You should not play competitive games — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Sat, Apr 30, 2022

Table of Contents

Competitive computer games

Competitive games like “League of Legends”, Fortnite and “Dota 2” are popular. People often come back to a game daily because they remember that they still need to get a daily reward on a game. They often keep playing until they get the reward, and if they played for a while some think “I might as well keep playing”. It can quickly turn into an addiction.

A screenshot of the game 'League of Legends'.

Figure 1: A screenshot of the game ‘League of Legends’.

Addictive by design

Game developers try to make games addictive, since they want their games to be popular. Games often have addictive elements by design. Small elements like rewarding sound effects and daily rewards can make games very addicting. Singleplayer games have addictive elements, but at least you often get a story back from it.

A screenshot of the daily login rewards of the game Fortnite.

Figure 2: A screenshot of the daily login rewards of the game Fortnite.

Toxic players ruin the fun

Competition makes some people think they can become pros. It often comes with toxic players. Toxic players can ruin your enjoyment. Playing it with friends can keep it fun, if they know when you want to quit. Yet people come back to it for the daily rewards, and likely play some games alone. Once you play alone, it becomes rather repetitive. Competitive games often do not provide much in-game story, so it is not like you get a lot of other value out of it.

Becoming pro

Becoming a pro at competitive computer games is very hard. Game rules constantly change, so you have to adapt. It can involve strategy, and can be good for your reflexes. It isn’t the most terrible thing for your brain. Although there are alternatives. Let’s be honest, most people do not study these games. Yes, some people learn basic tactics, but if you want to become a pro you need analyze your games. It involves a lot of time.

People who are great at competitive games usually spend a large time of their life on it. Only a minority of those people end up making a career out of it.

Alternatives

Board games

Competitive board games like “Go” or “Chess” do not have constantly changing rules. The chance that you can become good at it is increased, since the rules don’t change. It tends to be more respected than computer games.

Do not expect to become as good as the professionals though, unless you invest lots of time into it. Most people won’t become pros. It is likely that you won’t get that much value out of knowing how to play those games. Investing your time into it can be worth it, but there are other skills you could learn instead as well.

See my Chess and Go page for more of my thoughts.

An image of a go board, and a chess board.

Figure 3: An image of a go board, and a chess board.

Other games

Other computergames can be fun. They are a valid alternative. Although games do have addictive elements. Some games at least provide a unique experience, like a movie would. “Deadly Premonition”, “D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die” and “Yakuza 0” are some of the most unique games I have played.

Aside from being funny, “Deadly Premonition” has a fantastic story. The story of the Yakuza games also seems to be decent. The concept of “D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die” is fantastic, especially for a kinect game. Sadly, the game has been discontinued. It was never completed. I still found the game worth buying.

A screenshot of a perfect stunt in the game 'D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die'.

Figure 4: A screenshot of a perfect stunt in the game ‘D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die’.

Horror games are hard to get right

“Pathologic 2” is very unique. Big horror games titles often are rather unique. Although I dislike most of them. They just do not scare me. I have played some popular ones. They are unique and often well-made technically, but they are hard to get right. I find that “Pathologic 2” is one of the rare games which succeeds in creating a great atmosphere.

A screenshot of the game 'Pathologic 2'.

Figure 5: A screenshot of the game ‘Pathologic 2’.

I dislike the Outlast games because the sound effects often include drums when something chases you, which makes it predictable. That ruins the scare factor for me. They also don’t use “fear of the unknown” that much, since you meet the monsters pretty soon. Amnesia is much better in my opinion. SOMA is very interesting. I would recommend SOMA and “Pathologic 2”.

Why some games suck

Many games are clones of each other. I would rather play something interesting. Cloning a game is a market-proven solution. Take for example a platformer like “Super Mario”. It has tons of sequels, but stays successful. Unique games are harder to find, since they are often a risk to make. Clones can be fun, but often don’t provide much extra value. They are repetitive and forgettable, even though they are often well-made. I refuse to play such games unless I play them locally with friends.

Movies have the same issue. Clones are easier to make, even though there are many books which could be adapted to film. Making something unique is often a risk. Taking such a risk can make something a hit or a cult classic, or it can flop. Marketing the product is also often a factor.