Playing video games is a beloved hobby of mine that I’m hoping I’ll never have to give up. Unfortunately, I’m a pretty busy guy, and so I don’t get to play video games nearly as much as I would like. Some people are lucky enough to play video games for hours upon hours each week, but once you’re done with school, those sessions of playing until the sun comes up are long gone. And so, this question isn’t really relevant to the crowd who is still in college or graduate school – but once you’re in the real, working world and have a myriad of responsibilities and obligations to consider, when do you find substantive time to play video games?
Like I mentioned above, playing video games while in college or high school doesn’t seem like much of a luxury. Sure, maybe you’ve got a part time job, but for the most part, your responsibilities are really just attending class, doing homework, and taking exams. And of course, going to class is pretty much optional to begin with. When I was in college, I would spend hours playing Ocarina of Time; I thought nothing of battling through the Water Temple until 4:00 a.m. My roommate and I had a chart posted on our living room wall with the number of Mario Kart wins tallied up for all to see. It wasn’t uncommon for us to spend an entire night hurling turtle shells at one another and trying to time the lighting attack just as the other guy was going up the big ramp in Wario Stadium. Class was an afterthought.
I didn’t game nearly as much in law school as I did in college, but it certainly wasn’t because I didn’t have enough time. More or less, it was the same situation, though – responsibility was limited to attending an occasional class and making sure I knew my sh*t by the time finals came around. If I wanted to spend an entire week playing video games – as some of my friends did – it would have been easy to do so. After I graduated and started going to work, though, things changed significantly.
I won’t go into too much detail about my daily life because 1) that’s not the point of this post and 2) it’s not terribly interesting. But to give you an idea, I practice law in Manhattan, write for this website, and have to attend to the needs of my fiance. I hardly have enough time to watch television or get to the gym, so balancing the hobby of video games with a career, a side job, and maintaining a meaningful relationship is not easy at all. In fact, it’s almost impossible, unless you’re happy getting around only five hours of sleep a night – which is pretty much my norm. At best, when I’ve finished working, finished writing a post for this website, done some physical exercise (which is becoming rarer and rarer), and spent quality time with my girl, I’ve got about an hour and a half to play video games. And that’s if I have the energy for it and don’t want to do something else, like read or watch a movie or a west coast baseball game. This isn’t a sob story by any means – I’m a really, really happy guy – but it just goes to show that in “adult life,” it’s really tough to find time for video games.
Red Dead Redemption came out last week, and it looks like a pretty awesome game. I’d love to play it sometime. Sometime soon, too. But here’s my problem: the game is obviously massive and very involved (which is a good thing, of course), but I feel like I won’t be able to totally immerse myself in it given my limited amount of time to play during the week. I love RPGs, too – especially Japanese ones – but again, those are the types of games that often require hours of gameplay at any given time to be truly experienced properly. Thus, I’ve kind of gravitated toward action games a bit more as I’ve gotten older, simply for the reason that I can pick them up and play them for a little bit here and there without feeling like I’m missing anything or rushing through it.
I plan to play video games for the rest of my life – why not? – but I’ve come to accept that my days of totally jumping into a game and spending hours playing it are probably long gone. At least, not unless I want to take off a day from work and sit home and play all day (something I do probably twice a year; it’s unbelievably satisfying). So my questions to our post-college readers is very simply: When do you find time to play video games throughout the course of your busy day? And when you do play, how much time can you spend at one time? Let me know, because it’ll be pretty comforting to know that I’m not alone in trying to find time to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies.