Image by Flickr user jDevaun

Using Games to Get You in the Mood to…Play Games

Image by Flickr user jDevaun
Image by Flickr user jDevaun

Many of us have been there. You know that some gaming time is coming your way, be it an hour or seven, and you psych yourself up for it. You plan to jam through game after game after game! Defeating old bosses, facing new ones! Finishing that one game from your backlog that’s been bothering you, starting up that new game that you’ve been meaning to get to! You know that your gaming session is going to be EPIC!

But then that fateful hour arrives AND…you feel a little bit meh about the whole thing. Maybe you’re feeling distracted. Maybe you’re feeling tired. Maybe you just can’t get your head in the game ( no pun intended). Whatever the reason, you simply don’t feel like playing. Yet you know you just can’t let the time go by doing something else. You had it all planned out that you were going to use this time to game, and by golly, that’s what you’re going to do! Maybe all you need is a little push. Something less monumental than that heavy action shooter or 60-hour RPG to get your gaming gears greased and rolling. There are plenty of games out there that can be easily stopped and started, that don’t require a ton of brainpower off the bat, and that can serve as the perfect segues into more massive gaming showdowns. When I’m not quite in the mood to game despite having set aside time to do so, here are a few tactics I use to get the gaming juices flowing.

Return to any freemium game I might have in progress

At the moment, this includes The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. Though they don’t do much to elevate my gamer cred, briefly interacting with these familiar virtual worlds is usually enough to get me going. I’m way too cheap to actually buy stuff for these games though, so I usually end up ending my inhabitants of Springfield and Quahog on whatever tasks appear for them, rearranging the look of the cities, or picking up a few more free trees and benches to place here and there. And honestly, when new quests/updates pop up in these games, I look forward to playing through them. These games are silly and fun, and fun should be the whole point of gaming anyway!

Visit my old friend Mario

Despite Nintendo’s numerous overhauls and facelifts to its core product, the basic premise of any Super Mario game has remained the same from the start — run, jump, and smash your way through a variety of themed levels. These games are tremendously satisfying because they really don’t take a ton of effort. Plus, once you beat the game, all the previous level remain open for your to revisit of your own accord. I’ll often load up a game (right now usually New Super Mario Bros. Wii U/New Super Luigi Wii U — the only games I have for my Wii U [sad trombone].) and play through a couple easy levels just to get my gaming mindset in the right place. And hey, maybe I’ll even retrieve a special item for find a new path along the way. Bonus!

Pick up a sidequest or two

I’ve kind of lost track of how many side quests I’ve left behind in the longer games that I’ve completed. Needless to say, I’ve got plenty from which to choose depending on the console that’s at my disposal. If I’m on the Xbox 360, I’ll head to Read Dead Redemption and try, again, to win at poker (good thing I don’t gamble in real life). If I’m on the PS3, I’ll pop in Skyrim for some roaming and gathering. If I’m on the Wii, I’ll usually go to an old Paper Mario save file and pick up with a long, forgotten quest (I think I’ve been trying to get 100% complete in that game for several years now). But whatever the game, finishing old side quests comes with a nice sense of accomplishment, a feeling that extends well into whatever game you intended to play in the first place and can motivate you further.


When you don’t feel like gaming but want to anyway, how do you get yourself motivated to play? What games serve as your precursors to large-scale gaming sessions?

4 thoughts on “Using Games to Get You in the Mood to…Play Games”

  1. Animal crossing is one of my preferred ‘spend a bit of time on mindless progress’ games, and since it’s portable, it works when I’m travelling too. I can gather new fruit and fossils for the day and check the shops if I have 10-15 minutes. If I have longer, I can go over to the island to make some extra money, check out other people’s streetpass homes, and actually make progress in the game.

    1. I’ve been thinking that after my Pokemon venture, I might try Animal Crossing, which I’ve never played. Have heard it’s a fun “pick up, put down” game. Good to know that’s really the case. :)

  2. I tend to play games that don’t take too much of my time like Animal Crossing. It’s one of those games that’s easy and I can sort of come back to anytime I want. I do feel it helps in playing something rather than nothing, but I do often prefer to play something more involved than that.

    1. There’s no harm in mindless progress, not in the least. Long, involved games require a real time commitment — even now, with Metroid Prime, I won’t play it unless I have at least a full free hour; can’t make any decent progress in less time. So having some quick, simple games in queue really helps when the gaming bug bites just a little.

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