Reaching a happy medium in gaming

In my previous (and inaugural) post, I talked about how my life as a gamer has come full circle, and how I barely have enough time to play the games I want to anymore (but yes, I did spend almost exactly 60 minutes on The Witcher). I’ve realized that the reason I put away games for a while is that the games I have time to play don’t interest me much, and the games that I want to play are way too involved for the amount of time I have.

Though I grew up with pick-up-and-play games like Tetris, I don’t see much point in playing those types of games anymore. The fact that Candy Crush rakes in about a million dollars a day downright disturbs me. Despite this, I still find myself playing Crossy Road when I’m waiting for the elevator, even though I know it’s the absolute most ridiculous game in the world. It’s really the only game I can load up, play, and get tired of within the two free minutes I have as an adult. I’ve been relegated to dumbing my gaming down to the lowest common denominator, all because of a lack of time.

The games I want to play, however, are simply too much to handle. They’ve gotten too…real. Even fantasy games overdo the reality factor. When Skyrim came out, I was ready to tell my boss and my friends I had contracted a terribly contagious disease, and melt into my couch for a good few weeks. While I did spend a ton of time on the game, I would too often find myself losing an hour of my life selling unneeded garbage to the Thieves’ Guild, only to have to wait in real time because Bethesda thought it’d be a good idea to make the vendors so realistic that even they run out of money. Sell, rest, sell, rest, sell, rest…oh, I can finally play the game now? Well, only until I pick up too much and become over encumbered. I loaded up this game so I could escape the reality of not being a hulking behemoth, not to be reminded of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Skyrim, but my point is these additions serve no purpose other than to make the game more “realistic,” which only serves to annoy most gamers and waste time they don’t have.

To continue the discussion on having too much to do in a game, let’s leave Tamriel and head over to Azeroth. I’m fairly certain I would have to give up my life goals if I wanted to do well in WoW. I used to be hooked on the game, but I never even came close to doing everything it has to offer. Not only does WoW require hours of repetitive grinding, but to get to the best parts you actually have to schedule your life around the game to make sure you were on when your friends were. Forget that. It’s just not worth doing, no matter how awesome the game is (or was, as the case may be).

But, fortunately, there are still games that hit that happy medium. As mentioned, I’m currently making my way through The Witcher 3. Before you stop reading and say “But there’s like 200 hours of gameplay there,” let me clarify: I have about 12 hours of play in as of now, and I’ve yet to waste a single minute while playing. I know I’ll be using every herb I pick up. Every character I meet actually has something to do with the story, at least from what I can tell. CD Projekt Red has created an in-game world that is seemingly infinite, but unlike Skyrim, I actually feel like I have a chance to see it all, and I’m not the least bit overwhelmed. It might take me a while, but at least I know every time I load up the game I can actually play, instead of running meaningless errands for some woman who I’ll never come across in the game again.

Now again, if you’ll excuse me…hey, wait, it’s Friday! I’ll play all night if I want! Here we go…


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