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Kickstarter and the Fear of Missing Out

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Controlled Area Gaming

A lot has changed in the world since I was a kid. In those pre-Internet days, you generally frequented the local game store to see what new games had come in stock. This physical space was the mini-BoardGameGeek of its time. It was a forum and game dissection lab rolled into a comics-cum-game space.

These days, niche interests and their generational sub-niches fill up virtual spaces everywhere. The medium provides more information than can ever be consumed by one individual, so we’ve channeled the energy and collective hype of the group to direct our interest in new games.

The problem with this approach, is that groups can more easily be manipulated and preyed upon than individuals when the appearance of mass interest is at hand. The collective fear that comes from the assumption that you’re not with the group as it moves en masse from game to game is prominent. Further, if you don’t like a game the group does, you feel you’re left behind from the “fun” the group is having.

Don’t assume this is true. The fear of not being part of the group, the fear of not doing what the group does, the fear of missing out, this is the real thing to conquer.

An article in the online journal PsychCentral describes some tips to address this fear, which is a clinically diagnosed issue.

  • Remind yourself that nobody’s life is perfect, even if it looks that way when you see all the great things they are doing.
  • Let go of comparisons that stir up anxiety for you. Instead, focus on what you want from life.
  • Don’t miss out on what’s in front of you for fear of missing out on what other people are raving about.
  • You can’t have it all. You have to say no to some things in order to say a meaningful yes to others.
  • Relax, enjoy and appreciate what you do have instead of always looking at what others have and feeling bad about yourself.

If we replace the words describing life and its enjoyment in these statements with game purchasing, we start to see some words of wisdom when it comes to Kickstarter.

  • Remind yourself that no game is perfect, even if it looks that way when you see all the stretch goals.
  • Let go of game comparisons that stir up desire. Instead, focus on what you want from a game.
  • Don’t miss out on what games are on your shelf for fear of missing out on what some previews say about games.
  • You can’t have all the games. You have to say no to some games in order to say a meaningful yes to others.
  • Relax, enjoy, and appreciate your current game experiences instead of always looking at what new games promise to offer.

When you’re looking at that next Kickstarter campaign, take a moment. Look back at other Kickstarter purchases you’ve made. Think about why you backed those games. By using each moment a new game launches on a crowdfunding platform to check your own gaming motivations, you’ll find more overall enjoyment of needing less and gaming more.

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Tahsin loves games that tell stories through their play structure. He's also a film nerd and father of one geek.

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