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Opinions 11 November 2019, 12:32

author: Michael Grygorcewicz

Intemperately devours games, movies, comics, books, TV series – everything that has a good story and doesn't run away. Also a fan of wolves, Metal Gears, brawlers, and buying old games he will never have time to play.

Call of Duty or Entertainment – When Playing Video Games Becomes a Full-Time Job?

Let it go - when you feel that your unlimited hours of pure grind, daily activities, daily challenges and in-game tasks connected with time-limited content have turned into a full-time job with a miserable salary.

A few months after the release of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled kart racing video game, I have finally made a tough decision to quit playing this title. So far I have spent at least one hour a day, and sometimes even three hours a day, on daily missions. Also, by taking part in such activities I could use the maximum rate of currency multipliers which were booked for a given day.

The impulse to drop the game was the thought that I don't even feel any emotions towards this title anymore. For many days (before I've abandoned the game) I've been launching new races and literally switched off – I've been driving like on an autopilot, without getting involved and I've lost my interest in race results. To be honest, I was unaware of what I was actually doing back then. The only thing that mattered was to make the daily target, so I wouldn't lose my points in this season's Grand Prix or any bonus coins. Playing this video game has ceased to be an entertainment and instead has become an unpleasant duty performed to achieve a prize. It resembled a job – and it was very lame, because the salary was poor, activities were monotonous and overall feeling seemed unsatisfying.

CTR is no exception here. There are many titles on the market which provide lots of fun at the beginning of the day, but at some point they turn into a fiery harsh labor. When you realize that you have just fallen into the trap of such an imprisoning title, it is a reliable protective signal of our mind which whispers the magical word: 'enough!' – then, you can try out another video game.

Crash Team Racing becomes boring after a few hundred races, but character skins can only be obtained by playing regularly. - Call of Duty or Entertainment – When Playing Video Games Becomes a Full-Time Job? - dokument - 2019-11-11
Crash Team Racing becomes boring after a few hundred races, but character skins can only be obtained by playing regularly.

Currency is the most precious gift

Remake of Crash Team Racing was my newest time-consuming video game, but it wasn't the only time waster I've played in recent years. Although after getting involved in Ultima Online MMORPG over a decade ago I swore to myself that I would never be abducted by such time-consuming games ever again (and from that moment on I avoided all MMO titles as much as I could), game developers (or maybe publishers?) found ways to lure and suck me in the new single player and quasi-single player titles.

I was playing video games every Friday for last few years. For example, I've played Street Fighter V for a period of one and a half year, until Capcom has decided to devastate the in-game economy which ruined game mechanics and made any further gameplay completely unprofitable (and by the way this changes totally discouraged me to this extraordinary fighting game). I'm still launching Hitman 2 from time to time to eliminate the elusive targets available for a limited period of time. In the meantime, I periodically got kidnapped by some lame, but incredibly addictive, mobile game. The affair with the latter usually lasts a month or two, and when I finally manage to quit my temporary addiction, I usually get the feeling that I have wasted an indecent amount of hours on the low-level entertainment, which has a form of complete time killer.

In mobile games, daily challenges are one of the most-common features. - Call of Duty or Entertainment – When Playing Video Games Becomes a Full-Time Job? - dokument - 2019-11-11
In mobile games, daily challenges are one of the most-common features.

I must admit that Pokemon GO literally sucked me in. Something that initially was just an excuse to go for a walk, breathe fresh air and stretch my legs quickly became a tedious duty. Due to the rewards system that awarded you for daily catches of pocket monsters or interacting with Pokestop, the journey itself didn't count anymore, but only the mandatory checkpoints. It didn't matter if there was a rainfall outside, you just had to go, because in seven days on a row you were able to obtain even more bonuses.

When they introduced the task system, it even got worse. I planned my missions in such a way that I would waste as little time as possible – so I wouldn't miss a single day. The same applies to the acquisition of premium currency. Who comes out at 10:00 p.m. to take over the gym under a block of flats just because they have a perfectly calculated number of coins that can be obtained? At one point, I realized that this was no longer a game, but a struggle to survive – this is how I've said goodbye to Pokemon GO.

Patrick ”Petrix" Manelski

There are a lot of people like me. And all these tricks such as daily quests, time-available content, daily log-on bonuses and gradually offered seasons – all under the collective name "game as a service" are very effective at making us, players, totally addicted. These video games and mobile apps are powerful tools used by game developers who want to get our most valuable assets. Game designers are not satisfied only with our money anymore. They also want our spare time. So, there would be nothing left for the competition. They want it as badly as Sauron sought for his ring.

Fear of failure or fear of missing out

Time-limited content is a mechanics based on one of the common society diseases known as FOMO – fear of missing out. It is a syndrome associated mainly with social media, consisting of a constant living in fear that we may miss out on experiences, events or conversations. It manifests itself mainly through compulsive and regular browsing of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other portals. I guess everyone knows it, if not personally, then from the behavior of their friends – checking out Facebook every few minutes, taking a phone to the bathroom (because you never know when you'll get some "important" notification) or having meetings with friends, during which some of your buddies are more interested in Messenger than in companions who are sitting at close proximity.

It's equally easy to get FOMO while playing video games. All we have to do is take the bait of daily log-on bonuses of mobile titles. After that, we will log into the game every day, whether we want it or not, because otherwise we may lose our precious rewards. The longer the chain of log-ins, the higher rewards you may receive, so you cannot stop.

Mortal Kombat XI offers various tower challenges. The most valuable skins and the highest amount of the in-game currency can be obtained in those towers that are in constant rotation – if you miss the moment when you can get what you want, then you've failed. After that, you have to wait some time for another opportunity to get them. - Call of Duty or Entertainment – When Playing Video Games Becomes a Full-Time Job? - dokument - 2019-11-11
Mortal Kombat XI offers various tower challenges. The most valuable skins and the highest amount of the in-game currency can be obtained in those towers that are in constant rotation – if you miss the moment when you can get what you want, then you've failed. After that, you have to wait some time for another opportunity to get them.

It was pretty easy for me to become addicted to Gran Turismo Sport and its daily challenges of driving a certain number of miles. I was encouraged by the fact that completing the required distance was rewarded with a random car. For about a month I was returning to the game in such a scheme, especially since I had a chance to win one of the most expensive vehicles which costs tens of millions of credits.

What's interesting, with time I’ve expanded my daily activities with taking part in various races (which actually were boring and repetitive). These races offered the best conversion rate of earned credits in relation to the amount of time spent. Maybe I'm just addicted to collecting cars, but if I ever return to the game, I'm going to participate in the renewable challenges once again.

Jack "Stranger” Halas

The Grand Prix in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a grind festival where players are tempted by a reward in the form of new character skins that are available only in particular periods of time. There is no pain-complain here – you have to play or they'll be gone. Whether we like them or not it's better to get them right away. Just in case. After all, such an opportunity will never come again. I can kill an elusive target in Hitman 2 only at this very moment – now. You have to do it, cause it would be a pity to skip on such a cool mission and loose the possibility to play it ever again. I was going to watch a movie on Netflix, but in the new Mortal Kombat they've just added a special tower in which you can get one of the unique skins (over a limited time period) and you don't know when it will reappear. As you can guess, I've decided that I'd better focus on getting it before it vanishes.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11

Hitman 2

Hitman 2

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition

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