Why you should slow down and enjoy your video games – Reader’s Feature

A reader advises gamers to take their time with new titles and not to try and play every game quickly but a smaller selection for longer.

‘Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu

Last week, a reader wrote that games are too long and take up too much of their time. Their argument is that they would resent spending so much time playing one game when they have a world of other experiences out there they could be enjoying instead and that a ‘multitude’ of other entertainment options are all nagging away at them.

So isn’t this the real issue? Not that the reader does not have the time.

But they have too many choices. Sadly, the author writes that ‘lengthy single-player adventures’ are exactly the sort of game they love. If you love that type of game, then why not make the time for them by reducing your choices?

‘A very modern dilemma: There are countless television channels but nothing interesting to watch. Too many choices make people unhappy.’ – Haemin Sunim

Netflix, Now TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Freeview, and so on. Thousands of shows and films to choose from, and yet how often do we spend time looking for something and finding nothing? Too much choice and an inability to make a decision causes paralysis. And even if we do finally decide, there can be a nagging doubt that we should be watching something else for ‘fear of missing out’.

I recently heard someone say they don’t go to the cinema because they ‘just don’t have the time’ to sit for two hours and watch a film.

Yet, they have the time to go to the pub, go on social media, watch football matches, watch TV, or any other multitude of ‘entertainment’ options to fill their time.

When people say that longer games do not fit in with the modern world, what does that actually mean? The world itself hasn’t really changed. What has changed is how people use their time. And most of it, in all honesty, is wasted.
With so many choices, we end doing everything half-hearted or not at all.

As we get older, times seems to go faster, so we feel we have less time to do things, and thus chose to do things that take less time, and then we never feel truly satisfied.

There are more video games to play now than ever before. Several years ago readers talked about their gaming back catalogue and how they still had games sitting on their shelves in their cellophane wrapper.

Now we have even more games with the rise of indie titles, mobile, digital downloads, and more consoles and gaming platforms.

We don’t need shorter games. What we need to do is stop and take a breather!

When I was a young lad, I didn’t necessarily have more time to play games than I do now. I got up early to do a paper-round, went to school, had dinner and did my homework. In the summer I would be out, playing football or going to the cinema, bowling alley or Laser Tag.

When I left school I got a job, had to commute, have a social life (beer drinking takes up a lot of time in your twenties), girlfriends, seeing family at weekends, go to the gym and so on.

What I did have was less choice. There simply wasn’t the same deluge of entertainment options there is now, and I would spend months wringing every last drop out of my favourite titles, admiring their graphics, sound, and gameplay.

We need to learn to be able to say no to the wave of entertainment that tries to fight for both our attention and hard-earned cash.

In 2017 I only played three video games: Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and for a quick pick up and play Rocket League.

That was all I needed. Breath Of The Wild was like a form of meditation for me. Forget speed runs, I enjoyed taking my time, stopping and admiring the intricate details the artists had painstakingly and lovingly crafted into this gorgeous-looking game.

When we try to rush through a game like this, we miss the detail and beauty.

Flags and grass, gently swaying in the wind.

Observing wild animals, going about their daily business.

Sitting, and watching townsfolk, just pottering away with their chores.

Or taking in the power of a thunderous rainstorm, followed by the beauty of the rising sun over a crystal-clear horizon.

We should take the same approach in real life, of course, slow down and take the time to focus on what is around us.

We should take a mindfulness approach to gaming, and fully appreciate the journey, the environment and the creativity of the designers.

It was recently reported that there has been an increase by 50% of anti-depressants being given out in the last several years.

Mindfulness has been a proven and effective way to reduce depression.

If we took a mindfulness approach to gaming, we would realise we do not need hundreds, maybe thousands of big budget, indie, and mobile games to choose from.

No, we need to slow down and take our time on the ‘lengthy single-player adventures’ that we love. Let’s fall back in love with the sense of wonder that exploring these games can bring, disappearing into a new world and being enchanted with your surroundings and learning the game’s richest intricacies and deepest secrets.

We can’t play every game in the same way, we cannot read every book or watch every film.

It just can’t be done, and we need to accept that.

I have still yet to play Resident Evil 2, Red Dead Redemption II, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, or Apex Legends. Why? Because at Christmas I treated myself to a Classic Mini SNES and am happily working my way slowly through Earthbound and enjoying every minute of its retro charms, with no pressure to run out and buy these newer, shinier titles.

Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but I do know that if I do, I will not put any pressure on myself to rush through them, and I will take my time on each one and fully immerse myself in the experience.

By reader Relaxed Chimp

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter.

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