I've recently begun to truly appreciate easy gaming experiences to relieve stress. I used to love challenging games, and would get a huge sense of completion and success. Some early examples of this were games like Jet Force Gemini when I was a kid, or Devil May Cry 1 and 3 when I was a little older. I've also been a huge fan of fighting games, which have such a high skill-ceiling, there's always a stronger challenger out there. Games which I perceived as too easy I would get bored of very quickly, unless the story was incredible.
However, I'm in my 30s now and found that my priorities have shifted. Especially after a gruelling day of thinking-heavy work, I just want to spend gaming time relaxing. I used to really look down upon games like the Uncharted series, or the 'Generic Open World' type games. When Breath of the Wild came out, I hated it, because I found it way too easy. But there's context there — I played that game when I went back to grad school to get a master's — so I had the time to treat it like a 'hardcore' game of old. I wish I'd played it around my full-time job, I'm sure I would have loved it.
Now I just want to play a Total War campaign on easy mode. Or just cruise around in Dragon Quest XI, killing monsters and leveling up, taking the story at my own pace. I've just bought the Uncharted Remastered trilogy. I'm really looking forward to a fun story with easy gameplay and entertaining set pieces. I don't have the mindset any more for trying to master the latest Devil May Cry on Legendary Dark Knight mode (I played it through once for the story on Normal — that'll do for me).
Any other gamers on here who have hung up their 'hardcore' gloves?
EDIT: Great responses. One of them has really stuck with me actually. It's by u/PerhapsCat. I'll paste it here:
"I'm a bit mixed on this, being unable to attempt challenges generally makes me think whether I suffered a head injury recently. If I'm too tired, then why not go lay down for a while instead of staring at a monitor and being on auto-pilot? I generally associate the removal of challenges (this can also extend to watching media that's only familiar and doesn't present any depth of inquiry) as a decline in cognition that's seen with aging. Being physically there but mentally absent is a thing that creeps on with age."
This has got me thinking about how gaming might not be the best form of destressing. Maybe the best form is just sleeping? Maybe if I slept, or napped, or whatever, I would have the mental energy to load up DMCV and complete the Bloody Palace, like my glory days as a 14 year old?? Time will tell!
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