How I work, How I game.

You work 9-5.

And while you make quite a bit of money, there’s hardly any place for leisure. You glance upon your video games and books: 6 months old and still a virgin. They look untouched – mint, even. But as the dust settles and the smell of newly inked pages slowly wafted away, you realize they’re growing old.

And so are you…

People tell us that being in the 20s means less gaem, more srs. But for the sake of discussion, let us ignore the callings of the working culture for now. That’d do for another article, another time.

How do we get the most out of our games, with such limited time a day?

Why the 8-hour workday, anyway?

Things used to be worst – back then during the midst of the Industrial Revolution, people used to work much longer hours. During this period (around the 18th Century, I believe), every industry, every factory and every business was trying to get the maximum productivity out of their working. Making them to run 24/7 was the key. In other to maximize the output of a factory, people needed to work more. In fact, 10-16 hours a day was the norm.

Gaming as a working adult
Also, use of child labor was common to keep factories at maximum output.

It was not until Robert Owen started to campaign against such ridiculous working hours and, following the implementation and success of Ford Motor Company, that we saw today’s 8-hour work day.

——————

But truth be told, on average, our “recreation time” doesn’t even come close to 8 hours. You’d spend some of the time commuting to and fro, doing groceries, running errands and even working over time. So at the end of your day, when you’re finally stripped of your responsibilities to the society, you heave a sigh and wonder how to make use of your remaining time before bed.

Count yourself lucky if you get a steady 2-3 hours daily.

Gaming for adults
Credits to Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sometimes I would just slump in front of my computer, surfing the web aimlessly and wondering how a passing hour would feel like.

There’s just not enough time for me to play games.

I can’t just give myself just one hour to play Bioshock Infinite every night. The suspense, the puzzles and tension would tear me apart while I work during the day. It’s like reading a really good book, but you’re only allowed to read 5 pages every night. You haven’t had your fill, and the allure of the sweet sweet release of suspense and its climatic plot twist stirs you through the night; a haunting hymn in your dreams.

God forbid you turn down that page turner.
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Clearing your backlog

This is the biggest problem – I realised a lot of us are forcing ourselves to play games in order to make some sense of the purchase. You know you love video game

When I hit my late teens, I stopped going out that much. I realised that I haven’t been going out more, having late night parties and going out with friends in wee hours in the morning. I was living a more solitary life. Every now and then I turn to these media outlets to add some spice in my life.

Yes, I’m using what little time I have left each day to retreat into my own little haven.

It’s just a mere 1 or 2 hours, but afterwards – my mind is left yearning, my spirit is found wanting. And this is not helpful – I would lose sleep and even lose focus at work. It made me feel terrible, become less productive and invariably affected my supposed enjoyment of the game as well. Games should never do this to you!

So I started playing games for 5-6 hours.

Wait, no. I’d only play games when I can spare 5-6 hours. That’s insane, right? Not exactly – I’d spend my free weekends at home trying to finish The Walking Dead and Alan Wake. Some might frown upon me and say that I could spend my time more productively. I should try to learn a new skill this weekend, or similar benefits. It occurred to me that:

“Hey, I’m doing this because this is what I actually want to do, and it’s okay that I’m not spending time at the park or trying to raise a canine companion; because it makes me a happier person.”

And because I no longer have to reluctantly reach for “Exit to main menu”, I was able to more effectively immerse myself in the virtual environment. I no longer have to worry about being late for work the next day.

Did I end up playing more, though? Not really. I spend between 12 – 20 hours every fortnight playing video games – that’s an average of 4 hours per day, provided that I only play during the weekends.

Even though I didn’t spend more/less time playing, I am more able to enjoy my “video game sessions”. Now I spend my weekday leisure time chatting with friends and family, writing essays and reading blogs – which reminds me: how do you guys spend your time?

😉

P.S: Write up your own gaming/working schedule so I can link it here!

20 thoughts on “How I work, How I game.

