Wondering if anyone can relate to this? Tell me there are others.

1 : Anonymous2021/03/07 16:37 ID: lzu7z9

I'm an older guy with responsibilities and ambitions and I can't help, but feel guilty every time I pick up a controller.

As you age you become increasingly aware of the preciousness of time and I find it really difficult to enjoy the experience when there is this feeling niggling at the back of my head. There are innumerable things I could/should be doing instead of playing a game. It's a shame, because I do feel like video games as an artistic entertainment medium, are mostly top of the food chain.
It's just... I can't justify endlessly practicing a Dark Souls boss battle when it could be piano scales. I can't squander 80 hours on a game epic, when I could be working on a home improvement project, or updating my portfolio, learning new skills, researching investment opportunities, doing squats! You get the idea. There's almost always some other "real world" possibility that would yield more fruit than playing the game.

It's too bad, because these gaming experiences are enjoyable. They're valuable in the same way that listening to a great album is, or watching an incredible movie. It's harder to invest a handful of hours a week into a game the way you might a television series, or football game. Other mediums that you use as pure down-time. They're harder to pick up when you've left them off and most single sessions require a few hours to get into the rhythm.

I guess I'm just wondering if there are any other oldies out there, that can relate. How do you hurdle the bar and let yourself enjoy it. How do you enjoy a long game, when all you have is a few hours a week to commit to that giant story or challenging combat?

2 : Anonymous2021/03/07 16:42 ID: gq3zel0

Grand father here. Been gaming since I was kid from pinball to arcades to Amiga and now on Linux. I have kids and grandkids. None of my kids are minors. So long as you take care of what is required of you and game responsibily, you should be good.

For me that meant local mp only for a good portion of my life as that was helpful in bonding with my kids. Sp games took a back seat for 20+ years. With my last one completed in 1998/9 and my next one played in late 2019/20.

Just do what needs to be done first and play games that respect your time and obligations.

ID: gq40ndo

Beautiful answer

ID: gq46i8d

Right on. Yeah responsibilities are met. I've never really struggled with that. I guess it's mostly how I prioritize my free time that vexes me. No magic bullet here I suppose. Life is full of making choices about what's important to you. That often means missing out on things you'd rather not in one direction or the other.

So it goes.

3 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:45 ID: gq4ol7v

I simply don't care if I beat the boss today or tomorrow or after 2 weeks. My enjoyment don't come from progression or completionism but for doing sth I like. And what I like in souls games is the dodging and parrying, it tests my reflexes. Who cares If I beat the game in 10 hours or in 100 hours.

Also while my profession requires the keep learning mentality I don't do it outside of work hours. I enjoy playing videogames. Some of us don't have any ambitions, we want to live a simple life playing videogames, watching sports/movies reading books or just drink with our buddies.

ID: gq69u9e

That's cool. If there's anything true in this life, it's true that we own our own meat and our own time. No one has the right to tell us what to do with either of those 2 things.

4 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:45 ID: gq5e4x1

There are innumerable things I could/should be doing instead of playing a game.

Do you denigrate all your leisure activities this way, or is this prejudice something you apply to just your gaming?

Leisure and entertainment are "real world" things and are important and valuable.

ID: gq68vn5

"why should I spend 4 hours struning on my guitar when I could be beating Ornstein & Smough"

It's all subjective, really

ID: gq69khp

I try to evaluate everything from a time vs. value position. Some leisure activities are more "nutrient dense" than others. If it's sitting around and watching an hour of YouTube or some popcorn television series then yes. I actually think playing video games is a more valuable activity than either of those options and I believe the science backs me up. It's when I compare it to other "superfood" leisure activities that I feel guilty.

5 : Anonymous2021/03/07 17:49 ID: gq47i3o

You have to make time for personal enjoyment, not everything has to be about responsibility all of the time. I allow myself 1-2 hours of gameplay each day, if I need/want it. Typically, I end up playing 2-3 nights a week for a total of 2-6 hours and I never feel guilty, quite the opposite.

ID: gq4e30h

I agree. I'm thinking a good idea would be for me to better schedule that time in along with time dedicated to my other hobbies/goals. That way it won't feel like I'm taking time away from those things. I will have already checked some of those boxes and so time spent on more "frivolous" activities like gaming won't feel as indulgent. Right now, free time feels kind of dizzying because it's not organized.

