Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Mythical 40-Hour Gamer

Wired has an interesting article about modern games and their longevity. The writer, Clive Thompson, points out that there is a large divide between two types of gamers. The first type are the hardcore players who have the time to commit themselves to a game for prolonged periods and run through even the longest games in no time at all. The second type are those with other commitments and interests - the casual gamers for whom gaming sessions can be expected to last an hour or so at best. For the first group, these games are just not long enough, and for the second, they're just too long.

Years ago, I belonged to the first group, and at the time I naively believed that I always would. If you enjoy something, you can make time for it, right? WRONG!(/Luthor) Gone are the days of gaming morning, noon, and night. Heck, I can't even call myself a gamer anymore really... the last time I played a game with any conviction was over two months ago! Sadly, the commitment of full time employment and the mundane responsibilities of adult life (many of which I admittedly eschew even now) reduces the time one has for such entertainments. Couple this with the fact that my limited free time is split up between an eclectic plethora of books, films, and tv shows, keeping up with the news, and the occasional health-concious physical activity, and you can see why the odds of me attaining gamer leetness are slim indeed.

The fact is, the burden of more responsibilites in the future will continue to eat away at my allotment of free time. I only hope that by the time I enter retirement I'll still have enough use of my senses and wits left to unwind a bit and catch up on the backlog.

I shall now return to attempting to play through Half-Life... and maybe this time I'll play the expansion packs as well. I'll blog about it when I finish, so the entry should appear on this site in another six months or so.


sanity index said...

I've never been a hardcore gamer, though there have been short periods where all I think about is a game. Games are entertaining, but sometimes I wish I have more legit justifications for playing them other than, "Good for hand-eye coordination." Actually, not even that, if I'm playing on the computer.

Antimatter said...

Aww come on, you don't need 'legit' justifications to play video games! Isn't having fun enough? Or... stress relief? :D Ok here's one for you... I can easily think of 'legit' reasons for reading books or watching films... but what about listening to music?

sanity index said...

Music has many functions! It relieves stress, wakes people up in the morning, makes people alert while driving, puts people to sleep, increases intelligence (so they say, of Mozart's music).

So, there you go. :)

Antimatter said...

Whoa! Ok, fair enough... BUT, you could say similar things about gaming as well - stress relief (YMMV, some games don't relieve stress, but then again I doubt all music relieves stress either), the aforementioned hand eye coordination, increases intelligence / mental acuity (spatial awareness, logical reasoning and problem solving. This depends on the type of game and is debatable, but the same is true for music).

Oh, and 'wakes people up in the morning' is stretching it a bit, don't ya think? ;-) Also, the driving comment... I remain unconvinced, you could just as easily say it distracts people while driving.

Anyway, I was just presenting that as an example of something where the benefits are not immediately obvious, not that I don't think there are any. As with all artforms, music can have the power to move and inspire, and perhaps, enrich the soul. That's something games can't do IMHO.

I hope I've presented my point well enough for you to agree that there are some legit pros for gaming. If not, we'll just have to agree to disagree! :D