Game Triage

I’m with Liore and Belghast. Hype cycles are whooshing right over my head. And I don’t know what to blog about. So I go silent for a couple days, which sometimes turns into weeks.

Here’s the main problem:

Too many games. Not enough time.

I suppose one personal habit of mine that has already gotten entrenched is a deep resistance to buying most games on launch day. Or indeed, during the hype cycle when most people are talking about it.

The habit started when I skipped a year or two when I was schooling overseas, or unemployed and conserving money, and ever since then, I’ve been busy playing catch-up.

I don’t regret a thing.

I’m part of the long tail, I get my games cheaper, I still get a very similar experience for most things that ain’t reliant on launch day crowds, and I wasn’t much of a must-do-the-same-thing-as-my-friends-at-the-same-time person to begin with.

It’s a rare game that I buy full price – I must really love it – and often I see it going for much cheaper later, and it rubs in the lesson that I paid a premium for experiencing it at a critical time.

Hell, I have ‘old’ games I want to play again, and I don’t know when I’ll get around to them.

I haven’t quite crossed 1.5 years in Stardew Valley yet, I don’t think. One week I was playing it, and then I wasn’t.

I kinda want to play Don’t Starve again. I bought the latest tropical island DLC thing sight unseen and -haven’t- got around to even seeing any of its content.

I listened to Peter Hollens sing Skyrim and suddenly I want to start another game from scratch, for reals this time, a full second playthrough, and maybe play a different combat style and oh, actually try the DLC? Did I ever buy it when it went on Steam sale? I can’t remember.

Who am I kidding?

Path of Exile lies fallow once more, because Minecraft shoved it aside last week.

I raid now, in GW2, two weeknights of five. Three left.

I took up a real world art class Sunday morning, cos it grew increasingly obvious to me that I needed some form of tangible creative expression. Fills a spiritual, meditative hole. But it does mean that half a weekend is gone where gaming is concerned.

Half of a Saturday is on standby for work or real-life pursuits (eg. family outings) or game community ’emergencies’ (I’m gonna want to play WvW resets if the game mode ever takes off again; the raid group may need to assemble.)

3 weeknights. 1 weekend. (Minus the hour per day finishing GW2 dailies, cos that’s non-negotiable.)

I sit around with a to-do / bucket list, and I have to admit that the most pressing priority for the use of said 3 + 1 isn’t a game, old or new.

I have many epub books and digital magazines left completely unread. I picked up a Netflix subscription when it went global this year (and thus, available in my country.)

There’s also around two decades of accumulated clutter I’ve been trying to divest myself of, and it mostly means taking the time to digitize the stuff I can’t bear to throw away without saving it somehow.

I got started on the project early this year, set an ideal completion date of July, promptly got sidetrekked for two months with GW2 raiding, and really ought to get back to it now that things have stabilized to a place of relative contentment in Tyria… before the Living Story picks up and completely derails the best laid plans.

Between that, Minecraft, the blog and GW2, I am spread completely thin. (And it’s not like the blog is getting that much attention these days either.)

I suspect I’m not the only one with similar issues.

Interesting times we live in now, where our attention and focus has become such a commodity.

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8 thoughts on “Game Triage

  1. bhagpuss says:

    What I’m hearing when I listen to you and Liore and Bhelgast and others is the sound of younger people aging. For a long time it feels as though there will always be enough time to do everything. It may even feel as though the problem is finding enough to do to fill the time. Then at some ill-defined, barely-noticed moment perception flips.

    I was talking to a work colleague a couple of years younger than myself not long ago about re-reading. We both used to re-read as a matter of course. For years I would often assert that the true reading of a novel is the third: the first time through you are caught up and swept away by the narrative and wanting to know what happens; the second time you can’t help matching your memories and expectations with what you are experiencing; the third time is the first time you read a novel primarily for the novel it is, not the novel you thought it was going to be or used to be.