6 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:42 ID: gq5dndj

I can 100% relate.

7 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:08 ID: gq4aarp

I agree that gaming can be as valuable as music or movies but there's a difference one should not ignore: time spent and how it's spent.

You may sit down determined to spend only an hour of your time gaming only to end up spending six because maybe you cannot get past that particular boss and your competitive side wants you to keep pushing.

Music and movies are more lenient in that respect.

Some might argue that a movie could result in the same problem in that you may end up loving the movie so much that you will spend four extra hours online researching information and discussing details but let's be honest, if you compare the six hours spent watching and discussing the movie with the six hours spent to defeat a boss in a videogame, well yes, there's a difference.

I understand some are after a challenge, I understand some love it, but hours and hours of gaming, for me, is a big waste of time, for the very same reasons you mentioned, that there are other, more productive ways to spend your time, be it learning a new skill, going for a walk or studying something new to improve at work.

To each his own of course but one can never convince me that the level of gratification derived from beating a boss in a videogame is the same as, let's say, learning a new language, especially when you consider all the possibilities the latter can give.

ID: gq4gcn1

Indeed. That's the dilemma, or maybe it just seems like a dilemma. Perhaps the guilt I feel already reveals the choice I've made about where I place value.

8 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:52 ID: gq56tla

I had a similar thought when watching the Queen's Gambit. "Instead of playing video games, I could be studying chess." I reconciled it by thinking that video games are downtime for me. Most games I can get into "gaming mode" pretty quick and I don't really play for more than 2 hours at a time anyway. I go through games pretty slowly, but I'm okay with that. I also sometimes listen to audiobooks while playing certain types of games (fiction... I'm not really on top of self-improvement and education) or doing grindier parts of games. For more immersive games, the multi-tasking part takes the fun away, but for other games or other parts of games, I find doing both is more relaxing than only doing one (playing grindy part of game or listening to audiobook).

9 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:49 ID: gq5l9qm

Similar but different manifestation. When I was young and constantly bored, burning time was inherently a good thing. So a few hundred hours of low-density entertainment was fine. Like grinding, watching a show I wasn't that into, or rereading the same books. So to justify time spent on it, entertainment just had to better than sitting there doing nothing.

That's changed. Now that I'm a working adult, I have a completely different perspective on the value of time and I constantly think about the opportunity cost, what I'm not doing during that same time--be it work, stuff I need to take care of, socialization, or other entertainment. Even if I'm stuck in a situation without much to do (like quarantined), it fundamentally feels bad to invest significant time and not feel like I'm getting something in return. My mind starts wandering to other possibilities. Now there's a much higher bar to entry for entertainment and wasted time leaves me with a sour feeling in my stomach.

This hits especially hard when I feel a game doesn't respect my time. RNG time loss, fun gated behind heavy grinding, open-world game travel time, junk combat, low-convenience save systems, loss conditions that are more frustrating than fun (e.g. obnoxious bossfights), and stuff like that. I'm still completely fine with long games or replaying difficult fights to overcome a challenge, but need more satisfaction-density in a game than I used to, if that makes sense.

ID: gq6cpes

You nailed it. It's the time v value thing.

Sometimes even games that do respect time are a problem. Not the game's problem, Not anyone else's problem, but my problem. Some simply require more investment or regular play, and I just don't have the level of commitment required to enjoy them.

I really am learning something in reading and responding to to these comments. It's probably something that I already knew when I posted, but that's how things work sometimes. If it makes me feel bad, then I probably shouldn't do it. I can stick to smaller pickup and play experiences. There are many games that are made for me, the way I play, and the time I'm prepared to give.

I just gotta let it go and spend my leisure time working on the things that develop me as a person. That's what ultimately makes me feel fulfilled.

10 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:34 ID: gq5q71i

I'm not that old, but I have kids and responsibilities too. My wife and I have agreed on 2-3 hours of "personal" time every day, and we each get to decide how to use it without guilt, provided there's nothing more pressing.

I rotate between different kinds of entertainment or whatever. Sometimes it's games, other times it's books, and other times it's developing skills. But the important thing is that I get to choose what I do. I usually switch hobbies every other month or so, and I think that's healthy.

