As I grow older, it gets harder to find the time to play games. I consider gaming to be my main hobby as well as crucial to staying relevant in this industry. It blows my mind that there are people in the industry that don’t play games anymore. For instance, if they don’t mind me speaking for them, I know that Mike and Ben typically don’t play any games anymore. They have other pursuits in life, and gaming falls by the wayside. I can understand, I go out of my way to fit gaming into my life. Being a “designer” means you should play games, at least, more so than programmers and artists. That’s part of my justification; but it’s silly that I find myself having to justify my hobby on occasion.
When I was young, JRPGs were my favorite games. The giant worlds, seemingly endless gameplay and silent male protagonists with shaggy hair really spoke to me at that time in my life. I loved to explore every nook and cranny of the game world. My brother calls it “rubbing yourself on everything,” when you just walk along the border of the levels mashing A in hopes of finding those neat hidden interactions. I could only afford a few games a year, so I wanted them to last 80+ hours. And the characters and stories were really cool to me. I was way into anime at that age and JRPGs are like playing anime.
The last JRPG I played, Persona 3 Portable Plus, I had to put down maybe half way in. It physically kills part of me to put a game down before I finish it. I was trying really hard to love the game and the characters. The things that used to keep me hooked weren’t quite as alluring as when I was a teenage boy. (Maybe I’ll see that character’s boobs if I’m nice to them!)
Being a totally-for-real adult, I am no longer entertained by story-lines about saving the world. The allure of sexy video games ladies have been significantly reduced by real life sexy ladies. My tastes are changing towards more introspective games that ask challenging questions and require creativity (how can I build a giant working penis in Minecraft?) My friends play a bigger role in my gaming habits; I could be playing QWOP every day and I would love it as long as I got to chat with my friends while we played. I don’t have all the time in the world anymore either.
As an example of how my free time has changed over the course of my gaming life; here is a list of my favorite game franchises I grew up with and how many times I played through them to completion.
- Metal Gear Solid – around 30 times.
- Metal Gear Solid 2 -, around 12 times.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 – around 4 times.
- Metal Gear Solid 4 – 2 times.
- Resident Evil 1 – maybe 10 times
- Resident Evil 2 – maybe 12 times
- Resident Evil 3 – around 3 times
- Resident Evil Code Veronica X – around 2 times
- Resident Evil 0 – around 2 times
- Resident Evil 4- around 4 times (I loved it!)
- Resident Evil 5 – 2 times.
Most sane people might say I’m crazy for playing a game that many times. They are correct. But as I said before. When I bought a game, I was stuck with it for a while. I loved to explore all the extra content. Replay it on harder difficulties, try for secret endings and really squeeze it for every drop of entertainment I could. Now I just push through to beat the game and be done with it.
All through your childhood, you are grasping for more; you want to do the things you can’t. I want to play the newest game but I can’t afford it. I want to go see this concert but I can’t drive. I want to make games for living but I’m just a kid. Then, there comes a point in your adult life where you are presented with more options than you can realistically choose and nothing is stopping you other than the weight of your own value assessment.
I have more games (curse you Steam sales!) than I can realistically play. I’m already forgoing (increasingly) important adult stuff like exercise and cooking (eating healthier) because I don’t feel I have the spare time. (Maybe I can cut sleeping and pooping from my schedule.)
This carries over to how I make games too. Game ideas are cheap. Ask any game developer for a game idea and they will talk your ear off. But those ideas don’t mean anything if you cannot implement them. I’ve reached a point where I feel like I can finally do justice to many of my game ideas, at least on a basic level. But hell if I have the time for them. It’s depressing sometimes. I’m easily excitable and I love to share my ideas, but it sucks that I can’t even try them purely because there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Moral of the story, if there is one: Don’t grow up too fast and enjoy your games while you can.
Alternate Ending: Being single and not having a job is a great way to maintain your gaming-rich lifestyle!
Just as a point of interest, here is a list of all the games I’ve played recently.
(excluding work related research (So much iPad))
- League of Legends
- Gears of War 3
- Dark Souls
- Portal 2 (co-op)
- The Binding of Issac
- Dead Island
- DOA Dimensions
- Super Mario Brothers (3DS)
- Game Dev Story