A man visits his therapist.
"So what is troubling you today?"
"Well, it may sound like a trivial thing, but I am no longer having fulfillment with the thing I like to do most."
"Well, this is definitely not trivial. The intimacy between a man and woman is a biologically important thing as well as..."
"Doctor, I'm talking about video games."
"...*Ahem* Yes, well, why do you think you don't enjoy them anymore."
"I've come up with two potential reasons."
"Please, do share."
"Perhaps I am now too old to submit to my imagination and enter the worlds and characters I was able to do when I was younger. I seem to want to quantify the games I play and often find myself rushing through them as if they are something I must be accomplished and nothing more. Achievements and trophies only seem to exacerbate the problem. Nowadays, to decide what game I want to play I often look at my gamerscore and see which game needs improvement."
"Oh my, that does sound miserable."
"It is. But the second thing I've come up with is that because I look up video game news on a daily basis as well as read video game magazines and listen to podcasts, I already know what is going to happen in a game before it even comes out. Fox example, I was playing through Gears of War 3 today, the end of one of my favorite trilogies ever..."
"You can only have one favorite, by definition."
"Sorry, continue please."
"Anyway, as with many games I have played lately, it was a frustrating and often a melancholy experience. Here are some of my thoughts while playing the game. 'Hey look it's Carmine. I wonder if he's going to live or die in this game? I remember the poll where Epic let people choose his fate by either buying a "Carmine must die" t-shirt for their avatar or a "Let Carmine Live" shirt. I wonder if this game will be as good as Uncharted 3. That's all that's talked about on the N4G forums every time there is an Uncharted or Gears news article. The graphics are good but I wonder if the Xbox 360 has reached it's limits. Yet another common news discussion. I've heard that Microsoft will release a new console in 2-3 years. Wow, look at that lame character running animation during this particular part. Oh, here's that weapon Cliff Blezinsky kept writing about on Twitter. There are very few surprises now when I play games.' Trailers are terrible as well. That epic part in Uncharted 2 that I was excited about? I rushed through it when the actual game came out because I had already seen it in a trailer of some gameplay footage. One of the most blatant offenders of this is Batman Arkham City, which was a game I was looking forward to this year, but not anymore."
"And why is that?"
"Rocksteady, the company that develops it, has already told the public everything about the game except the final boss. And they'll probably reveal that next week."
"Oh dear. So why do you seek out these video game news websites and magazines if they seem to to spoil the experience for you."
"I was wondering that myself, doctor. It's an addiction I guess. It's hard to avoid. I know I'm not the only one. But when a game like God of War III comes out THREE years after the second one it's hard not to devour every bit of news that comes out about it. And while I look for information about that I'll see something about another game and it leads to a chain reaction. I end up believing that I must know every little detail about every game I'm interested in."
"So, if you were able to completely avoid all video game news, then do you think you would have fulfillment when you play these games."
"That, doctor is the root of the problem. If I thought that was the case I would have stopped a long time ago. I like to compare it to smoking. Why can't people stop smoking? Yes, the nicotine addiction, obviously, but smoking a cigarette makes them feel incredibly good. The feeling of smoking is perhaps even better to them than quitting and living a healthy life. It's similar with video game news. While watching gameplay footage for a game like Dead Space 2 (and in the process ruining a cool sequence in the game) I have a good time. I get my high of finding out something about the game before it comes out. I also feel like I have power, like I'm more up-to-date that everyone else in the world."
"But in the process, you ruin the original experience that you would have playing the game with no prior knowledge."
"Well I have a simply strategy for you to try."
"Why not go for a few months without looking up any type of information for video games. No news sites, no magazines and no podcasts."
"You know, I may just do that. Obviously it won't matter with all of the games coming out this year that I already know about but perhaps for the beginning of next year."
"There you go, and pass on the strategy to other people you know who video-game."
"Will do, thanks Doctor."