11 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:00 ID: gq5mhpn

It's just about prioritizing. Take care of your necessities, appreciate your loved ones, and enjoy your games (or whatever other hobbies you enjoy) when the needful is done.

12 : Anonymous2021/03/08 02:14 ID: gq60zvn

I can relate 100% too and I'm not even 29... Mind me asking how old you are?

I experience the same thing you do and when I finally pick up the controller and play a game with an actual story (regardless it's shit or not) I find myself rushing through the game and not enjoying any of it.

For example, last week I impulsively bought an Xbox series s and started playing Control. Great game! But oh man... There's so much to read and I honestly couldn't give two shits about that I just wanna have fun for two hours.

I really think the only solution for people like us are indie games, rogue lite/like games. Games you can pick up whenever you feel like it, have a few runs and turn it off.

ID: gq675oo

I'm 39. I didn't play games at all for most of my late 20's and 30's. That wasn't any special effort. It just wasn't part of my world. It's funny because it was work that got me back into it. I ended up producing a web series featuring TSM's League of Legends team a few years back. In researching what was happening in gaming, I was like "holy shit" this sure has come a long way. Ha ha. I bought a PS4 just to try some stuff out and opened a Steam account.

I got a Switch at launch and that thing is perfect for me. I think the airplane is about the only place I can truly enjoy games without fretting the time sink. You're right about indies. The truth of it is that I prefer "thinky games", I'm just no good at shooters or combat generally. I'm better at puzzles and exploration.

I just hear about all of these seminal gaming experiences, and feel compelled to try them. I don't want to miss out on the Fight Club of video games, or the Pink Floyd of video games. These things have great cultural significance, and I truly believe that games are probably the most important entertainment medium of our time. Part of my desire to engage is understanding the cultural zeitgeist.

Throw everything you have at your 30's. Such a great time. I mean they're all great, but the 30's are a special mix of having enough wisdom and enough coin in your pocket to make whatever you want happen...happen.

13 : Anonymous2021/03/08 02:21 ID: gq61rzj

Do things to have fun or do things that improve yourself in a way to better have fun. Anything else is a waste of time.

14 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:52 ID: gq6h6uk

I’d highly recommend rougelikes such as Hades. A single run takes about an hour for most popular ones and they’re super easy to pick up and put down.

15 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:46 ID: gq6lq8w

Is one thing for responsibility to dictate the things you do and the things you don't, and it's a whole separate thing when it's your own expectations. If you stop doing what you like because of your own expectations, or to comply to others expectations on you, reevaluate. Usually, nobody but you cares about your self expectations, and others expectations should never dictate your life style.

16 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:02 ID: gq6mwzw

I'm just a 20 year old student with an almost full-time job so my experience is obviously way different than yours but I feel the same way if I play anything without doing the days work. Playing only 2-3 hours on a weekend with all of my work done feels way better than playing everynight without doing all of my work.

17 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:32 ID: gq6x06g

I have this discussion with my girlfriend all the time. My two cents is:

Do what makes you happy. In the end, practicing those piano scales is going to do you just as much "good" as playing video games (aka, you'll be dead anyway). And THAT is coming from a professional musician. You can't take it with you, so enjoy what you can in the moment.

Playing (good) video games are an experience, just like seeing a moving film or reading a great book. Noone would fault you for binging Breaking Bad or The Sopranos, so don't fault yourself for playing Bloodborne or Subnautica.

18 : Anonymous2021/03/08 11:03 ID: gq761b6

Thats why you set aside time for these tasks. Why is it ok for someone to spend an afternoon reading a book instead of going to the gym or fixing up the cabinet? Cuz its time they allocated to do whatever they want. And its accepted that its a time wasting activity.

Do you think the same when you hang out with friends at a bar? I can be doing XYZ.

19 : Anonymous2021/03/08 11:26 ID: gq77grj

This is why I generally 1) play smaller, more story focused games and 2) write about my experiences. Helps me feel justified in my “wasting” time lol.

The truth is though, it’s important in life to have some self downtime with things that bring you joy. You can’t be “on” or productive 100% of the time, otherwise you burn out. It’s just about balance. I don’t have kids so I have a lot more time in that regard, but I have a full time job, long term partner, family responsibilities, pets, cooking, and more. Keeping it all balanced keeps life satisfying.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x