Taking a break, and turning to tablet gaming?

I’ve been doing “TGIF” gaming summaries here at Dragonchasers for a few weeks now, and I often rough them out on Thursdays since not much is going to change between Thursday night and Friday evening. So I was checking my Raptr profile and it shows that in the last week I’ve played 1 hour of TERA and 30 minutes of Diablo 3.

Apparently, I’m taking a break from gaming. I was wondering why I was feeling so relaxed.

See, with sunset so late in the evening now, I’ve been getting in from walks with Lola at about 9 pm. Trying to then compress catching up on RSS feeds, catching up on emails and writing a blog post and leaving enough time to get into a ‘real’ game like TERA was really starting to stress me out, and I kept staying up much too late to try and fit everything in. I was tired and grumpy at work, where I was trying to juggle keeping up with G+, getting in some RSS tracking and, y’know, doing my actual work, all while feeling like I could put my head down on the desk and go right to sleep.

So this week, I just stopped gaming. At least, I stopped playing TERA which is the only ‘real’ game I’m interested in right now. Instead I’ve been gaming on the iPad.

WTF? What have I become? I’m the guy who is always ranting and raving about how we need true handheld systems and true consoles because “mobile gaming” just doesn’t cut it. So have I switched teams?

No, actually I haven’t. I’m not playing action-based games on the iPad and I still think the lack of physical controls makes action-y games not great on a tablet. Instead I’m doing a bunch of asynchronous multiplayer strategy gaming (back in ye olden tymes we’d call that “Play by Email”) with friends. Friends who, like me, were hardcore gamers at one point (and possibly still are) but who (and I’m doing a bit of assuming here) find it hard to squeeze gaming in during the week these days. But grabbing the iPad to play a turn of Ascension or Hero Academy? That, they have time for.

So I chill on the couch, send off a turn and do some work until I get the notification that one of my buddies has taken his turn. Then I bounce over, make my move and go back to working. It’s a great way to fit some fun into the evening without making it into a stressful thing. And it’s been a great way to re-connect with my gaming friends, who’re scattered all over the world.

I’m Dragonchasers in GameCenter and pasmith in Hero Academy. I still suck at both games so if you want some easy wins send me an invite.

I’ve been really happy with the 3rd generation iPad even though I really still prefer Android over iOS. For multiplayer gaming, iPad vs Android is like Xbox vs PS3. What matters isn’t the actual platform so much as being where all your friends are. When I had an iPad 1 I was kind of on the bleeding edge and not many friends had tablets (nor were there many MP games out there). But now, iPad ownership is common among my old friends and, while we’re focusing on just two games right now, there are plenty of others for us to move onto if we get bored.

Angela and I are planning on moving in a few months and we need to start planning and packing for that. The days are still getting longer and Lola is showing no signs of losing her ‘puppy energy’ any time soon. Packing and long walks aren’t going to leave much time, so I’m not sure I’ll be getting back to doing much ‘real’ gaming before the fall. I do plan to keep Saturday nights as my big ‘gaming’ night though (Sunday is the 1 day of the week I can sleep in so I can stay up late gaming…when I don’t fall asleep by accident!)

I’m actually kind of looking forward to coming back to gaming reinvigorated after taking a semi-forced semi-break.