Guest Post: Grown Up Gaming

Who among us doesn’t remember coming home from school and spending hours in front of the TV in their parents’ basement playing Mario on the NES? Well, besides people younger than 24 and older than 35, but this post isn’t about you babies/geezers, it’s about regular people.

Anyway, for us 35 and unders, gaming was just a part of life growing up. I can honestly say that I do not remember a world without video games. I didn’t have a console, so I had to go to my friend’s house, and then we got a home computer and some pirated games on floppy disk. Commander Keen 4 was my favourite. I played it so many times. Probably over 9000.

As the generation that grew up with gaming, gaming also grew up with us. Graphics went from 8bit to the photorealistic scenes of today, arcades to consoles, and 2D to 3D to the 3DS. The games got more sophisticated, more violent, more complex, etc. Yes, computer science was advancing, but so was the audience aging. Whereas early games were largely the domain of children and teenagers, most of those kids kept on playing as they grew up. Games are now equally for adults as well as children. These are typically different games, of course. Check the ratings.

Case in point, our own Nick’s mom once asked an employee at the video game store when she could expect her son to outgrow the hobby, and when she told the dude that her child was already 16, she was surprised to hear that he probably would not. Maybe he will and maybe he won’t, but the fact remains that he is currently a grown man with a wife and an apartment who is working on a law degree who is currently NOT spending time with said wife, taking care of said apartment, or working on said law degree, because the call of Final Fantasy XIII-2 was too strong.

So that basically brings me to my ultimate point (yeah, I ramble). Games are time consuming as hell, especially for people like Nick who treat it as a second occupation, and who dedicate hours each day to writing about it, except for on days when their wives do it because of Final Fantasy XIII-2.

How do these gamers manage it? The days of hours and hours in front of your parent’s TV are over. You are a grown up now. You can’t play the same way you did as a kid. There’s dinners to make, dishes to clean, dogs to walk, other kids hogging your console, except now instead of being your friends who don’t have their own, they might be your actual kids.

So how do you make the transition, to be the gamer the gaming industry makes games for you to be?

1. Neglect all else in life. Get a divorce. Return to parent’s basement. I do not advocate this option.

2. Be casual. Play for 20 minutes at a time, before work or just before bed, or on Saturday afternoons. No, you won’t play every game that comes out. You might take months to finish just one game. For me, that’s plenty, because I’m not passionate about games. If gaming is a light diversion, just accept it.

3. Schedule your life aggressively. That’s what our host Nick does. He knows months in advance when every game he intends to play comes out, budgets for them, and sets aside chunks of time to ensure a full playing experience. He probably puts as much or more effort into this as he does school. This is way too much for most people, but it works for him. If he didn’t make the time, you guys wouldn’t have this blog.

4. Be a reasonable person who can have hobbies without over thinking or fucking up.

5. Learn to sleep only 20 minutes a day. Have it all. I do recommend this course of action.

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