Weekly Discussion: Gaming Time

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.

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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?

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32 Comments

  1. How about never?
    *sits and looks at killzone 3 with my sharpshooter*

  2. I enjoy having the little titles on my phone that i can pick up and play while i’m waiting for a saucepan to boil or during an ad break on tv, and I agree that this is definately the main reason gaming is becoming more mainstream and popular, but I miss being able to have the time to sit down for a souple of hours and have a nice long session on the home console (PS3).

    The main time I find myself on the playstation is usually on a weekend, when the other half watches something crap on tv (read reality/talent shows) then I get permission to go and blow some shit up, and I’m grateful for that!

    But I do find that this is usually the only time in my week that I have a couple of un-interrupted hours, towards the end of the day on a weekend, any other time and life just seems a little too hectic

  3. I don’t have a portable so flash games don’t really happen for me. I find i get bored of them after a small time anyway.
    The only time I get on my ps3 is in the evenings, and thats after the wife goes to bed, or when she is getting ready at the weekends. Proper hard completing a game fully like I used to now, so I just go straight in and enjoy it without having to go for all the trophies etc.

  4. I get the time to play games ….after 10pm. It suck ass but there’s really not a lot I can do about it when I have to look after the little ‘un. If I could I’d play just after my dinner, when it’s still a bit light out the windows, not in the dark with lights off, headphones on and when I should be asleep.

  5. I almost certainly don’t play games as much as I used to, what with a full time job compared to being at school/college. I’m definitely more of a ‘short burst’ kind of gamer these days (all of my high scores on Bejeweled 2 on my iPhone came from bus journeys home) and that suits me fine. Occasionally I will chill in front of the PS3 for a few hours and really get stuck into a game or two (currently playing through MGS4 (again) at the moment when I have time).

    Games are much more mainstream these days, compared to when we just had home consoles and the Game Boy/Game Gear etc, and what with everyone it seems having at least a few games on their phones these days, seems pretty logical to think that that is the way things are going. Console/PC gaming will never die out though in my opinion.

  6. To really be able to relax and enjoy a game, I feel I need atleast an hour of time free, personally. Each week I play roughly 20-30 hours, though I’d love to play even more, something I’ll be able to do as soon as I move my base of operations down to our basement in a couple of months. Sleepless nights here I come!

    As for flash-games and stuff like Angry Birds, I’m not much of a fan. It’ll probably have a positive effect on the gaming-industry by appealing to a wider audience though, which is good, but it’s not for me.

  7. My wife and I got married and moved in together about 18months ago and I was expecting my ‘gaming time’ to plummet as a result. However, her work hours have changed a lot over the past 12 months and I now pretty much have 5 evenings a week to myself (or with friends, I’m not that much of a social outcast! lol). Plenty of time to play through the backlog of games I have :)

  8. I manage to find time to game, but normally it feels like it’s at the cost of something else, such as spending time with my other half. She doesn’t mind at all, and it’s not like I make a lot of time to game this way, it just feels like it.

    The real irony is that if I’m presented with a perfectly opportune portion of responsibility-less time to game-away, I waste a ridiculous amount of time on indecision over what to play! I seem to just have too much choice, too many games incomplete, too many high quality games that I want to play with what time I have.

    I need a 36 hour day and to survive on 3 hours sleep. Having said that, if a day did last 36 hours I’d inevitably be expected to work for at least 12-15 of them.

    • I’m exactly the same! When I do actually have a decent portion of time to game, I end up procrastinating for ages trying to decide the perfect one to spend my time with!

  9. Short answer is, no, I don’t get enough time to game ‘properly’ at the moment. Long answer follows…

    With a full-time job that, including commuting, often keeps me out of the house for 12+ hours a day (and sometimes, like last week, out of the country) I really struggle to find consecutive hours to sink into a good gaming session.

    Much of my gaming has become bite-size nuggets. The recent PSN release of Plants vs. Zombies has seen my PS3 getting a little more active use lately. If it’s on at other times there’s probably a GT5 B-Spec race happening.

    SensMe on the PSP is employed for work-time music duties and at lunch I’ll often dip into my wide selection of Minis for a quick distraction or perhaps play a few tracks on Rock Band: Unplugged or GTPSP depending on what’s in the UMD drive that week.

    It’s possible, if I clear the decks like I have this week, to get around 6 hours of gaming in each day, but obviously that can only happen in exceptional circumstances. Otherwise significant gaming tends to have to wait these days for when I can take time off work, like I did playing Mass Effect over Xmas or am doing on Mar 25 to get some day-one time with Ridge Racer and Pilot Wings on my 3DS.

    But as much as it can be difficult to find time for gaming these days there is something really satisfying about sinking a few hours into a game when you have had to specifically make time for it.

    Whilst I was unsure whether I’d actually play it all to begin with GT5’s B-Spec mode has been a Godsend. Especially when ‘playing’ an endurance race you know you can leave in your drivers’ hands as it means I can get a couple of hours of productive gaming in while doing the housework. :)

  10. Its hard finding time for anything really – but for me. I game here and there through the week after work/gym. I get a few hours in at the weekend if my GF is working.

    I love gaming and just apprieciate any time I get on my PS3 or PSP.

    Just have a go when I can and try to stick to one game and try and complete it, although I tend to buy in bulk and get 2/3 when I hit the store.

    Good topic, interesting how you love you short blasts and in many ways its like you prefer to snack/graze with your gaming as oppose to sitting down to the full roast.

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