  1. Well, we game about the same way. I spend 9 hours a day at the office, where I can’t be playing video games, given that for me to get there from home, and get home from there take about 2 more ours or a bit more, I have 12 hours left on my day, from which I try to sleep at least 6 hours (I always end up sleeping 4 hours though) and so I play games just about 2 hours a day, and some more on weekends (as I never go out…seriously!) yet, I’m mostly spending my time on writing and the projects I have going on, which take quite a lot of time as well!

    1. Hey me too! I’d be reading/writing from 8.30pm to 10.30pm, and then I’d start preparing for work tomorrow. It’s really energy draining…

  2. Ah, I remember the days when I spent several hours a day playing games. Of course, this was before I went off to university, started working and became a fullblown adult. The good old times…

    Nowadays, I rarely play any games on the Xbox but when I do, I really savour that time. When Tomb Raider 2013 came out, I spent a couple of hours each day playing it so I managed to draw it out for a couple of weeks (no doubt helped by the fact that I’m actually quite useless at shooters). Most of my gaming these days is on Facebook (I’m addicted to Candy Crush Saga) but I do have occasionally binge-gaming sessions every couple of months. It just seems that I have way more things to do and take care of. I work 8 hours a day, spend close to 2 hours commuting to/from work, work on my blog, spend hours on social media/online communities, read, write, learn new skills, and hang out with my partner and friends. And that’s not even counting the hours spent on cooking, chores, housework and watching TV (admittedly, I only watch about 5-10 hours of TV a week). On the plus side, the money I save from not buying games goes towards my travels…so it’s not all bad. 😉

    1. Commuting is hell! I spend about $50-$60 a month just on commuting alone. Hahaha, I do play games at work though. Not candy crush saga because we got facebook and other similar sites banned. Damn.

      And binge-gaming… I remember doing that quite some time ago: its like chocolate for your soul! Rich and nourishing, but sinful. Haha!

  3. I’m lucky in this aspect. I get my daughter to school in the morning, go to work between 8 and 9 hours. Get home, feed and bath my daughter, then make dinner. 14hrs of my day go to working and family responsibility. I then have three or four hours left in the day which I have to budget for gaming and blogging, and time with my wife.

    I need to get at least an hour or two of gaming done in the evening to get my head straight, so for me I’m grateful to at least get an hour during the week is awesome. If I don’t get that, I’m cranky, unless I’m watching a really good series. Over the weekend I tend to do a lot more but I get really distracted by other peoples blogs and twitter is really starting to become addictive.

    My gaming is a little unhealthy as it’s a coping mechanism, lol If i didn’t have it I would go nuts.

  4. you know what’s interesting, I’m 27 years old and when I buy a game, I still have that kid mentality of “must play game now” I’m very grateful that I still have that 🙂

    1. Hahaha! That’s awesome – some people I know completely shut down after they reach adulthood. They feel that money-making is a means to happiness, or perhaps the only means to happiness. So instead of actually doing things that they really enjoy, they damn their waking hours to making money.

      It’s really good for the industry, but I don’t anyone can survive that long in a depressive state.

      I get really cranky when I don’t get enough “me time”, and similarly when I don’t read enough books and play enough games. They’re all outlets for my different needs, so I don’t think its an unhealthy coping mechanism. It kept me going for a long time, and I’ve met pretty interesting people thanks to my hobby.

      Something that brings people together can’t be half bad 😉

  5. I can’t game during the week. Like you mentioned, an hour isn’t enough. An hour is nowhere near enough time to achieve story immersion and I find myself more frustrated than anything else. So I’ve had to limit my gaming time to the weekend, sandwiched in between any social plans I have and spending quality time with the boyf. If I’m lucky this will be 5-6 hours either on a Saturday or Sunday. That’s nowhere near the kind of time I’d like to spend on my games but it’s about all I can spare right now.

    Roll on the Christmas holidays!

    1. Exactly! If I can’t devote 5-6 hours to the game, I won’t even attempt to play it at all. If I really had to play, I’d be doing beta/alpha testing during the weekdays. Its half work, half play, and I get really cynical very easily.

      24 hours is never enough! I’m still an entire season away from catching up to The Mentalist ):

      1. Ugh you reminded me, I’m seriously far behind with The Mentalist too! But yes, indeed, there really isn’t enough time for workers by day, gamers by night.

