How to conquer the fear of missing out on video games and life

A reader describes how he went from being a rabid Star Wars fan who owned every console to not watching The Mandalorian or owning a PS5.

Growing up as a child of the 80s I was a huge fan of Star Wars. I’d taped it from the TV and I must have worn that VHS out over the years. So, when I caught up with an old friend he asked me what I thought of The Mandalorian. He couldn’t believe I’d not seen it. And this got me thinking about how much else I have missed out on.

Something that is (a) brilliant, (b) exactly aimed at you and (c) something you’re surely going to love if you make the time for it doesn’t get a look in purely because I’m just doing something else. I just haven’t had time to watch The Mandalorian yet. But then again, I’ve not seen Obi-Wan Kenobi either. Or The Book Of Boba Fett. Or Andor. It never used to be like this.

In 1995 I made the decision to buy both a PlayStation and a Sega Saturn; I figured there would always be something for both systems that I’d want to play and didn’t want to miss out. I was proved right as Ridge Racer and Sega Rally proved to be essential purchases. This logic continued as I upgraded to PlayStation 2, kept hold of the Dreamcast, and found a way to cram an Xbox under the same TV, the inconvenience of spaghetti cabling outweighed by the compliment of Sega’s arcade action, Sony’s Gran Turismo series, and Microsoft’s Halo.

I’ve spent a small fortune to be part of the history of gaming, enjoying every landmark title over the years. I suffered from fear of missing out long before it became an acronym, even to the point of buying games I knew were not really my cup of tea (I’ve never seen the appeal of Japanese role-playing games but still ploughed 30 hours into Persona 4 Golden on the basis that everyone else loved it).

So it struck me, as my friend and I discussed Star Wars, something must have changed in my brain, because I now realise that I’m missing out all the time and it doesn’t bother me. That’s when I realised, there’s just too much content. You can’t be in the loop like you used to be. There are not enough hours in the day to watch every Star Wars series, complete The Last Of Us Part 2, see Happy Valley, try the Meta Quest 2 headset, and listen to all the podcasts.

There’s so much going on that it’s hard to even keep track of what’s available, never mind sample it all. So when hundreds of games, movies, and TV shows come along, there’s no choice but to massively cherry pick, only trying things that you know you’re going to love. Life is too short to take a gamble on a 60 hour epic your mate recommended, and this seems proven as the best games of 2023 so far are Metroid Prime Remastered and Resident Evil 4 remake.

I’ve spent hours trying Game Pass titles on the Xbox but there are so many that I devoted a whole five minutes to, didn’t like and moved on. The PlayStation 5 seems freely available now and PlayStation VR2 is out, but I’m happy with my Xbox and have no intention of buying any other formats.

I’m missing out on every PlayStation exclusive, my Switch isn’t OLED, and I’ve got just one streaming subscription. But I’ve realised it’s impossible to take part in all of it anymore, there’s too much content and I have no choice but to miss out on most of it. And weirdly, I’m fine with that.

By reader Stephen Piers

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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