PCSD. Post-Completion Stress Disorder.
PCSD is a very real, very serious problem in the gaming community. It spans all genres and players alike and, if left untreated, can lead to disinterest and a foreboding sense of detachment from your favourite titles. Games you once loved will become nothing more than boxes on a shelf, discs in a drawer.
Where, you may ask, does PCSD hurt? Everywhere.
Who, you may ask, does PCSD hurt? Everyone… (Mostly just you.)
The symptoms of PCSD can go unnoticed by everyone around you. At times you may feel that nobody cares, nobody understands. They haven’t played through all the content as you have! How can anyone possibly relate? But you are not alone. I know you. You feel irritable, anxious, and tired. You constantly replay old content, desperate for a new mission, set of armor, or weapon. The included content just cannot, will not generate the same spark it used to! The first step is acknowledgment. You are suffering from PCSD.
You feel small, hopeless, abandoned; like you are alone in the world after completing a game. To know PCSD is to know that no amount of gameplay will satisfy. There just isn’t any new content! You want to keep playing. You love the game. Deep in your heart you still have feelings for it. But something has changed. Something has been lost. You have exhausted the included content and no amount of gameplay, no amount of suffering, will change that.
Millions of gamers across the world; gamers just like you, are experiencing the symptoms of PCSD each day. Many have given up on their games. Many have written once beloved titles off as finished and moved on. But if you care about your games, if you care about yourself, you will persist! You will endure! Take heart in the fact that through the darkness, there is a light. You are not alone.
The modding community can help! For years now, kind-hearted individuals suffering from the same condition as you have been battling their PCSD by creating extra content, usually free to download and enjoy, as a service to the communities they love so dearly. This extra content can range from new quests, locations, gear, loot, and characters, to large scale tweaks like weather effects, lighting corrections, AI modification, and more…the list goes on and on! When it comes to modding, if you can think it, if you can dream it, chances are someone has already done it. All it takes is a search. A simple online search for your favorite game’s modding community and you could be installing mods the very same day. A simple search could be the difference between you giving up on a game, and you experiencing months of newfound interest in a title you would have otherwise left for dead. A simple search…could change your life.
In the end, it’s really a mixed bag when it comes to mods. It all comes down to the game you’re playing, whether that game comes with a toolset, and whether that game has a modding community that’s motivated to continue work where the developers left off. Depending on the game, you may or may not discover anything of worth, but I find it’s always worth the effort to look into the modding potential of your game after you’ve grown tired of the developer’s build.
I’ll give you one great example: my favorite modding community is that which surrounds The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Over at TESNexus.com, they’ve got some amazing work. Complete overhauls of guard behavior (no more psychic guards, hurray!), new quest chains, a drastically altered battle system, new spells, clothing, weapons. Heck, they’ve even got a mod that helps the game run better on lower end systems without compromising visual quality (something about polygons or polygon count – but I don’t really know much about that.)
My point is that modding is something amazing. It’s creativity at its best and, if you are suffering from “PCSD,” it would be well worth your time to dive into your dusty old game collection, do some research, and pull out an old favorite. Once you’ve found a suitable candidate, mod the crap out of it. Chances are there are some crazy things waiting for you just around the bend.
Oh, and P.S. – PC gamers only. Sorry console fans, the modding scene just isn’t your territory. 😉