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5 Tips to Beat the Post-game Blues

5 Tips to Beat the Post-game Blues

Congrats, you did it! You recovered the treasured artefact. You deciphered the clues and solved the murder. You escaped the facility by the skin of your teeth. You vanquished evil from the world. You’re the hero, and NPCs cheer a job well done! Your final achievement pops, and the credits roll, and yet… a sinking feeling washes over you. Weird. Aren’t you supposed to feel… satisfied? Accomplished? You did finish the game, after all.

We’ve all been there, facing the dreaded Game Over screen. The one that means you’ve completed the game, and all there’s to do next is, well, nothing. But you’re not ready to let go yet. You spent hours and hours immersed in this world, and now it’s over, just like that. The characters you quested with are gone, and maybe you feel a bit empty without them. If only you could play it again for the very first time.

Does this sound like you? If yes, I’d say you have a case of the post-game blues, a feeling that goes by many names:

  • Post-game funk
  • Post-game depression
  • Post-game melancholy
  • The game hangover
  • The gaming doldrums
  • The ending ennui

Whatever you call it, the situation is the same: you’ve played a fantastic game you connected with deeply, and you’re certain nothing will ever compare. Maybe it was everything you wanted gameplay-wise, or you were deeply invested in its narrative. Either way, it stayed with you.

The first time I ever came down with the blues myself was with Dragon Age: Origins. I couldn’t fathom that I’d have to leave that epic journey behind, and I just wanted to keep exploring Ferelden with my party. But most recently, it’s Alan Wake 2 that has me trapped in the Dark Place. Nothing is drawing me in the way Alan and Saga’s stories did. Not even my current Baldur's Gate 3 campaign, I admit.

Naturally, I’ve been wondering how to beat the blues so that I can get back to loving all sorts of games. These are the tips I’ve found that help the best.

Listen to the Original Soundtrack (OST)

coffee talk ost

As I’m writing this, it’s raining outside, and the Coffee Talk soundtrack is playing on repeat. Listening to the soft tunes is kind of like being transported back to that cosy nighttime café, where I made bad latte art and watched heartfelt stories unfold.

When I think about games I love, music is often the first thing I remember. Listening to the soundtrack is a nice, easy way to feel connected to that world, even if you’re not playing through it. Granted, if it’s AW2, just listening isn’t an option. “Herald of Darkness” will require you to belt out the lyrics and perform full choreography — it’s honestly the only acceptable way to listen to that song. And I bet it’s pretty cathartic.

Play a Game From Your Backlog

I was tempted to suggest that you play a similar title to the one that sent you down this post-game depression. Or one from the same genre. But let’s be honest, there’s a good chance it’d fall short.

Instead, I think picking a game from your backlog is a better route. That way, you’re making a dent in that never-ending list, and you already intended to play it one of these days. So, why not do it in the middle of your post-game blues? If anything, it could be a palette cleanser, especially if it’s the complete opposite of what you just played.

Replay and Set New Challenges

Sometimes, the best way to handle game-induced sadness is to lean into it and keep playing the game. Just because you finished your first playthrough doesn’t mean you can’t have a second, third, or fourth one. It’s kind of like listening to the same song over and over again; eventually, the need to hear it will wane a bit or something will take its place.

So, start over and come up with a new challenge for yourself to keep it interesting. Depending on the type of game you’re playing, you can set a goal to choose different dialogue options, experiment with builds, complete it on the hardest difficulty, get all the achievements, and more. Chances are you’ll notice new things on each playthrough, too, whether it’s little details in the environment, narrative foreshadowing, or out-of-the-box ways you can take down enemies.

Truthfully, this is my favourite tip of them all since it doesn’t mean I have to let go just yet.

Engage with the Community

portal 2 gameplay

Thankfully, you don’t have to go far to find others who love the game as much as you do. Forums, Discord groups, subreddits, the list goes on! Finding the right community can offer a great outlet to discuss your favourite characters, levels, and moments that made you feel something, be it sadness, frustration, or joy. Sometimes, the best thing that helps is a listening ear.

If you’re a creative type, you could also make something related to the game and share it with other fans. For me, I love reading and writing fanfiction, filling in those in-between story moments that we can’t see in a game or highlighting characters that may not have much screen time. In an alternate universe, a more artistic me would also be making fan art, crocheting, and animating funny shorts.

On that same note, creating or downloading mods is another community-based way to enjoy games long after their release. Just take Skyrim or Portal, for instance. Their modders continue to reinvent those memorable worlds, keeping them alive for years and years.

Reflect and Let Time Do Its Thing

rakuen narrative

While all these tips can sway your attention temporarily, the best solution is to just give it time. Eventually, you’ll begin to feel a little less attached. Other games will feel less inadequate in comparison. The same goes for good books or movies that leave you in a funk. “Time is the best healer”, as they say.

Waiting for the gloominess to pass is also an opportunity to ponder why the game left such an impact. I remember Rakuen leaving me in shambles with its beautiful yet heart-wrenching journey through loss and grief. For that one, I listened to the OST so much that it ended up on my Spotify Wrapped that year. Another that made me teary was Final Fantasy IX, but more because I adored the ensemble and didn’t want to say goodbye at the end. That’s not to say a game needs to make you cry to give you the post-game blues. I’m just an easy crier, as you can probably tell.

All in all, I hope these tips help with any gloomy, funky, or bleak feelings. If you have a game (or many) that sent you into a sad state after it ended, let us know how you overcame it in the comments down below!

Tips, Tricks & Guides
Alyssa Rochelle Payne

Alyssa Rochelle Payne

Staff Writer

Alyssa is great at saving NPCs from dragons. Then she writes about it.

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Spooky_0ne - 07:27pm, 17th January 2024

I very rarely have struggled with post-game blues, though that's not surprising since I barely get to finish most of my games. That being said, great tips! Maybe I'll use them to get over WoW once and for all.