You may have noticed that I’m pretty quiet on the front of modern video games, to the point where I rarely mention them. The reason for this is two-fold.
First, everyone and their brother talks about modern games. You can’t go two pages on the internet without hearing about the latest release of Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, etc. Anything I could say about those games would be hugely redundant and, frankly, just add to the chaotic din surrounding these games. On my side of things, I’d rather talk about games that see less face time these days. These tend to be either old-school games (such as the NES games I talk about a lot), “casual” games (internet flash games and so forth), or the occasional independently released game (SPAZ). I certainly play a lot of the modern games you hear about in other places, but frankly I’d rather talk about the games you may not have heard about. And that’s more interesting to me, and I think gets my message out to more of a niche audience. Certainly my impressions of Mass Effect 3 are likely to get lost in the tens of thousands of websites that are talking about it, many of which are professional journalists who have inside scoops and whatnot. However, not many people are extolling the virtues of Terranigma these days, so competition is lighter and my voice is slightly more likely to be heard.
Second, I don’t get as much time as I used to for video games. When I was a younger person I could easily spend 6+ hours in a day playing video games, and a rainy weekend could see that number easily double (though if the weather was nice, I’d likely be out fishing or doing yard work instead). These days I get between 2 and 3 hours on a daily basis in which to play modern games. The rest of my time is pretty well taken up by home-ownership, parenting, craft and woodworking projects, blogging, and any other hobby that I want to spend time on. Games that used to take two to three days to finish up now take two to three weeks. As such, I’m far more picky about what games I chose to play. I purchase far fewer new releases, and focus more on games that have been out a few months and have established reputations of being good (plus, by that time the good games are cheaper and often have player’s choice version with packaged DLC included; not to mention those buggy releases have a chance to be cleaned up *coughBethesdacough*). I just don’t have the kind of time to invest in what might turn out to be an awful game. Nor can I just take a day off from work and do a 24 hours power gaming shift. If I take a day off work, I still have to be a parent and a homeowner. And, since many of the modern games I like are violent, I’ve chosen not play them in front of Tron. As such, I don’t usually get any extra play time on my days off (unless Tron takes a nap, which doesn’t happen that often anymore). I get more time to play ‘casual’ games and MUDs because they aren’t objectionable to the young eyes and can be dropped at a moments notice if Tron wants to wrestle with me on the floor for a few minutes.
Such is the story of many of us older gamers. As we find ourselves more deeply entrenched into the roles and pursuits of the adult person, the less time we have for video games. Between full time jobs, parenting, and home repairs, we just have too much else on our plate to sit down and play for as long as we used to. Our passion still burns, we’re just too busy to put in the hours that our 14-year-old selves used to. I’ve certainly found that where I’d “perfect” a game when I was younger (get all the endings, do all the difficulty levels, do the bonus dungeons/levels, and do all the various extra stuff), these days I’m more likely to just play through the game and call it good.
But, it’s certainly not a bad thing by any means. Having one’s priorities change is just a part of life. Even so, there are days when I just want to spend the whole day wallowing in unbridled hedonism. Days where I’d really just like to pop myself down into my gaming chair and play 24 hours straight of Disgaea 4 instead of shouldering parental and other adult responsibilities. I’m sure one day, when the wife and child are away visiting her parents and I’m home alone on a rainy day, I’ll get up from bed, see the day stretch out before me all full of possibility, and make it only as far as my gaming chair*. It’s those small, attainable dreams that keep a man going.
-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?
*The last time I had this opportunity, I got a weird rush of productivity and ended up working furiously on projects, cleaning the kitchen, mowing and weeding the lawn, and then going to bed an hour early because of how exhausted I was from all the productivity.
As an aside update, I’m sitting at and even 10 unfinished console games in my queue. This comes after the Christmas influx of games which saw five games get added to my queue, most of which I’ve already tackled and put in my finished pile (Winter is always better for getting those few extra moments here and there to play). I feel I’m doing very well of reaching my goal of 5 or less by the end of the year, but I’ve still got to get past my birthday and several awesome releases this year (such as Diablo 3, Bioshock Infinite, and a few others).