don't take a video game too seriously

Undoubtedly, one of my favorite games this year has been Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’ve discussed my love of the permadeath mechanic before, so I won’t dive into that too much here. However, this has led to bigger problems. Namely, I’ve realized I’ve been taking the game way too seriously, and as a result, I’m not enjoying it as much as I should be.

For a bit of background on my problem, on my second mission in which losing students was a possibility, I lost one of my favorite characters, Dorothea. As upset as I was, I buckled down and continued with the burden of her loss on my shoulders. A mission or two later, I wound up losing my other favorite Black Eagle, Petra. Given that this was the first Black Beast fight of the franchise, I wound up using Divine Pulse to take another stab at it under the guise of trying to understand the mechanics better. Of course, this meant that Petra came back to life.

Having completed the mission, I was now faced with a dilemma. Petra was alive, but in my mind, she shouldn’t be. So what should I do? The only way I felt I could move on was to purposefully kill her off (a stupid idea, I know). The idea that my file had been tainted grew and festered inside my head, to the point that when I did continue on, I royally screwed up the following mission, resulting in a game over. As much as I hate to admit it, this served as the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I’ve been on hiatus ever since.

seriously play, permadeath

It’s only recently that I realized that losing Petra wasn’t my problem. Permadeath wasn’t my problem either. After all, loss of a character provides a unique emotional reaction that is one of the best parts of the game for many fans. 

My problem was that I was taking the game way too seriously. I was being stubborn about how I played the game, ignoring the game’s mechanics entirely, and growing to hate my time spent with what should’ve been the highlight of my gaming year. Instead of allowing it to enhance my experience as it should have been doing, I was letting the loss of my beloved characters consume me. 

But if there’s one good thing that came from this, it’s that I truly realized the dangers of taking games too seriously. While I haven’t had the time to get back to my first playthrough, I plan to do so soon. When I do, it’ll be with renewed vigor and a newfound consciousness about my emotional tendencies.

permadeath

For instance, I always got frustrated with multiplayer games because inevitably my opponents wipe the floor with me. I don’t have the time or ability to sit there and “get gud” at the latest Call of Duty, and it has made playing these modes pointless for me. All they brought were anger and frustration when they should have been bringing fun and relaxation. While I don’t expect this issue to magically disappear, now that I’m more conscious about my frustrations, I can take better steps to preserve my fun I’m meant to have.

That’s not to say taking games seriously is inherently a bad thing. But it’s important to realize when things are getting out of hand. Frustration and anger are bound to happen while playing games. While some of these emotions can heighten the experience, they can quickly cross over into harming it.

If you want to get the most out of your games, you should be conscious of your own tolerance for these emotions. You should be disciplined enough to pull yourself out of the experience to take a breather before you ruin it altogether. Take it from me. After all, I almost gave up on my favorite Switch game!

Steven Rollins
Steven has been involved in video game reporting for over five years now. In his spare time, he can be found speedrunning or watching as much anime as he possibly can.

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