Gaming: A Time Investment

When it comes to video games, a lot is made about the monetary investments involved with getting into and sustaining the hobby; first, you’ll need a modern system or console that can run the games, then any extra accessories for that system, and then, of course, you’ll have to keep buying games to play from then on. But obviously, that is all in the pursuit of fun, and gaming is one of the most enjoyable pastimes a person can have. However, lately, for me and seemingly many other gamers, there has been another problem concerning personal investment: an issue of time. See, imagine if every movie you wanted to watch this year took up to twenty hours to finish. And being the busy person I bet you are, wouldn’t it be hard to get through everything you wanted to watch? Well, when it comes to those who play video games, that issue is sometimes a reality. 

Perhaps the saddest part about this problem is just how first-world it is. ‘Boohoo, there aren’t enough hours in the day to play all my video games!’ But nevertheless, it’s a topic worth discussing for the people interested. 

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For years now, the idea of a ‘video game backlog’ has been known to many of us in the gaming community. On its own, a backlog is simply a collection of games someone is waiting to play and has not yet finished. But the issue with it arises when one’s backlog grows too big and overstuffed, ultimately becoming an insurmountable task that is more like a list of chores if anything else. Of course, smarter people than I, can explain this human need to have things completed on some form or level, but in my opinion, it all depends on what you personally define as ‘completed.’ For some, beating a game may mean reaching the story’s climax and then going through the rest of the content, and for others, it may simply mean playing a game until you’re satisfied with your purchase. 

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Video games are perhaps the most cost-effective form of entertainment, as for only sixty or so dollars, you can get hundreds of hours of gameplay out of certain titles. In this situation, time is what’s being used up the most. Although I’d like to think of time itself as something that is not a zero-sum game, when it comes to video games and hours, it certainly can be. Gaming is a hobby that requires time to be carved out of every day, and a lot of people are struggling to meet that need. The games industry is simply one of the many businesses vying for the attention and wallets of everyday people. 

A lot of shit is thrown towards the so-called ‘casual gamer crowd,’ often directed from ‘hardcore gamers.’ The distinction between casual and hardcore seems to be that the latter is far more invested in the gaming community and more willing to sink hours into their favourite games. However, what I’ve seen happening recently, and at a greater level, is that many hardcore gamers are beginning to ‘devolve’ into casual gamers, not because they want to, but because there is simply not enough time for them to be into gaming at an in-depth level.

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The success of titles like Overwatch and the latest Call Of Duty is not solely based on them being good games, but that they are both very accessible and their multiplayer lends itself to quick burst of enjoyable gameplay. 

So where am I getting at with all of this? What can we do to solve the problem? Well, the simple answer is that there is no answer to this issue. Developers can’t cut down on their content and game length, because that would lead to further issues of value and getting something that’s worth the asking price, not to mention that it would restrict creativity in the industry, with devs having to limit their scope. There’s also still a sizeable number of gamers who have no issues regarding putting their time into video games.

Sadly, the only truth in this topic is that a group of busy people won’t be able to fully continue their passions into the mundanity of work-life. After all, video games are a quick escape from the real world, and sometimes you can’t be away forever.

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9 thoughts on “Gaming: A Time Investment

  1. Very true! Some interesting thoughts here as gamers deal with balancing adult responsibilities and their hobbies. It’s not a problem that’s going to be fixed, for sure, because as you alluded to, life isn’t something you can put on hold for long periods of time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch! This topic is so dear to my heart. The other day I was looking at all the games I haven’t finished. I can’t say a game is good or not if I didn’t complete it. So yes, it bothers me a little. Lately, I do a quick research on the game to see how long it takes to complete before I purchase it. I cut down on co-op games and completely dismiss multiplayer games because it involves other’s people time. I don’t have many gaming friends to begin with so finding a decent group of people to play with has always been hard for me.

    As for being a “casual” gamer, I don’t think some modern games are that hardcore in terms of difficulty. It’s just longer and more addictive. Naturally, anyone can become “good” if the person spend enough time with a game.

    I think for me, I will always be on the lookout for potential games, but I might spend less time playing it. It’s difficult to walk away from a hobby that I literally grew up with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the solution lies in simply not biting off more than you can chew as a gamer. So many people just buy games for the sake of buying them; it’s something that I’ve personally struggled with myself. The only thing that has really quelled my spending habits has been my wife and I’d income getting cut in half, while also incurring the cost of two people’s full-time tuition. We just simply can’t afford for me to buy things on a whim.

    So I’ve become more discerning with my purchases, which is slightly odd considering that I’ve begun writing reviews starting last year. I think more people just need to hold back a little. You don’t need every game that comes out. Buy games only when you’re ready and wanting to play them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have the unfortunate case of being disabled. I have been for many years, but over the last few months it has resulted in me being housebound. (Try getting down 20 stairs in a wheelchair – doesn’t work) So the only thing I have to occupy my time and not go mad is gaming. For me it is a release from the real world.

    So many of my friends though, they can’t get on often and I find less and less time when I am able to hook up with them to play in games like Elite Dangerous, Rainbow Six Siege, Payday 2 etc. Some games have next to no single player aspect, instead creating a more multiplayer based game, or requiring a co-op set to make it run easier.

    At the rate it is going it will be better to wait until a game goes down in price before nabbing it. It will make it better value for money that way. With the XBOX introducing the 2 week / 2 hour refund policy that Steam has, it may make it easier for people to decide what they want to invest their time in.

    Liked by 1 person

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