Monday, 10 February 2014

The Winter Gaming Blues

I wrote this small feature last Winter for Forces Of Geek. It's another one which has been lost in my drafts for months...Despite the fact the sun is shining brightly outside today, it seemed pretty relevant considering I've run out of games to play at the moment...anyway I hope you enjoy it, even if it is slightly out of season. 

Ah, Winter...it's a time when money is tight, the weather has turned on us and we realise that the novelty of Christmas is over because we've played all of the games we received as gifts. Stuck inside with no games to play, it's every gamers nightmare. Yes, the Winter Gaming Blues are upon us!

But fear not my fellow gamers, there's still hope amidst these cold, bleak Winter months. Let me offer you some advice to get through the harshness of the season.

My first suggestion to help you deal with the lack of games is to download some demos. Not only will it give you a chance to test out a game before you get paid but you can also play demos of games that you may have otherwise written off in the past or it may be a game you might not have considered previously. Either way, it's a useful way to determine whether you'll enjoy the full version without spending any money. So, what have you got to lose?

Swapping games with friends is another way to beat the gaming blues. Not only will you have a new game to play but you can also make recommendations to friends, which can be incredibly rewarding. If there's enough of you then you could even organise a swap shop. Spend the extra time you have to make invites with a gaming theme, prepare game related snacks or even a beverage or two (for some amazing recipe ideas check out Drunken Moogle). Alternatively, why not throw a LAN party?

If you prefer your own company (that's a polite way of suggesting you don't have any friends) another way to make the most of the time you have without new games is to get up to date with the ones you already own or try to combat your gaming pile of shame (the games you've almost completed, but not quite).

When you've bested your towering pile, why not go back to your special editions and spend the time perusing the exclusive limited edition art books and read over all of the detailed notes to truly appreciate the effort put into them. Usually, I look them over on release date briefly only to immediately put them aside and focus on the game. By taking the the time to investigate each edition, not only are you getting your moneys worth but you'll also stop your beloved special editions from gathering dust on your shelves.

Another trick to beat the Winter Blues is to try out all of the available multiplayer modes in your games and multiplayer games are fantastic for when you've completed a campaign or a single player story and you'll wonder where the time went if you meet online with your friends (unless you're the person I politely referred to earlier who doesn't have friends, of course). Multiplayer gaming is one of my favourite social interactions.

However, if you prefer a multiplayer game with a story then why not use this time to get stuck into a MMORPG? There are plenty out there and if you're strapped for cash this month then try a free trial or play one that doesn't cost anything at all, there are some pretty decent free ones out there too.

If all of the above fails to lift your mood then I have one final cure for the Winter Gaming Blues, get yourself to the attic, the cupboard under the stairs or to those boxes under your bed, get out your old consoles, blow away the dust and relive some gaming memories by playing old favourites and retro classics. You'll curse yourself for not doing this sooner and will wonder why on Earth you ever put them in to storage!

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