Post Game "Depression"

I’ve noticed when I finish some games, usually longer ones, I get a sort of “post-game depression”.
Maybe depression is a strong word, but I do feel bummed on a deep level that the main story is over. All the excitement & tension from a big climax starts to fade once the credits roll, sort of a high into a low.
The narrative is over, the character’s have completed their arcs, the game isn’t going to throw any new major things at you. There may be a few side missions & collectables to grab, but those aren’t usually quality story content.

I do like how more games are combating this by having a nice, slower paced, little epilogue to play that acknowledges the climax happened & helps ease you out of the game. It’s better than the old “You’ve been returned to the final moments before you confront the big bad” games used to do.

I probably explained this poorly, but does anyone have the same issue & have you found good ways to combat it?


Oh totally - I also get that after reading a really good book (or book series - y’know, something I invested a lot of time in) or binging a good TV show. I’ve heard people with ADHD express a similar idea, being hyperfixated on something for a length of time and going through a depression after it’s over; idk if I have ADHD but I can heavily relate, and you’re definitely not alone at least.

I don’t think I’ve found a good way to combat it, mostly I just jump from obsession to obsession. Just finished a forty hour game and it’s all I can think about? Perfect time to start that 300-page book everyone says I need to read! Then immediately binge that Netflix show, then play that other game, etc etc.

Also, and I don’t know if this actually helps, but I find sometimes finishing a game at night and allowing myself to wallow in it a bit helps me let it go better. Like, if I can tell I’ve got about five hours left in a game I’ll wait until the early evening to start playing so I can beat the game just before I have to go to bed, then have the whole night+sleep to kinda process it.

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I don’t usually have this problem with games, since I am usually pretty eager to finish it and move onto something new. I think it helps to have a couple of short, fun games lined up afterwards to maintain momentum and provide radically different experiences.

But if I finish a good book or tv series everything I try to read or watch afterwards feels pretty uninteresting.

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Huh, yeah, I don’t think I have ADHD either. And that is one way I’ve dealt with it, by diving into another game, but buying new games to get engrossed in gets expensive after awhile, lol. Unless it’s a short, cheap, indie game, like CallMeYork suggested.

I suggest it’s ennui. You feel a kind of sadness or even boredom/listlessness because you are suddenly deprived of excitement. You were wrapped up in something thrilling, which has ended leaving you deprived of your source of excitement/engagement. When you say, in your response to @KennaM, that diving into another game helps, this leads me to believe it’s best described as ennui. You fill the sudden void left by the previous game ending with something that restores your excitement and activity.


Ooo, thank you. That’s a much better word to sum it up.

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Yes, I’ve noticed a depression that seems to happen between games sometimes

I had taken to seeking out games/series I hadn’t tried before, like Ace Attorney–which, to my surprise, became one of my favorite things

Or, a game I hadn’t played in years can feel almost like a “new” one, in a way

I don’t know if ennui covers it. At least not for me. I usually get a feeling of emptiness after finishing a game that generates a whole immersive world with memorable characters. The feeling I get is that of missing that world or characters. It’s not just boredom or a generic sense of needing excitement. The feeling is very very much directed specifically towards those experiences I’ve lost. For example, it happens to me every time I finish the Mass Effect trilogy. That final scene on the Citadel in which you essentially say good bye to all the friends you’ve been hanging with and the engaging world of the game is crushing.

I’ve just did some googling and came into the world Saudade which is defined as

a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one cares for and/or loves. (…) It is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, and well-being, which now trigger the senses and make one experience the pain of separation from those joyous sensations. However it acknowledges that to long for the past would detract from the excitement you feel towards the future. Saudade describes both happy and sad at the same time (…).

It seems to capture the feeling really well.


I think it all depends on the relationship you have with the game and the characters. I agree, for something like Mass Effect or Dragon Age I feel what you describe. But for many other games I would suggest it’s ennui. It also depends on the person and what it is they miss about playing a game. I think there are various nuanced forms of post-game malaise all dependant on the various pieces in play (person, game, experience, attachment, etc.)

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I’d agree it is more than just a boredom, but more of a melancholy. And it is only for certain games. Either way, I’ve learned a lot of new vocab here, ha.


For the record, I’d never suggest that is the same for everyone, I was talking about me.

I did have some ennui after finishing Hades, for example. That game took hostage every second of fee time for weeks. So when I finally put it down, it was like I had to relearn how what to do for fun besides playing the game.

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I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. I know what you mean, and I definitely have shared a similar feeling with some games I’ve played.

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For me it’s more than that, sometimes at least. It’s more like the realization that the characters you’ve grown to love aren’t real, never were, and never will be. There’s a part of me that says, “If none of this was real, then did any of these experiences mean anything?”

When I was younger, I always had difficulty leaving the world of middle earth. I’d just keep reading LOTR over and over again, lol.

Fiction is inherently comforting, because even if there isn’t always a happy ending, there’s always closure of some kind. But after the story is wrapped up and those wonderful characters are once again sealed forever within their pages or lines of code, you go back to a reality where sometimes there’s no closure at all. It can be crushing.


Cool thread… As an extreme example, the strongest I’ve experienced this is the times i’ve gotten sucked away into Skyrim and Fallout New Vegas, where I burned hundreds to thousands of hours of time away , Fanatically modding stuff out, collecting and hoarding things, and visiting everything I can in that world, and then one day when finally putting it all down, literally having no idea what to do with my life on a day to day basis next. I’ve never been into an MMO really but I can imagine it’s like that. Part of it is the habit, but the main component is being there Whatever reason you go into a immersive world that you get into that grips you (whether it’s escapism or what not) you build a presence based around being there.

Other than that, the sense of loss is very waning. It’s rare I really get that involved with something that I feel completing it something that my life begins to lack. The only kind of ‘loss’ I feel is when it’s a poor investment on my time and the game is over and I think 'wait, what, that’s it?" :pouting_cat:

I get what you’re describing though. There have been plenty of good games with very enjoyable worlds to be in or experience, and in that sense I did not want them to end. (Persona 4 was a bit like that for me because I really did enjoy that wacky world and the characters in it) This hits me with books and movies as well, particularly movies that have cool ideas or setups but only exist to deliver the content or context of the events in the movie.In those cases it’s not about characters or time spent but all about the world-building. But there’s always other worlds to go on to, so it doesn’t really get to me.

At this rate for every world I complete there are ten more I aspire to visit. And that ratio isn’t going to get lower any time soon it would seem.

I’d hypothesize that there is a correlation between time spent vs that of the strength of saudade. You can experience this effect in many ways life-changes. For example, I’ve had employers I didnt much care for but there is still a sense of ‘moving on’ type grief. Seems similiar.

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