Gaming Anxiety Triggers

The Top 5 Anxiety Triggers for Gamers

Gamers tend to be an anxious bunch generally. Whether it is in life or while gaming, something always triggers the feeling of anxiety in the chest and the heightened heart rate. Here are the top 5 triggers for me as a gamer.

1 – Waiting on a delivery 

As gamers, we do most of our shopping online. You get the best prices, early delivery and sometimes pre-order benefits. However the actual anxiety that waiting on an order brings is unbearable. We like to think we are the master race when it comes to technology, but here is where too much tech is a very bad thing. You order some hardware, you get a tracking number and the torture begins. It’s in China, it’s in South Korea, Oh No! It’s been held up in customs. I always hated that country. The old way of order and forget was so much less stressful. You just waited for it to come. Now the fact that your order is being held in a warehouse in Germany, for no apparent reason drives your anxiety levels up. Will it arrive on time? Will it be damaged? Will someone just leave it sitting there for no reason? Truth is, it will probably arrive on time or at very worst a day later. In gaming terms a day later is a disaster but not fatal.

2 – I’ve made the wrong choice

Choice is a big thing as a gamer. In the early days consoles were relatively more expensive, meaning you could only have one. Here the anxiety begins again, which console should I buy? In my day the main decision was N64 or PS1. Both, were vastly different and had many exclusive games. I picked N64, but was always envious and worried about my choice, as I saw game after game, that I wanted appear on the other system. It wasn’t until Goldeneye came out that the other users became jealous of me and began to question their choice. Now the choice is much more decadent. Most hardcore gamers have all the major platforms available to them, meaning the choice now is what platform to get the game on? Do I get it on PS4 because of the slight graphical fidelity? Do I get it on Xboxone because I prefer the controller and the living room TV where I have the console set up? Do I not bother and wait for myself to finally join the PC gaming brigade? All first world problems but unfortunately the anxiety they bring are real.

3 – I’m Wasting my Time

Gamers don’t switch off. Their brains never stop, when they are working they think about gaming, when they are jogging they listen to podcasts about gaming and worst of all, when they are gaming they think about playing something else. Welcome to the world of the min-maxer. The definition is, getting the maximum out of the minimum amount of time. In gaming it is whether or not you are putting you precious time into playing the right game. Do you use your two-hour block of gaming time to unwind with some FIFA or do you continue your questing in Witcher 3? Both are brilliant ways to spend your time, but as a gamer the guilt of playing one game is the neglect of the other. When you have maybe 5 active games this anxiety hits a level that deters your enjoyment. It actually stops you buying a game because you think it will ruin your other games or sit in the dreaded pile of shame.

4 – Online gaming

Online gaming is already a hostile place. The reason most people game is to escape the pressures and stress of modern life and the interactions with difficult people. Online gaming brings with it a whole new batch of difficult people. When you hit the age of late twenties, online gaming suddenly becomes a different place. You don’t want to be friends with people you haven’t met and you certainly don’t want to play your favourite games against them. When you were younger the buzz was all about getting home from work and getting a good session of COD or Battlefield in. Hopefully you had a friend you knew in real life, that you could pair up with before throwing yourself head first into the arena. You welcomed the hostility, it brought out the best in you. Then out of nowhere something changed. Younger people started being better than you. You knew this because you could hear their squeals of victory down your headset. Desperation sets in and you buy a different controller, surround sound headphones and upgrade your internet speed. It doesn’t matter and now you have the anxiety of letting your team down. You go from a positive kill to  death ration to being .50 if you are lucky. Soon it becomes too much and as you get older you haven’t the time to keep up with the younger generation who have no job or family life. You also feel, that you have to get the most out of every minute you play online with your friends. No loner do you have the luxury of a few hours a night. Now it is a few hours a week. The anxiety builds again as you feel you are neglecting them if you aren’t on at the same time.

5 – How much did this cost?

Money causes anxiety to everyone not just gamers. Gaming is an expensive hobby, there’s no escaping that. When you buy a new console or game you immediately get buyer’s remorse. You need to balance the hobby out with other things in your life. You may want the latest game on day of release, but if you aren’t going to play it for a few weeks, you need to get over the addiction and buy it when you are going to play it. This is how the hoarding and collections start. It begins with the pile of shame. The pile of games you buy on release, but don’t play immediately. Every gamer as one, if they say they don’t they are lying to you. Some may even justify an extremely large pile as a collection. In my experience this is a lie. The only games that should remain in a collection are bona-fide collectors editions or games that you enjoy so much, they deserve to remain in your collection. Other games are traded to offset the cost of the lifestyle. My most extravagant purchase was the day one editions of Xboxone and PS4. They occurred within a week and you can imagine the price. Luckily it was my birthday that month and previously I had traded in almost everything I could. I was prepared and despite the bottom line price was ready and survived afterwards.

Those are my anxiety triggers as a gamer. Have I missed any of yours?

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