I love gaming. Getting immersed into a far off location, solving problems, solving puzzles and being super strong and powerful are some of my favorite ways to spend my free time. The problem is I don’t have much free time anymore. I recently read a quote on Reddit stating; “The problems of being a child: not having the money to buy all the games you want to play. Problems of being an adult: not having the time to play the games you buy.” I currently own Civilization VI, Cities Skylines, Stardew Vally, Wicher III, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age, Elderscrolls V, Don’t Starve, Forbidden Island, Outbreak, Organ Attack, Wizard School and many others that I have not gotten to play more than a few hours of. I certainly have the problems of an adult.
It bothers me that I have all of these great and amazing games, yet have not even gotten to give them a proper try. I also know that gaming can be good for me (see Jane McGonigal’s TED talk for more information about that!). Here is the thing though, I have kids, young ones. The games I have create this wonderful fun immersive world that is captured for all time on the gaming systems, my kids are not. The time I have with them being young is very finite, so if I have a choice between finally finishing the tutorial level of Wicher III or going outside to play with my kids, my kids win. Wicher III will still be there in a few years when my kids are at school.
I feel compelled to mention here that my issue is that I do not give myself enough time for fun to include gaming. Gaming addiction is real and can be a destructive force in someone’s life. Video game addiction can be a factor in failure to launch and one out of eight gamers demonstrate addictive behaviors. Gaming, like most things, in moderation is great. For your average adult getting about an hour to two a day is fine as long as it does not negatively impact your life. The reverse, of not giving yourself enough time for fun, is also problematic and more of what I am speaking about here.
How though do I achieve the balance between being a grownup and still being true to my gamer side? The solution I have come up with is two fold, mobile games and scheduled games. I love simple mobile games that I can pick up and play for five minuets enjoy and then not need to pick up again for months. These quick bite sized puzzles help engage my video game side enough between the few times I can get onto my PC to game. My current game of choice is Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest. It is free and I have enjoyed it, even if I am still struggling to understand what the overloaded gems do and what on earth investigate does.
As per scheduling games I play a weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) through the web-sight roll20.net. This game has fed my gamer side more than anything else as it is a fun and immersive game that is social and has time restrictions on it. As we play online I don’t need to get a babysitter, I just have to ensure my kids are in bed by game time. Every week I sit down with a group of friends as we talk, joke solve puzzles and enjoy trying to be heroes.
Self-care, giving time to ourselves to recharge and enjoy life, is extraordinarily important. It is far too easy to say we will do things tomorrow, rather than taking the time to enjoy them now. Having a set time every week where I play games not only feeds my gaming needs it allows me to spend time with friends.
Being a gamer is important to me. I don’t spend the time I want with all the games I want. Perhaps that is part of what makes them special when I do get to play. For now, I will enjoy my weekly delves into high fantasy and my five minute quick battles with Magic cards. Soon though I will journey back to Skyrim, start my farm in the valley and try like hell not to starve while some odd dog looking things hunt me in the night.