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.
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.
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.
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.