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5 Unique Ways Gamers Can Fight Off Boredom On Long Trips

Flying out to Germany late in December after a solid few weeks of editing PAX Videos.

I wanted to touch base and put you at rest that Non-Fiction Gaming hasn’t forgotten about you in the New Year.

Now, what are we talking about today? Travel.

Daniel Ryan in Berlin
Hello from Berlin

As a nerd and gamer I (and you) can be uniquely prepared to fight off the long hours of boredom on a long haul flight or road trip.

I’m writing most of this in the lounge of Melbourne airport waiting to board the plane. I see those around me, eyeing the news stands for magazines or books.

I don’t need to worry about what kind of movies will be available or if the remote doubles as a SNES remote to play Megaman X.

Nerds are great at travel.

This nerd in me remains calm and resolute knowing that I have more than I need to make the 25+ hours I’ll be in the air and in transit melt away.

If you’re planning a trip I suggest you consider one or all of these options.

Nintendo 3DS (Or PSP)

This one is almost too easy. Nintendo has been the king of handhelds since my childhood at least. After reading Aidan’s review of Pokemon Sun & Moon I went out and secured a copy of Sun. You know for a portion of this flight I’ll be naming my rivals ‘Butthead’ or whatever will get past the Nintendo language filters.

Pokemon Sun Moon

Being well prepared with too many games on my Pile of Shame, I also have Ocarina of Time 3DS, Super Smash Bros, Pokemon Y (Why not…), and Professor Layton to keep me company.

Streetpasses in the airport are rare when you’re travelling at 23:30, however not all is lost. Those international streetpasses are all the sweeter for their rarity.


Games on the Laptop

Not everyone has access to a laptop that can run amazing games. However, this is the indie game renaissance. You don’t need an amazing machine to be able to run Stardew Valley or a SNES emulator.

Wolf Among us on Laptop

I recommend putting on something easy to play that you’ve put on the backburner for a while. Any of the Telltale games such as Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us fit well here as they’re essentially interactive movies.

Other great options are those that fall into the ‘Just one more turn’ category. If you can get Civilisation V running on your laptop, more power to you. Others include Harvest moon, Stardew Valley, Master of Orion.

As good as Stardew Valley is on a TV, a smaller screen does OK.

Tentatively I add perm death roguelikes on this list like: FTL, Incognita, and Super Meat Boy. You’ll have plenty of time for the: Live, Die, Repeat, however you’ll want some other options to cool off on if frustration hits.


As the website is called Non-Fiction Gaming, it’s probably no stretch to think we also like books.

Reading a good book is nice, it’s great to look smart and the feel of paper in your hands is certainly calming. However, reading with your eyes is for chumps.

Listening to Audiobooks on a Plane
Here I’m listening to a story about a world where technology fails.

Audible will read books TO YOU. You’re on a plane, you’re going to put headphones on as a minimum so no one tries to talk to you. Why not have the sweet sound of someone reading you a bedtime story.

Worried about losing your place? Never fear, set a bookmark or a sleep timer and you won’t have far to go. It’s probably the closest you can get to being tucked into bed on a plane without paying extra for that service.

You know your tastes better than mine, but if you’re interested in video games (and of course you are, you’re reading this) then I recommend REAMDE by Neal Stephenson. It’s got mafia stuff, an MMO that’s connected to real world currency and a look at what the future World of Warcraft or Black Desert Online could be.

Audible is giving away two free Audiobooks if you sign up using our link. I think they do that anyway, but if you use our link we get some free stuff too.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks


Not interested in books? Ok buddy, how about people talking about nerdy shit?

This is where podcasts come in. No matter what your taste, there’s a podcast for it.

Want to learn about Fables, Myths and old stories? Myths and Legends Podcast has you sorted.

Keen to hear the latest news on gaming and you’ve already read through all the Non-Fiction Gaming stuff? IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku and more all have gaming podcasts. (Oh shit, why don’t we?)

Personally, I love listening to funny people play Dungeons and Dragons, The Penny Arcade guys started their Acquisitions Incorporated game as a podcast.

Acquisitions Incorporated

If you’re interested in this kind of thing, I highly recommend the brothers from MBMBAM with their excellent story going in The Adventure Zone.

All these are better than listening to the kind of radio the airline offers… do airlines even offer radio anymore? I vaguely remember a kids radio channel when I was little.


Downloading Youtube Videos

Let’s face it, there are some great Youtubers out there (we’re ok too) doing amazing things in the gaming space. Youtube Red offers the ability to download videos onto your device so you can watch them offline, or when cruising at 30,000 feet.

Netflix is offering similar options now depending on region.

If you’re the king of person who watches a “Let’s Play” series you’ve sunk hours into watching someone else play a game. Whatever the reason, it’s ok.

Currently I’ve loaded up some videos from Dansg08 as he’s done some great cinematic playlists that includes all the important story bits. I’m hoping to live through the heartbreak of The Last of Us as I’ve skipped PlayStation this generation and haven’t had a chance to play.

The Last of Us Screenshot

The full video comes in at 8 hours, so that should kill some time, even if I need to put it down and grab a tissue at some stage.

I agree that games are designed to be played, but we need to consider that there are some games that could very well be watched… I’m now hearing a slapping of foreheads and a, “Yes Dan, we’ve already accepted that, look at the success of Twitch”.

I’ll stop now.

You’re a gamer, you must have some ideas.

So these four examples should get you started. I am curious on what I may have missed.

Razer Surface Pro

After Travel Note: I actually saw someone using a VR headset on the plane. I think that’s an amazing idea to help you forget you’re in a metal can travelling at 73% the speed of sound.

Tweet at me @nfgDan or comment on our Facebook page to tell me all your travel tips that non-gamers don’t know about.

I’ll probably need them for my trip back if I’ve already caught all the Pokemon.



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Daniel Ryan
Daniel Ryan
Daniel 'Sheriff Dan' Ryan is a long time Dungeon Master who has worked in Esports, Marketing, and writes about Gaming when the sun goes down.


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