Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Analysis Paralysis

Is "analysis paralysis" a term you're familiar with, by chance?

If not, assuming you're someone who identifies themselves at least partially as a "gamer", I would wager you've experienced it before without knowing the name for the phenomenon.

Essentially, it's the notion that when presented with too many choices, a person just kind of freezes up and manages to get less accomplished than if they had been presented with fewer choices.  It's not even the concept of multi-tasking, really, because a person isn't necessarily required to actually complete ALL of the available options; it's just the fact that having so many options exist makes choosing difficult, and then second-guessing any decisions a near certainty.


Right now, as a tabletop gamer, I'm glutted with choices.  Within the last 5 years, the industry has exploded, with beautifully rad miniatures popping up all over the damned place, typically accompanying a fun game system that I need to play.  

For a gamer like me... a moderately OCD, attention-craving maniac who wants to play everything and be friends with everyone (until they piss me off too badly, and then I will watch them burn to the ground if I'm able), and who has a somewhat collect-them-all attitude because I'm horrible at choosing just one faction/element/whatever of a game and sticking with it... This creates a three-fold problematic situation.

 - Problem #1: The money and storage issue.  These games/miniatures/terrain/etc. are not cheap.  No, they're not as expensive as many other prominent hobbies (seen how much a nice tennis racket costs lately?) but in a world where new things are constantly being pumped out, both for games you've already committed to and new games, it adds up.  Then, once you've succumbed to your personal demons and bought ALL THE TOYS you've got to put them somewhere!  If you paint, you probably want to display them, but you're likely purchasing them at a rate where you have plenty of stuff sitting around basically brand new in packaging taking up space, and then you've got your travel bag with foam for the minis, and the rulebooks, maybe even a table and terrain at your place... it starts to add up.

 - Problem #2:  If you're someone who cares about the games as much as I do, the consumable media and level of justice done in the hobbying aspect becomes important.  If I'm going to buy all of these wonderful models and big badass terrain structures... I have to build and paint them.  And not just to a "good enough, put it on the table" quality, either.  I genuinely enjoy building and painting these things, mind you, but I'm particular about it.  And what's worse is that it's a skill that evolves with practice; that means that those models I did 4-5 years ago and was happy with?  Yeah, those are ugly now.  They need to be re-done.  And the consumable media?  That's things like novels, the storylines in the rulebooks, video games, animes, so on and so forth.  When I buy into a game, I want to delve in deep and get to know the how's and why's of the world, who the characters are, what everyone is fighting over.  But those things take away from the monies and storage space needed as mentioned in #1, and leading into #3...

- Problem #3:  Time.  This hobby takes patience.  First, you have to work to get the money to buy the toys.  Now at this point, you could be like me and just buy the cool stuff that you like the most.  Not very tactically savvy but oh well.  Usually, however, the smart thing to do is research a bit on how the game works, what models interact the best for how you want to play it, yadda yadda yadda.  THEN, it's time to buy the toys.  Might be you can pick them up at a local shop and have them right away, but with good shops being fewer and further between, plus their typical need to order in whatever it is you want, it's likely you're waiting at least a few days at this step.  But then, once you've bought the toys... you can't even play with them right away!  Oh no!  (obvious exclusion of games like Clix or X-Wing because they're not really what I'm talking about here)  You have to assemble them.  You have to base them.  You have to paint them.  Okay, so maybe you don't have to paint them; but I definitely do.  And now, with this cycle of new-purchase-time complete (which happens over and over and over, with multiple projects overlapping), you've got to find an evening where you can meet up with like-minded individuals to actually get to use the toys and play some games.  When I was 20, this wasn't so difficult... but at 30 with a myriad of other obligations, it's honestly kind of stressful and work-like.

Yeah.  Pathetic, I know.

So sometimes, you end up looking around your work desk for a good 10 minutes, unable to decide which project to work on, and you say fuck it and turn on the Playstation.