come on, you are really really pretty but throw me an enjoyment bone here"

 

Specifically on Red Dead Redemption 2 - I felt exactly the same way around Chapter 3. I noticed on the dedicated thread that a lot of people gave up around this point too. But then there were other voices describing just how wonderful the world was and that if you approached it in another way, like it was a cowboy/history sim, it blossomed. To cut a long story short I persevered and it was the worst decision of my gaming life. I'm currently now on Chapter 6 and it never becomes fun. I chip away at a mission now and again out of sheer bloody-mindedness, and I WILL finish it, but if it hasn't clicked don't bother.

 

(No disrespect to anyone who loves it, fair play to you).

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1 hour ago, FiveFootNinja said:

Just thinking aloud, perhaps it's because typically these decisions are mostly right at the end of the day/when tired and my brain just decides they aren't important enough to process. When I've had a day off work to myself I can't remember struggling to decide what to throw time in.


Yeah I think time of day is a factor for sure. There’s a lot to be said for broadcast TV in that regard, as it makes the decision for you when you can’t be bothered. I’ve watched so many odd films and interesting stuff late at night that I never would have clicked on but ended up watching because it was just...on. 
 

Although saying that, late night TV isn’t really like that anymore. I’d love Netflix to have some kind of “live” channel based on my interests. 

 

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I have this with everything it’s one of the worst things about my ADHD IMO.


I partially get around it by really applying willpower to make a decision on what game/book/film/tv to sit down and try to enjoy and focus on. 
 

it sucks.

 

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4 hours ago, FiveFootNinja said:

a combination of SkyQ, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+


There’s one problem. If I had any advice it would be to strip it all down. Do you need them all at the same time?

 

I also think making a game list is too much like work. Just shoot from the hip and stick to it. Bin it if it’s not grabbed you and move on. Only keep one or two games installed and try and focus on one game or show at a time. If you jump about too much it will be harder to be honest with yourself that you actually like it or not and you’ll end up with the same paralysis.


Obviously ymmv but that’s what I try and do. Let’s face it, we were all happiest when we just had one console and one or two games for Christmas and Birthdays. It’s one of the reasons people loved the Switch so much when it came out. The lack of all the media stuff was actually quite refreshing. 

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7 minutes ago, Sarlaccfood said:

Let’s face it, we were all happiest when we just had one console and one or two games for Christmas and Birthdays. It’s one of the reasons people loved the Switch so much when it came out. The lack of all the media stuff was actually quite refreshing. 

 

Absolutely this. Less is more. I've stripped everything back all I have is my PC and a Switch how. On the Switch I have a bunch of games that I can pick up and play for 30mins at a time. The PC just has GamePass and my Steam stuff on there. Just tend to focus on games that I find fun personally rather than following all the hype out there all the time. Oh and don't worry about buying stuff on say Steam in sales and not playing it. Obviously try not to buy it in the first place but don't beat yourself up if you never play it. Just take things out of your library you are never likely to play.

 

Also have my old 360 around that I play most at the moment strangely. So the Switch might eventually go too. :)

 

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2 hours ago, Sarlaccfood said:

Do you need them all at the same time?

Need is a very strong word, but I do want them all*. There are some things I don't have paralysis over and many of those are only available on one platform (e.g. Formula 1 on Sky, Mandalorian on Disney+, etc... ). Plus having a 4yo means we do genuinely get value out of them across the board between the family (arguably Sky less so but it works well and is the multi-room hub of the rest to be honest). I just need to manage it better. 

 

*I do actually have Apple TV+ too (it was free) but who watches that! ;) 

 

 

2 hours ago, Sarlaccfood said:

Let’s face it, we were all happiest when we just had one console and one or two games for Christmas and Birthdays.

This took me right back to my 6th birthday when I got the Sega Master System with Transbot and put what felt like 1000 hours into that game. I was too young to be very good at it really but I remember my parents reaction when months into ownership I showed them that I could complete the first level from muscle memory with my eyes shut. I'm not even sure I liked it that much to be honest but it was 50% of my games catalogue at the time! :lol:

 

 

Thanks for the general input everyone, it's got the old brain matter ticking over. Just reflecting on my thoughts... 

