How I manage being a time poor gamer – Reader’s Feature

A reader explains how as a busy family man he still finds time to play games, but only by being very particular about what he plays.

I love video games. I always have done and I think I always will.

At the age of 47 I have been playing video games for the past 40-plus years. Starting with my cousin’s early Pong style sports games right up to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. I’ve owned several home computers and the majority of the mainstream consoles released over the years and have enjoyed my time with all of them.

As much I love video games I have come to the conclusion recently that I really don’t get to spend the amount of time playing them as I used to or indeed would like to. Family life, commitments, and life in general have a habit of getting in the way, meaning I have found myself time poor when it comes to my favourite hobby. When I do have time I am usually too tired to sit up to the early hours playing games, knowing I have an early start the following morning.

All too often I have found myself waking up to a game over screen because I have fallen asleep controller in hand. I know other GC readers have implied it is a matter of choice how much you play games. They are right, it is a choice. I personally prioritise what is most important to the running of my household and my family, ensuring everything else is done before indulging in what for me is a solo activity.

Reading other letters from GC readers in the Inbox, who say they don’t get to play games as much as they would like, has struck a chord with me and has led me to review how I look at playing games. And on doing so have realised why I tend to play the games I do.

I’m not an online multiplayer gamer but I do love a good campaign. In recent years I’ve worked through, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Uncharted, Wolfenstein, and Tomb Raider games. They are easy to play, not too challenging and I get to finish the game in easy short bursts. I want to be able to enjoy the games I play and have found that I tend to avoid overly challenging games, as I want to be able to feel like I’m making progress and not repeatedly dying in the short periods of gaming I have.

I have found portable gaming definitely helps this problem, especially with the Nintendo Switch and being to get straight back into the action as soon as you turn it on. But what I have found more and more is that I am getting my kicks from retro games or arcade games. I’m sure this is partly because I grew up in the ‘80s with a thriving arcade scene and have fond memories of many games of this era.

But thinking about it further it’s because the games were meant to provider players with a quick fix and a ‘one more go factor’. Of course, there are plenty of duff ones out there but also some absolute classics too. It is incredible how playable some of these games still are. To name a few, which I play on a pretty regular basis, are Bubble Bobble, OutRun, Bomb Jack, Power Drift, and most of the Sega classics range on the 3DS.

Most SNES and Mega Drive games also fall into this easy to pick up and play, without a huge time investment. The new mini-consoles and the likes of the Nintendo 3DS with their save slots should be a time poor gamer’s go-to option.

For those who still aren’t convinced they want to play retro games then I can wholeheartedly recommend PlayStation VR. These games are generally short and even the likes of Astro Bot can easily be managed in short bursts. PlayStation VR allows me to feel like I am just about keeping pace with modern gaming.

So my message to time poor gamers is don’t be afraid to go retro and don’t feel you have to give up playing video games due to lack of time. The way I see it is if I’m enjoying it and gaming remains part of my life I’m very happy.

By reader BADMAFiA72

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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