So it’s Friday. My daily post for IT World is written. Guinea pig houses are cleaned. Shopping done…in short, all my chores are done. Time for some gaming. But what to play?
I have no clue. And this has become a pattern in my life; one that I’m not sure how to break.
There’s a kind of inertia to my game playing, I’ve found. Once I pick up a game, I can enjoy the heck out of it as long as I keep playing it. But once I take a break, my focus drifts and I start gazing at new gaming horizons with a feeling of longing. And that’s a problem these days.
Let me back up a little. My fulltime job runs 36 hours/week these days. I divvy that up as 4 9-hour days, Mon-Thursday. Then I have my blogging job, where I’ve committed to 1-2 posts/day for IT World during the week. So in theory, Friday I have a couple blog posts to write, but otherwise Fri-Sun is me-time (of course that isn’t always true…both jobs sometimes slop over into weekends)
So assume I’m really enjoying a game over a weekend. Then I hit Monday when I have both jobs to do. By the time I get to the gaming part of the day its often after 10 pm and sometimes as late as 11. I still squeeze in a bit of whatever game I’m playing though. Ditto on Tuesday. But usually by Wednesday and Thursday, the fatigue of the work week has built to the point where I just don’t have the energy to keep going so late, so I don’t get any gaming in on those days.
By Friday, it’s been a couple days since I’ve done any gaming, and four since I’ve really been deeply immersed in the last game I’m playing. My inertia is shot to heck as I’ve been hearing all kinds of interesting gaming news for a week, while not ‘reinforcing’ my habit of playing my current game. Does that make sense?
So I’ll feel like starting something new, but at the same time I know I have 2-3 days before the cycle starts all over again. And I find it really hard to return to a game I’ve started and put down in the past. That shiny new game smell has worn off (I’ll be past all the tutorials but won’t really remember all the nuances of how to play, or in the case of an RPG I won’t remember the story or what I was supposed to be doing to finish whatever quests I’m on.)
Often I’ll end up watching TV or reading rather than playing. And then at the end of the weekend feel like I’ve squandered my time because I didn’t get any good gaming in.
I’m not sure what the solution is to this problem, but what’s more interesting is wondering if this “gaming inertia” is something unique to me, or if others experience it too. I kind of think they do, because I’ve seen people who’ve been fanatical MMO players forced to take a break for a few days (for a business trip or family holiday, say) come back and no longer have any urge to play the same game that was driving their lives before the break.
I guess what I need is for developers to start designing ‘bite-sized’ games that still offer a lot of depth. I know there’s a big debate over game length, but frankly I’d rather have a great 15 hour game that I could finish over a weekend, than have an 80 hour epic journey that I’m never going to finish, or even get into the real meat of.
What about you? Can you set a game down for a long period of time and pick right up where you left off, or do you suffer from a gaming inertia problem, too?