Tips on Keeping Video Games a Part of Your Life

Tips on Keeping Video Games a Part of Your Life

Ricardo Trejo
Feb 16, 2012

As generations X and Y grow older and bigger, so do their responsibilities and priorities. And if you're a part of those particular age groups, then you've probably noticed at one time or another that there just isn't enough time in the day to play video games anymore. So how does one in your predicament get their gaming fix?

Well, with the right hardware and time management you can still get some quality time in with your favorite pass time without sacrificing much on your end. People take smoke breaks at work to calm themselves down or relieve stress, so who says you can't take 10 to 15 minutes to knock out some gaming and do the same?

In the introduction to Jane McGonigal's book "Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World" historian Herodotus is quoted, speaking of an ancient civilization which used games to distract themselves from an ongoing famine. And while the majority of us would admit we aren't suffering anything close to a crippling famine, we would say we feel like we're under the mighty hand of dwindling time, responsibility, and pressure from work and school. However, using similar methods of escapism we can train our minds to better accept these challenges with a little bit of video games. And the first step to doing this may already be in your pocket.

Mobile gaming
As smartphones become smarter they remember more and more from our past. For the retro gamer who's looking to relive better days, sometimes a quick search through the app store on iOS can help you find gems that you may have thought were lost forever.

Retro recommendations:

For those on Android, or even jailbroken iOS devices, you could even retrofit your smartphone to play classic games from all ages by means of emulation and roms... though, of course you'd have to acknowledge to owning all the original games too before doing so.

But what if you're pressed for time, there's a new breed of gaming titles that might suit your circumstance. Pick up and play games, as most would call them for their ease in difficulty and minimal requests of your time, these titles are for spurts of gaming that take only a few minutes but could make anyone of any age addicted to their gameplay features.

Pick up and play recommendations:

Little to no skill beyond a flick of the wrist is all that's necessary for these games. Not to mention the amount of cash it takes to invest in these games is usually nothing more than $0.99 cents. In effect, these type of pick up and play games are low on cost and require very little of your time to get some quality gaming in before your break is over, or while you wait on the bench for the bus to make its next stop.

Setting time aside
Like all things in life, there is a time and a place for everything, included games played on video screens. So, why not then set an hour or two after work, or whenever time is best for you, to do nothing but indulge in the childlike nature of not caring about anything outside what's going on between you and the character on screen. This "me time" should be communicated to others in the house, especially to those who may not have such a passion for video games and may suggest you're wasting your time. A little bit of logic can go a long way, perhaps even arguing that it'd be the same as if watching tv or a movie of your choice.

Another idea you might want to try out is dedicating a large portion of time, something like a day off work or a day on the weekend, to invite friends over and just act like you're 10 all over again. Attaining the skill of forgetting the world around you is the escapism that the ancient Lydians were able to harness in helping them forget they were starving. In the year 2012, some of us have bigger problems than others, some work related and others family-oriented, but video games can be a great equalizer.

Whether it means spending 5 hours on a Saturday night fetching around for quests on Skyrim, or using the rest of your lunch hour to get one stage further in Angry Birds, the stimulation that a game presents can both be refreshing and challenging.

And contrary to what some people think, sometimes it benefits society when we topple over fictional dragons, save 8-bit princesses, and become the virtual world's mightiest hero. If anything, it gives us peace of mind and maybe the right mindset that makes us feel like we could accomplish anything in a real world setting, within reason, of course.

Images: Ricardo Trejo, LincolnStein - (Flickr), marklarson - (Flickr)

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