Angry Robot

Phoenix Gaming aka Gamer = Time to Play?

The problem I’m having is the fact that I seem to have no time to play, which sucks because (unlike D) I really want to finish Zelda, but I have to sacrifice the time I would use for that to play Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. I haven’t even had enough time on that game to write about it adequately. And soon Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect will be here and what am I supposed to do then? It leaves me thinking, do I only play games when the title is so good it forces me to forsake all things to focus solely on playing it ala Bioshock? That seems…Unpleasant to think about. It makes me think that I am only a sometimes-not-really-gamer-only-when-it-suits-my-fancy. I don’t like to think of myself as that.

Yet, being a “born again” gamer – I dislike that term, let’s think of a new one – but being a Phoenix Gamer maybe my need to game correlates directly with only playing titles I know will make me immensely happy. There’s not enough time to play duds! I think in this GO GO GO world we live in being a gamer requires a lot of personal sacrifice with your time. You can’t take your time cooking meals after work if you want to get enough hours in on a game, you can’t read a book, you can’t hang out with friends who are not gaming, and you can’t spend time with your significant other if you need to crack into the first few chapters of a title like Bioshock. This is frustrating. Kids and teens can game almost endlessly, but what about the older generation?

At the Guitar Hero II launch I was playing with a wonderful woman named Guin. She was rocking that plastic plaything like nothing else and I asked her how she got so good. Her answer: she plays every night with her husband. They play a variety of games together ever night, a true gamer home! I was flabbergasted and more than a little envious. This was a partnership of two gamers who loved to play and who spent a dedicated amount of time each day to the pursuit of that play time. Is this the answer? Does an environment of pro-gaming encourage more gaming? I have every console and handheld in my home and still I find it hard to sit down and play. Am I really that ADD?

When I was listening to the WoW Radio Station show Octale & Hordak Vs The World they were discussing what it meant to be a gamer. Octale stressed that in order for a guild to truly function and for players to get the most out of their raids they had to commit to a time to play and show up. This commitment was the key to being a gamer. You say you are going to play and you sit yourself down and you play. I think that in this new world of gaming, where there’s almost too much to play at one time, you do have to treat it with that kind of respect one would give hockey practice or running or yoga or martial arts. You need to put in the time to get back the rewards of experience. I’m not talking XBLA points here, I’m talking about the absorption of the stories we play, gaining the skills and the knowledge to play your best in online arenas, and the personal satisfaction knowing at the end of the day you are a gamer because you have put in the time and you have finished what you set out to achieve.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

3 comments on "Phoenix Gaming aka Gamer = Time to Play?"

  1. D says:

    Yeah, Mark and I talked about this after doing the podca- er, the show. It is a very time-intensive habit, innit? But I don’t know that all of it takes a commitment. Social play tends to need a bit of a commitment since you need to all agree to sit down at a certain time and do the thing. But the rest of it, all you need to do is want to play. All day today all I could think about it is how I wanted to get home and lie around and play with my wanzers.

    And when there’s too many good games to play, well put off a couple of ‘em for those dark months in the winter… and in the summer, and pretty much any time other than now. I’d love to check out the Simpsons game, but that might be a bargain bin purchase some months from now. Same could be said for many other releases.

    PS, nerd props for listening to WoW radio. You just earned 20 achievement points.

  2. Mags says:

    I used to do 90% of my gaming between 10 PM and 2 AM, when my non-gaming lady had hit the sack (surprisingly, she wasn’t all that interested in watching me work my way up the Thieves Guild food chain in Oblivion…).

    But now that I’ve got an actual “family”, complete with a tiny dictator who sucks up all my available energy from 6 AM to 8 PM, I find myself zonking out substantially earlier each night. Which means more time for sleep, but less time for Harvest Moon and those zany pinatas.

    However, ever since my gaming time starting coming at a premium, I’ve become a hell of a lot more picky about what I’ll play (Tenchu Z lasted all of four minutes), which means more time playing quality goodness and less time wasted on weak-ass bullshit.

    And yes, big ups for nerding it out with the WoW radio. Now, for thirty extra gamer points, explain the key differences between a healbot and a shadow priest…

  3. D says:

    Nadine, I’m sure the mini-crisis you’re experiencing has something to do with the fact that we’ve also been talking a lot about the need to finish a game before you can write about it. I was pretty adamant about that, but I’m rethinking it. There are plenty of games that you don’t need to finish to know they suck. What we have to avoid is twofold: 1. anything like the situation in which you play a couple of hours of something, say it’s awesome and then move onto something else. (Part of my hatred of previews) Problem with that is, what if it isn’t awesome after the two hour mark? What if it gets repetitive? What if later levels are too hard, too boring? What if it has a poorly developed story? etc. 2. the other thing I want to avoid is what I felt with Crackdown: where one’s negative initial impressions are ultimately shown to be wrong.

    Ultimately the solution is full disclosure on how much time one has put into a game.

    I had more on this, but my window for commenting has closed. I’ll get back atcha!

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