    These days, though, I have to recognize that I have a choice between continuing to read new novels or re-reading old ones. When I was twenty-five it was realistic to imagine I could re-read all the novels I’d ever read if I so desired. In my late 50s I have read a lot more novels and i have a lot fewer left to re-read them. It is no longer possible to imagine I could, far less that I will.

    The same applies to everything, although it takes longer to reach a tipping point with movies, for example, because they take so much less time to re-watch. The internet and the digital revolution have made the problem (if it is a problem) more acute but the problem has always existed and always will exist, even if as a species we end up with thousand-year lifespans.

    There is no need to feel overwhelmed. You are overwhelmed. That’s the natural state. There will always be more things to do than you are able to do, more to consume than you are able to consume. The longer you stay alive the more evident that will become. All you can do is work on understanding what it is that you do want and making sure, as best you can, that that’s what you have.

    • Pasduil says:

      I’m sure age is part of it, and I’ve felt that aspect of it as well. The backlog of things you meant to do and haven’t grows ever larger.

      But I think it’s also a feature of the times we live in. There simply is a greater abundance of enticing stuff produced and readily available to everyone, and we have a far greater awareness of what’s available too.

      When I was a kid I’d watch any sci-fi show going. There weren’t a lot of them about, so you were thrilled when the re-runs of Star Trek came around again to light up the sci-fi starved TV schedule.

      Nowadays there are basically not enough hours in the week to watch what’s coming out.

      And so it goes with everything, TV shows in your favorite genre, important new books on topics of great interest to you, games you’d love to play etc etc. When I was a kid, those were rare and wonderful events. Now they’re churning them out so fast I’m developing apathy as a form of necessary self-defense.

  2. Karinshastha says:

    I’m with you. Give the hype cycles a miss from here to eternity. If the game’s worth buying it’ll be worth buying five years from now on sale when everyone’s mostly forgotten about it. Jumping onto any of the many bandwagons always feels like a game of badminton with memes.

  3. Syl says:

    Hype is one of the best things about awaiting new games and MMOs together and always has been for me, so I’d personally hate missing that no matter how long I actually play post launch. 🙂 I think it greatly depends on how we regard games and the value we must get out of them. Hype for me is a collective experience, too.

    And I still havent had time for Stardew Valley dammit.

  4. Izlain says:

    I tell myself the same thing… I won’t buy that game day one… I won’t pay $60 for that. But then I bought Uncharted 4 on day one. For $60. And a couple days later it was DOOM (but I got that one on sale for $47). I still have a couple games like Banner Saga 2 I bought less than a month ago and haven’t completed. Then there’s my go-to games like LoL or Diablo 3 (new season started), and my huge backlog of untouched or unfinished games. I’m getting to the point where I’m just deleting games off of my hard drive and pretending I don’t own them to alleviate that guilt of having spent money on something I’ll never finish.

    I don’t think this will change. I’m going to keep buying games I know I’ll love on day one, and waiting for those I’m on the fence about. Either way I’ll never finish them all unless I stop buying new ones, or stop playing F2P or on-going content titles. We both know that’s not going to happen.

  5. fireflyry says:

    I tend to game about a year behind release date. Saves me a ton of coin and the risk of buying turds. At the moment I’m still catching up on last year although tbh a modded Skyrim, Grim Dawn and GW2 take up 90% of my game time with newer games mostly sitting idle on my HD.

    Here in New Zealand we also have a lot of trade-in game retailers so you can usually grab a second hand hard copy of a newish game a month or two after release date for a third of the price, sometimes even less if the packaging is damaged or it’s missing a manual which I could’nt care less about.

    MMO’s are the only exception that I usually buy asap, for obvious reasons.

  6. C. T. Murphy says:

    I have too much entertainment overall. I treat what I consume like another job. Some days that leaves me ‘eating junk food’, but for the most part I don’t mind the mentality.

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