Games, games, games. So many games. Too many games? One could say so. I find myself constantly floating somewhere between fun, fatigue, and the finish line. It’s 2018 and not a week goes by without an exciting release! I’ve discussed this briefly before and it’s a sentiment that has run through many of my posts here, so I thought it would be worthwhile to really dig into it.

I love games. Do I really need to say that? Gaming has been a tremendous part of my life since a very young age. Be it playing or collecting, reading or writing, I just can’t escape them. (Not that I’d ever want to.) It does, at times, feel overwhelming, though. I look at my “backlog” and put it alongside the games I consider myself to be “actively playing” and I quickly realize why I never finish anything.

Childhood habits

In my youth I got into a habit of doing everything I could to not finish a game. It sounds silly, but hear me out! I was a kid who loved RPGs and things of the sort and would do anything I could to get my hands on a new one. Again, though, I was a kid, so a new game usually meant weeks and weeks of saving allowances and doing “extra chores” to see if I could get my hands on the used copy of Wild ARMs at EB Games (I’ll never forget the magnificent intro, shown below, courtesy of YouTube user “gabyxdantex”). I wanted it to last! I didn’t want these stories to end. The problem is I took this to such an extreme that many of these stories didn’t end — for me, at least.

All grown up

Fast forward to now. Adulthood! Marriage! Office job! I’m lucky enough to be able to live a decent life and afford myself a new game here and there. With that, though, comes the age-old problem — all these games and no time to play them! An average week finds me with maybe 2-3 hours to devote to gaming and as I’ve expressed…I like pretty much everything. And everything means everything.

There are just so many games! And types of games! And they exist in so many different spaces of enjoyment. Story-based titles, multiplayer games, rogue-likes, mobile games, “service games,” and everything in-between. It’d be easy if I were concentrating solely on my time with Octopath Traveler or felt content devoting my time to improving my skills in Overwatch or the latest fighting game. Hell, even if I did nothing but spend my free time grinding for gacha rolls, I’d be a lot further along in my pursuits. That’s not the case, though. I’ll say it again…I just want to play everything!

Divide and conquer?

So what do I do? I compartmentalize it all, or at least I try to. I take each of those categories and I sit down and tell myself what my top priority in each is. It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds, though, especially when there are so many exceptional games on the horizon and I have so little self-control to keep myself from trying to play them. It’s a good problem to have, I guess? “Too much fun!” As silly as it sounds, though, it can get a bit…stressful. Add in a personal aversion to spoilers and a desire to be part of the “conversation” regarding the most hyped new release and suddenly the panic sets in alongside the fatigue.

I guess I’m presenting all of this as a problem and, in truth, it really isn’t. It means people are creating and others are playing. A win-win for everyone! I’m just the type of person who lives in fear of “FOMO” with every substantial new release. You can thank the internet for that, I suppose. That’s another factor we could spend an entire article with, because let’s face it, being able to see everything and the splendor of it all makes it so enticing. I’m trying to focus, though! And when it pays off, it’s beyond worthwhile. Every time I catch that feeling that comes with completing a game I love, I’m reminded that there are few things that hit so many emotional highs at once. It’s just about finding the balance and getting to that ending. Age has definitely taught me to stop clinging to games I’m not loving in favor of more time with what I truly enjoy and that’s a lesson I wish I learned sooner.

Finding my way through fatigue

All of this probably goes in conjunction with how long it’s been since my last post. Sometimes this type of do-everything” anxious fatigue really just makes me want to block off that compartment entirely and focus my efforts elsewhere. For the past few weeks, that’s been books, TV, and some serious focus on my personal mental health. I’ve had a few articles planned and mocked up in my brain for this space, but simply haven’t had the real inspiration to put them to paper.

The great thing in all of this is the “priority realignment.” I’m trying to play games in a way that makes more sense to the time I have available. I’m enjoying simple things when I have a few minutes here or there — a round of MTG Arena or a quick run through Enter the Gungeon (featured above) has been great after work or before leaving the house. I’ve been digging deep in Octopath for my longer sessions, supplementing handheld mode with some TV if I’m just grinding levels. As a bit of a “single player person,” I’ve been hopping into Discord voice chat with pals even if we’re not playing the same game simply for the camaraderie, which is an experience that hearkens back to childhood days of sitting in the same room and playing different games with all of my friends.

A marathon, not a sprint

I definitely feel a pang of longing for that “simple kid time” in my ever-aging heart, but thinking about it, the me of those days would be head-over-heels with the thought of amazing games releasing with the rapidity they do now. Really, at best, I need to meet that me in the middle. I’m finding the way to enjoy each game to the fullest while still dividing my time properly. For sanity’s sake and to the credit of each developer’s creativity, it’s becoming more important to savor each satisfactory gaming experience.

If this blog has done anything for me, it’s shown me the importance of that need to savor and, not only that, but the way it relates to putting these thoughts all on paper in a way that matters. To be able to write about something with passion and accuracy, I need to have a depth of understanding that only comes after crossing the finish line — no matter how many other experiences are looming on the horizon. After all, I can still keep riding once the first race is over.

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