  6. There’s little time for anything anymore. I even tried playing PS3 while on my exercise bike–though it could work, but trust me, it doesn’t. Isn’t of being a time-saving combo, it’s utter multitasking madness.

  7. This article touched a nerve for me. Right now I’m not working and loving having time to game. And I’m with you; for most types of games, I need a minimum of 3 hours to feel satisfied by a gaming session. What I’m really concerned about is when I become a parent… I can’t imagine ever having that kind of time block to play. I hate to think of giving up my favorite leisure activity…. but I really wonder how parents (especially women, who for the most part still spend much more time on childcare) make it work.

    1. Yes! When I realised my parents practically cut off their social life once they started the family, it scared me. It’s as if once you graduate and start working, everything goes downhill from there. I don’t mind if everything tones down a little, and live a more peaceful life (no drinking, going to clubs, etc). But to lose connection and even that precious reading/gaming time?! Nightmare.

      I don’t wanna grow up… 😡

  8. Luckily I usually get home from work by around 4pm, sometimes earlier, my girlfriend doesn’t get home until 6pm (I don’t like to game when she is around). She also has quite a busy lifestyle, so our work/life/game balance actually works very well, and I will quite often find myself with gaming sessions of 3-4 hours if not more during the week.
    I count myself very lucky with it all really, as I find enough time to satisfy my gaming needs, whilst also maintaining a great social life with friends and girlfriend.

    1. That’s awesome to hear! My social life is practically non-existent now during this few weeks where a hell load of events require my attention. I haven’t had lunch/dinner with my friends for 2 months and counting already…

      Haha, christmas holidays can’t arrive faster…

  9. This sums up my feelings about my situation pretty well. Besides trying to just do the errands, I try to make an effort to run or get to the gym, which is another one and a half to two hour process. My day is work 8:30 to 5:30, then home at 6 to eat, then workout until 8, and I am back home and showered by 8:30pm. Once I am finally done, I just can’t motivate myself to experience the games in a one hour isolation. So, I usually fall asleep to Netflix instead.

    1. That’s what I tell myself everyday – workout! But I hardly get anything done. There were times where I used to jog 1~1.5 miles every night at 11pm. Pretty weird routine, I know…

  10. Fascinating article, and something that’s been on my mind a lot recently.

    I’m currently between jobs, but my previous job had be working 8am-6pm. I was lucky that it was a 10min walk from my house, so it worked out as not much more time out of the house than a 9-5 plus commute. Trouble with that long at work, your mind is like mush when you come home. You can’t even focus on a game that has a narrative of any sort, even for a short amount of time. That’s when you find time for gaming; with that working day I was coming home and eating/doing chores and ending up with an hour of free time before I needed to sleep. An hour isn’t enough time to game, and I’d rather spend that hour with my partner than playing a game that requires my full attention. We like co-op games, but there’s not so many of those these days and an hour really isn’t long enough to game.

    It really concerns me actually, the distinct lack of much personal recreation time. I see working hours going up (of the hundreds of jobs I’ve applied for over the years I don’t recall any standard 9-5s). A lot more jobs are asking for Saturday working as well, so the weekend’s out for gaming as well – leaving just Sunday to yourself, which after a week like that you just feel like sleeping through. It doesn’t bode well for us as people, being unable to socialise due to work pressures and being unable to switch off and relax at any point. It doesn’t lead to a particularly healthy society. It’s perhaps about time we had a modern day Robert Owen to challenge the companies forcing people to work longer.

    I’ve rambled far too much here, and not nearly enough about games. Sorry to highjack the comments a little with this!

    1. Don’t worry, you’re not hijacking! Haha, thank you for your response, really – I’m glad that I’m not the only one who effectively becomes a zombie after work. I think we really need to work less – it’s slowly eating away at my life.

      Time and time again our work has asked of us to choose between our friends and family, and the job at hand. Pick the former and drop a few rungs from the corporate ladder or worst – unemployment. Charge headfirst through through the work week and spend the weekend nursing the headache. I’m not a lazy bum or anything, but I’d think we all need a bit more free time!

      6 Hours work day, please? Haha!

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