I could make this a discussion about the nature of time in games, and I probably will at some point; it’s a pretty interesting topic and one I’ve overlooked for far too long. No, what I want to talk about is the amount of time I have to put in to gaming right now. It’s at least a little ironic that writing about games for TSA is one of the things that keeps me from playing games, as does doing the podcast, writing over at Halftone Hero and a hundred over little things.
Until January I’d been working freelance for almost a year, and the amount of time I had for gaming was probably at it’s greatest since I was in junior school. However, now I’m back in a full time job and my evenings have quickly filled up with writing, podcasting and (on the odd occasion) having a nice dinner.
If I game it’s in a short burst, playing Angry Birds or some random Flash game for ten minutes before some commitment pulls me away. I’d love to sit down and finish off Dead Space 2 (the box sits on the coffee table, mocking me) but I know I’d need to actually have another five hours to put into it if I wanted to reach the end. Most of the time it doesn’t feel like I’ve got five minutes.
The thing is there’s nothing wrong with playing a Flash game. It often feels a little dirty to admit that’s all I really have time for right now, but what’s wrong with that? I think smaller, pick up and play titles are almost certainly one of the reasons that gaming is getting bigger and bigger. When people can sit down for five minutes with a Flash title or a smartphone app and just play through something on the bus, on their lunch break or when their boss isn’t looking (not that I do that) then gaming is going to continue to grow pretty significantly. Even having my DS, where I can just snap the lid open and pick up instantly where I left off, is pretty handy. I mean I completed the entirety of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass in breaks from developing a mobile app.
So what about you, do you have time to play games properly? Is the rest of life getting in the way, try as you might to actually play a game? Are games that can be played in those little bursts going to continue to grow and grow as gaming goes forwards?