Daily Dance: Video Games in a Busy Life

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Video Game Timeline (Photo credit: Emilie Ogez)

Some of us no longer have the time for video games that we used to. In my case, that means that I have (mostly) let go by the wayside many of my favorite (and time consuming) MMORPGS, including World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and Star Wars the Old Republic.

Adjusting to the time demands of working a full time paid job and a part time more or less unpaid job, I have downloaded Minecraft and have been playing it (and it’s awesome, though I wish there were a default version with a clearly female toon) and have returned to Skyrimand am saving for the DLCs. In addition, I’ve been playing Sims 3 off and on for the last year.

All three have two things in common: They are playable on my PC, so I don’t have to compete with Husband and Overthinker for the PS3, and they can be played in short or long stints at will. Those are two key considerations for me, with my schedule and my need to accommodate my family.

Other games I’d like to take a stab at include Portal  (via the Orange Box) and Portal 2, but I’ve been having problems with vertigo when I play them, so I’m still working on a solution (as I’m getting older, this is getting to be a consideration for a lot of games).

I enjoy games with strong (or at least playable) female characters, so I tend to gravitate towards them wherever possible (and they are unfortunately few and far between). I also can’t play first person shooters for two reasons: The vertigo is worst on these games, and I can’t stand the gunshot sounds due to personal history. Other considerations include playing games that my five year old (but once top end) lap top can play.

Sephiroth kills Aerith in a scene which has been referred to as “the most shocking moment in video games”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a gamer since the very first console systems, and have been a steady gamer since 1987 or so. I used to dream in Tetris blocks with that danged music running through my head. My cell phone has the ‘goodnight’ music from Final Fantasy 7 as its text notification, and the Chocobo music as my ring tone. I have had periods where I am a daily gamer (sometimes almost to the exclusion of other activities) and others, like currently, when I play games several times a week, but not usually for extended periods.

As I’m getting older, too, my reflex time is slowing, and arthritis in my neck is affecting hand strength, speed, and pain levels. Go ahead and laugh, but I’m at the leading edge of the first gaming generation that will be retiring in about 20 years, and it is likely that gaming will be a huge retirement pastime by then. Game developers have several undeveloped or underdeveloped markets, including busy women who like immersive play but need flexibility (and pause buttons!) and seniors who have physical limitations but have hours every day to play.

Today’s dance explores your relationship to video games and how they fit into your life:

  • Are you a video gamer? For how many years? Is it a core identity or something you do occasionally?
  • What are your favorite types of games? Why? What game types leave you cold? Why?
  • Are there games you remember fondly from many years ago? What are they?
  • About how many hours per day (or week, if that’s easier to figure) do you play video games?
  • How many hours a week do you watch videos, read about, study tactics for, etc., your favorite video games?
  • Do you use cheat codes or not? Is that a general answer or does it ‘depend’? What does it depend on?
  • How competitive are you in your video gaming?
  • Do you play casual games these days (puzzle games, Facebook games, etc. that take a few minutes at a time to play)? Why or why not? Is that more or less than an earlier time in your life?
  • How did you get into video games? Are other members of your family gamers?
  • How do you balance the semi-addictive nature of video gaming with the need to get important things done with your day?
  • Which console(s) do you use? Do you game on your computer and/or phone?
  • What game did you devote the most hours to? What made that game so appealing and/or addictive?
  • Are there games you’ve played that others loved and you hated? What were they?
  • Do the people you work with realize you’re a video gamer? Do you work with lots of gamers, or are you a ‘lonely only’ at work?
  • Imagine you’re retired and have the money to set up the perfect video game palace. What would it look like? How many hours a day would you use it? How would you accommodate failing vision and slower reflexes?
  • Have you passed on your love of video games to the next generation? Why or why not? If applicable, how?
  • What game are you immersed in right now? Would you recommend it to others or is it only so-so?

As always, discussions are more interesting the more people who engage in them. Feel free to ‘like and share’ the Facebook post that linked to here, and like my Facebook page or add me to your RSS feed for regular dances on every topic under the sun.

  • Health benefits of video games mirror role-playing games (examiner.com)
  • Older Adults Who Play Video Games Feel More Positive and Happy (scienceworldreport.com)
  • The positive side of video games explored at IdeaFest (timescolonist.com)
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