 

I think the idea of having my "next to play/watch" shortlist for different types of things is a good step as it means I'm choosing from a much smaller selection in the moment, and allows me to delegate the choices for each category to when I have time/can be bothered/am inspired - i.e. it doesn't become a block to actually taking action.

 

In some ways this is almost like taking a kanban/agile approach to it - have a big list of things you want to do but don't worry about, take a small set of priorities and make a manageable/actionable list, do those, repeat. I can't believe I hadn't thought about it that way previously given I work in software development. :doh:

 

Also the more I think about it the more committing to something earlier in the day makes sense. My wife and I already do it subconsciously (e.g. we sometimes talk during the day about what we are going to watch once our son is in bed, etc...), my wife also does it with food for exactly the same reason. Also it means I can frame things as "what am I most looking forward to doing later" which I think is a positive perspective rather than a "what am I going to rush/squeeze in now" mindset.

 

Ultimately I'm mainly guilty of over-thinking things in general... not the first time I've been told that. But I know my weakness so I'll just have to roll with it. :) 

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2 hours ago, Jamie John said:

We had a very similar thread to this one in OT not too long ago with lots of people giving advice. I'll try to find it.

 

Anyway, with games, I keep track of the order that I've bought them in and play the oldest ones first, unless something new that comes out which I get at launch. 


Strangely I’m the opposite but for the same reason - I just try to go with the flow and just play whatever I most recently bought, try not to pressure myself into finishing something I bought a long time ago but wasn’t really enjoying. 

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17 minutes ago, Popo said:


Strangely I’m the opposite but for the same reason - I just try to go with the flow and just play whatever I most recently bought, try not to pressure myself into finishing something I bought a long time ago but wasn’t really enjoying. 

 

I'm talking about games I bought a long time ago that I haven't even started yet. At the moment, for example, I'm playing through game I bought on about June last year that I haven't even unwrapped/booted up/opened before now. It's quite rare nowadays that I'll buy a game and play it immediately. Most of the time they just get shelved until it's their 'turn' to be played. I've found it's the only way to avoid the paralysis that the OP mentions, and also to ensure that o actually play the games I buy. My goal is to get this playing waiting period down from about 10 months to 3...

 

Edit: if you're strict with it then it can be a good deterrent from buying more games that you don't need, as you know that you won't actually be playing them for long time, by which point they'll probably be cheaper. The only games I've been buying recently are Nintendo first party titles because they keep their value well, so I know that if I see a bargain price for one, they won't necessarily be any cheaper in six months' time, say.

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I had a huge bout of this a few months back. It spurred me on to spending an evening going through my Steam/PS4/etc digital libraries and making a list of everything I definitely wanted to play. Turns out - I own a lot of fucking games.

 

Anyway I played about ten of them, was making really good progress, and then bought Animal Crossing and therefore everything is now a disaster oh god why

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In terms of movies and tv shows, for me I realised that there's a difference between having access to a ton of "stuff" on netflix and amazon prime video and having access to the particular movies or shows I might actually want to watch at a specific moment in time.

The novelty of just watching whatever because it's there and included in your cheap subscription doesn't last long and Netflix in particular is extremely short on movies I'd actually choose to pay for and watch, so why would I want to waste my time watching the things they have just because they're available?

I actually think Netflix has been a negative in terms of general movie watching habits. The gap between how cheap and easy it is to consume a bunch of action/horror b movie garbage on netflix and any even mildly obscure "classic" movie more than 2 decades old means people are less and less likely to bother with the latter.

 

I think with games the way we end up with a ton of games we're meh about actually playing is different but the end result is similar. There's this homogenised image of a "gamer" that we constantly see in gaming media etc. It implies that if you like "games" and are a serious "gamer" you'll like every highly rated game, regardless of genre/mood/gameplay mechanics. So you end up buying games dirt cheap in sales etc but then sit down and realise that you still don't like that genre/aesthetic/atmosphere and don't want to spend 50 hours of your life playing the game you spent 3 pounds on in a digital sale.

