Over the past 10-15 years, I've gone from being able to spend up to 30-40 hours a week playing games, to probably more like 10 hours a week. As the duties of a grown up life start to add up, I simply can not spend as many hours on my hobby as I used to.…
Over the past 10-15 years, I've gone from being able to spend up to 30-40 hours a week playing games, to probably more like 10 hours a week. As the duties of a grown up life start to add up, I simply can not spend as many hours on my hobby as I used to. Not that I am complaining, but it does mean that spending a week leveling my Soldier in Anarchy Online is no longer a viable course of action.
I have found that in order to still get the most enjoyment out of my biggest hobby, I needed to make some adjustments to the way I handle my gaming.
Here are my 5 best tips to anyone that also finds themselves with a big desire to nom-nom-nom on all the gaming goodness that the video games industry offers up, but have a calendar that does not easily allow for 8 hour galaxy saving gaming sessions.
5: Read about games and be selective about what games you want to play.
With little time to actually play games, you'll want to try to make sure that the games that you actually spend your time on will be worth it.
I try to keep up with game coverage on various gaming sites. I have some favorite gaming sites that I read regularly. Through these I check out previews and reviews of new and upcoming games, and I generally have an idea about if I want to try a game well before it is out. Of course, it does take a little out of the fun of stumbling upon something you never heard about, but I think it's worth it to reduce the risk of playing a game for 5 hours and then going “meeeeh, this kinda sucked”.
4: Keep an open mind to what games you normally like and give new genres a try every once in a while.
While I think it is important that you read up on games and decide if they're any good or not, I also think that keeping an open mind about trying out genres that you do not traditionally play is recommendable.
I know from my own experience that as I grow older, I tend to get more set in my ways and become more skeptical of trying new things (like these so called “cell … phones”, what will they think of next !? ). I had a long period where I was basically only playing RTS games and World of Warcraft. I was missing out on great stuff like Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect and Portal, just because it was outside my “gaming comfort zone”.
Do not force yourself to play something you know you will hate, but if a game really looks to be outstanding, then I think it's almost always worth a try, even if you normally only play turn based strategy games set in WWII.
3: Do not be a hero. Turn the difficulty setting down if you feel that a game is frustrating you.
As I have previously harped on, I am a big fan of the more casual friendly games of today. Thanks to modern game design, you can usually find a difficulty setting on major releases that will allow you to complete the game without wanting to snap the controller into two pieces and throw said pieces through the screen of your TV (which provides wonderful, but short lived relief).
If you find that a game is starting to grate on your nerves, maybe this one arena battle is killing you over and over again, then do not waste your time being frustrated and angry with the game. Accept that you could probably complete the segment with enough time, but since time is pretty much the most valuable resource to you, it just makes more notch and get back into the flow.
I had a real problem with this mindset for a long time. I did not feel … errr … manly enough if I set the game to easy. But really, you're playing games for your own fun. Very few people are going to be impressed that you completed Gears of War on “insane” difficulty level.
2: Your finances are probably a lot better than when you were a kid. Take advantage of that.
By this I mean that you are probably in a better position now to buy new games regularly, than you were before you had a job and steady income. Ideally I recommend that you sign up to a game renting subscription service, if one is available in your country.
Whether you're buying games or just renting them, I think that a good flow of new gaming experiences helps with keeping the gaming bonfire burning in my heart. I'm always looking forward to a couple of games and I know that I'll be able to play them fairly quickly after release.
Since I'm following my tip # 3, I can play through a lot of the more linear games fairly quickly and I really enjoy seeing a lot of different game stories and playing them through to the end.
Through the game renting service that I currently use I've already been able to play Modern Warfare 3, Batman Arkham City, Rage, Gears of War 3 and Warhammer 40k: Space Marine all within the last few months.
That's a big bucket of quality gaming that it would have been impossible for me to experience in my younger days, as I could only really afford to buy one game every month or two.
1: Do not stress about gaming! It's supposed to be relaxing and fun.
Most importantly, you should never stress out about not having time to play your games, missing out on the launch of a big title or that you're falling behind the curve of other people that are playing multiplayer.
I've had a lot of trouble with especially that last part when I was really into World of Warcraft. I would often be annoyed that I did not have as much time to play as other guild members and I felt that I was “falling behind”, to the point that I felt obliged to log in and grind some content, even if I really didn 't have time or maybe did not even feel like playing. That's a horrible way of spending your limited play time.
I would also sometimes feel that I was missing out on a lot of great games, because I did not have enough time to play all the titles that I wanted to before the next big batch of gaming cookies came out of the hot publishing oven. “Gotta hurry and play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood before Portal 2” was the sort of attitude that made gaming almost feel like doing my homework.
Maybe you'll miss out on some great games, but as long as you¡¯re having fun with the ones that you do play, then you're doing it right I'd say.