Life, The Universe, And Gaming — Play All The Things
Or: Why can’t I hold all these games?
Over the past few columns, if not the entirety of my opinionated monologues this year, I’ve held firmly on the side of rigorous debate and opted to choose pressing issues or industry-wide conflicts as my topics of discussion. Some were a bit more esoteric — my last column, case in point — while others were of the more broad-scale, eclectic nature — such as my column on reverse sexism. I think it’s about time we had a break from srsbsns topics and discussed something, let’s say a little more personal and dear to me.
Last week, of the six columns that published, three delved into a topic that I would like to address today. In chronological order: Duncan dichotomised with pancakes and gaming that sometimes less is more, and too much of a good thing might be bad for you. Marko meandered through game reviews to prove the point that when gamers are spoiled for choice, sometimes it will affect their opinion of a game negatively. Finally, Jake jumped (what?) onto a new bandwagon, which he has dubbed the casual hardcore gamer; someone who plays real games (excuse my pretentious statement there) but only every now and again, basically: not everything.
I’m here today to say that I have a massive backlog of games to play (see: above), and it only ever delights me.
Early on in my column-writing days, when I was still a newbie who fumbled on ideas and spent half my columns talking crap (aren’t we glad that’s changed?), I released a column entitled ‘Work Hard, Game Harder‘ in which I explained that as a university student, my gaming time is severely limited, and this extends to other facets of life that are not school or holidays. So when I play games, I play games. Because I know that my gaming time is, ahem, “preciousssssss.”
This year has seen a few changes; one of them being the entire focus of my degree, together with my freedom from the DotA addiction that plagued me for the last three years or so, which has led to a lot more gaming time than I was otherwise used to from previous years. I also discovered the second-hand resale market as well as a group of amazing friends who are more than willing to pool games and share with each other, much to my and their delight. You guys rock.
See that picture above? Once again: That’s actually my gaming backlog. There’s a few games there that I’ve completed; Mass Effect 3, Gears of War 3, a few others. But even then, I play those games every now and again with friends online. This then is my collection of games I either want to play or still do.
People complain that too much is a bad thing. People whose opinions I respect. Some are currently experiencing gaming burnout, where nothing entertains or amuses them any more and they find themselves doing activities other than playing games… not having sex, though. Because I know that would be the first retort. Seriously, fuck off with that stigma. Anyway, these people have a stack of games, probably not as much as mine, possibly more (inb4 penis size), and when they look at that stack of games it sends shivers down their spines. They’re then intimidated enough that they get over it and go do other things.
For reasons I can’t quite fathom but nevertheless do not question, my gaming desire is insatiable. Put simply: I cannot wait to play the next game, once I’m done with something.
I suppose the best thing I can do for you all is to turn this into a tips and hints for keeping gaming interesting, sort of column. That might work, but whether it would apply to you is up for debate. There’s only one way to find out.
1. Try to play just one game at a time, or two if you really must. Don’t start a game and then move on to something else. If you feel a game is boring you and you’d rather play something else, don’t. I cannot stress this enough. Playing more than one or two games at a time forces your mind to have to switch between each for both play style and story, and it will end up detracting, and you really don’t want that. Yes, your gaming backlog will grow if one game happens to take more of your time than expected, but don’t let it faze you. Just keep playing that game until you’re happy to move on.
2. I find that listening to podcasts while I
masturb play games helps me to get through those parts of some games that are either dreary, or not capturing me just yet. I also find it easier to focus on story elements, don’t ask why, when there are multiple voices in my head. So I will play a game while listening to Podtoid, and I find that I can better concentrate on both. Plus listening to podcasts takes all the schlep out of grinding sections in games. Pause if you really must listen to the story because the sound of Jim Sterling talking about anal sex with Jonathan Holmes is distracting (it is, but not in that way). Also, is it just me who thinks the guy in that picture below looks like Jonathan Holmes?
3. Mix them up. Don’t play four RPGs in a row because it will take you forever and by the end of it, you’ll be speaking, thinking, sleeping and living RPG tenets, greeting people as one would in an RPG and constantly looking to level yourself up. Play an RPG, play a shooter, play an action adventure, then play another RPG. Mix the genres up to keep them fresh and entertaining.
4. If you feel a little queasy over playing more games and would rather spend an evening browsing the internet or doing other things, then by all means do so the one time. The next night, force yourself to play games. Don’t allow yourself to succumb to procrastinating online, because it will become a daily activity and kill your gaming productivity.
5. Develop a hobby or passion (read: not an addiction), partially gaming related would be perfect, that allows you to spend time away from games but not enough that you don’t ever get to play any. Just enough that you go home each day, feeling for some or the other game. The best part about writing about gaming is that when I get home, I’m always keen.
6. Never speed through a game. Ever. If you hear that a game takes six hours to complete, don’t set aside five hours and challenge yourself to complete it. So you finished really fast, then what? Your experience will be ruined if you race through a game just to finish it. Take your time and enjoy yourself. Under no circumstance should you rush your playing of a game.
There. Six quick tips for… I suppose having an undying urge to play games.
I’ve played a lot of games this year. Anyone who’s been paying attention would note that I’ve played and reviewed every single RPG to come out since Skyrim, and I’m not stopping just yet. My gaming consumption rate over the last year or so has been nothing short of amazing and with any luck, will not be slowing down any time soon.
For me, having more games is just more inspiration to keep on gaming. Having one or two around makes me lazy because I figure if I play and finish those two, what would I have to do then? That’s why I usually take my time with games, but it also means that I’ve always got games in reserve. I will get around to them eventually, and in truth I have been doing that marvelously of late, but I will go at my own pace.
In any case, this week I just wanted to share with you all that sometimes it’s okay to have more games than you have time for. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing, nor does it spoil your opinion of games. I do feel spoiled, considering how many games I’m playing. But unlike the casual hardcore gamer, I do want to play everything.