Gaming concentration

A few posts ago I was writing about a particular kind of focus regarding my gaming. I listened yesterday to a Mozilla podcast about a different kind of focus: issues with concentration while reading.

The podcast talks about reading and how the Internet-era and modern technology can interrupt the act of reading or even the desire to read traditional long-form texts such as novels. I’ve noticed this as a growing issue for my gaming hobby. My phone is usually near me while on my computer so any incoming alerts from texts, emails or other notifications can easily distract me and potentially breaking any immersion I might have in the game at that moment. Although I had most notifications switched down low or off completely on my old phone, I’ve just this week switched phones and it’ll take a while to calm down the storm of notifications that all the apps bombard me with. This change has made it very obvious how much of a distraction a smart phone can be.

The mobile phone is not the only source of such temptations to multi-task or otherwise not actively give a game my full attention. Having a browser open is easy and normal for me as I have a gaming laptop with a monitor attached – with two screens I can play a game with the browser on my other screen. That’s actually fairly common behaviour I read, indeed, with some games it’s pretty much a necessity. While I was writing a comment on Everquest 2 over at Inventory Full, I was reminded of how much I need a wiki to play later content in that game to do standard or simple things. If I’m having to constantly dip in and out of a list of instructions then that isn’t necessarily great for my immersion.

I’ve been through phases of watching Twitch channels, Youtube videos or having social media or Reddit open on the second screen. Playing Star Wars the Old Republic again has disciplined me to concentrate on my gaming more solidly. With its frequent cut scene dialogues and overlapping plots for class, planet and faction the game demands your attention more than other MMORPGs. I’m aware that the temptation to keep dipping out of the game to look at other stuff is still there, however. I think it’s rather good practice to focus purely on gaming as much as possible in order to get maximum enjoyment out of it.

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4 Responses to Gaming concentration

  1. Nogamara says:

    You’re right on so many points, but I don’t think I’m doing it wrong when active engagement is not the thing I’m looking for at that moment – maybe I do like a little grinding in my games, because often I don’t want active dialogs or “just the game” – I am happiest when I can speedily zip through zones and spacebar through that dialog I’ve seen 5 times in the last few times and listen to a podcast. I guess there’s a certain comfort in doing things you already know and that are calming and not exciting. Playing through (good) content for the first time is exciting, and right now I’m loving that in Battle for Azeroth – but when I’m doing my weeklies in SWTOR for the hundredth time (not exaggerating for CZ-198 or Ziost…) faster is better, preferably with a podcast on. On the other hand I just can’t listen to a podcast without doing anything, it’s just too boring 😛

  2. Shintar says:

    One more reason for me to be glad not to have a smartphone… 😛 I’m the same with the “watching/listening to things on the second monitor” though. I think it’s one more reason I struggle to replay KotFE/KotET – with SWTOR’s older style questing, I can at least pause whatever I was listening to while picking up missions in the quest hub, then continue listening while I travel around / do the objectives, but the chapter format tends to alternate between cut scenes and two minutes of combat almost constantly, which makes it more demanding in a way.

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