My favourite games are things like Outrun 2, Afterburner Climax, Burnout 2, Mario 3d World, Zelda Wind Waker. I end up buying things like Metro or Wolfenstein or Bloodborne (sorry) in sales and then never getting anywhere in them, but the sad fact is if I'd actually paid attention to my own tastes I wouldn't have bought them in the first place, heavily discounted or not. I already know my tastes and when I stick to them I do actually tend to play the games I buy. This may mean I play and enjoy some widely despised games like the latest 3d Sonic game or Need for Speed 2015 but won't bother with a widely acclaimed dark/mature game or sim racer etc.

Basically you have to respect your own taste even if it's objectively bad at times..

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I want to play a game:

 

xbox one x, cos that’s the most powerful.

 

40 titles installed, 300 to choose from

 

flick... flick flick flick

 

flick...

 

can I find anything that offers a varied experience of different styles of game play? Or is it “just” shooting, or driving, or running around stabbing people... if I start this can I play it in short bursts? How far am I already, can I remember/figure out what to do/where to go next?

 

it’s horrible. Cos I’ll end up playing a forza horizon game and just drive around for a bit.

 

what I want to do is setup my psvr, but it’s such a faff. But I have about 30 titles, some of which I’ve never played, but the cables and the controllers...

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The trick is to just abandon the idea of optimising. Maybe I missed out on some of the year's most significant, exciting new releases that logic dictates I would probably be really in to, because I was just super zoned out in Death Stranding. Maybe I could've derived more novelty and new ideas and enjoyment per hour by playing a curated selection of the best games, but I sure was being me and exploring a mental and conceptual space that I had some interesting thoughts about.

 

Be impulsive!

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Touching a bit on @partious's point about having loads of stuff vs having the stuff you actually want at the time, and also linked to @Alex W.'s point of being impulsive...

 

While making my lists last night I've realised Game Pass has become an interesting conundrum. I really like it, there are some games I've been dying to play that I've had access too, and there are some that I've discovered that I've enjoyed and never would have played. But, I've definitely got tied a bit into a mindset of "I'm paying for this I should play something on it" and sometimes get sucked into a degree of FOMO if something gets put on the 'leaving soon' list.

 

Essentially it's just become a huge extended and rotating pile of shame and that is never going to work. I haven't bought them all, and I definitely won't love them all. 

 

As such I'm going to go and order a couple of PS4 games that I think actually I'm in the mood for, and try and put Game Pass back on the "Rembrant Video Rentals" shelf (my old local video/game rental shop in my home town 25 odd years ago) and treat it like a catalogue to dip into when I want something new, rather than a massive 'to play' list.

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I usually have up to 4 games on the go at once but spread out over different systems - 1-2 games on handheld, 1 game on PC, 1-2 games on Xbox. I really struggle to decide whether to start a new game and what to start when I'm done with one, or all, of them (a few rounds of Halo online or grinding in EDF 2025 are my go to filler games) but otherwise I've conditioned myself to say: "These are the games that I'm playing" and whichever one I play depends on whether I have the TV to myself, or I've been on the PC in the evening and want to play before I turn in. Basically the decision on what to play is usually decided by where I'm sitting at the end of the day.

 

If I can't decide what game I want to start next out of a shortlist and it takes me longer than a day to decide I just start the one that comes first on the game pass / steam listing or first along on the shelf. Another choice taken care of for me.

 

With Game Pass, I install way more than I actually play. Lots of stuff just sits un-played on my xbox or PC for extended lengths of time until I delete it. You can't play them all. It's impossible.

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Think that's the best way of looking at GamePass. I've played through a couple.of games this month on it I really enjoyed. Don't feel compelled to play it all on there. 

 

Personally really enjoy it always something to have a go on and no risk... If you don't like something you've not spent £30-40 on it. Just try something different. Always something that interests to try and other things I'd never have bought too.... Going forward it's probably the main way I will play games. It's only £4 pcm on the PC too.... No brainer really.

 

 

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