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Posted on Nov 29th 2015 at 09:42:32 AM by (wildbil52)
Posted under Games, Big Games

As the time counter in my Fallout 4 game crosses from 23 hours 59 minutes to 1 day, I'm examining why huge games like this one might scare people off and what we can do in order to play them.

A question came up on the most recent Collectorcast (not yet released as of the publishing of this article) that dealt with long games and it really got me thinking.  Sometimes there will be a game that I know is a good game; whether it be from friends, reviews, or Twitch streams, I can tell it is something I would be into.  Then I find out it's a 100 hour plus "Beast."  Many times, that is a dealbreaker.  My old(ish) adult(ish) brain switches to "responsibility mode" and I make the mental conclusion that I simply do not have the time to sink into a game that big.  I wake up in the morning,  go to work, come home, have dinner with the family, hang out with my boys, put them to bed, and then spend some time with my wife (who isn't really interested in games) and then we go to bed and start over again the next weekday.  Forget about weekends, that's chore, errand, and family time.   You may be thinking, "Bil, why don't you play these games WITH your kids?"  I'm sure that I will eventually.  My older son isn't yet two, and we are trying to limit the time that he sees Dad playing games; besides, he would rather ride me like a horse at this age anyways.

So there, it's settled.  No "Beast" games for me...but wait...what's what...Fallout 4?  OK, I'm in!

But Bil (speaking to myself now), you just determined that you simply do not have the time to play a 100 plus hour game.  YOU HAVE OBLIGATIONS!  Now just wait one minute (speaking back to myself now), lemme splain...

It all comes down to a basic rule of life: You can make time in your life for absolutely anything that you want to do.  That's important so I'll repeat it.  You have time to do everything that you don't think that you have time to do.  It's how people who work 2 jobs earn a degree at night school.  Granted, finding time to play Fallout 4 seems like small tatos compared to a degree, but the concept is the same.  If you really want to do something, make the time.  So, how do you do it (Me speaking to me again)?  As John Hammond once said:

I'll show you

As I said before, I wake up in the morning and go to work.  To make time for Fallout 4 I wake up earlier and play before work.  As much as I would love several hours of uninterrupted game time without looking at my watch or dreading the "time to go to work alarm" on my phone, this is one of the easiest places to find extra gaming time.  It might mean going to bed a little earlier, so I'm not a complete zombie, but there is something pretty cool about gaming in the early hours.  It seems more peaceful.

I really don't want to cut into dinner or family time with gaming, so those things stay, with a modifier.  Normally, I run my older son's bath, bathe him, and put him to bed.  On nights when my younger son is already asleep, my wife puts my older son down after bathtime and there is another half hour right there.  It's not much, so I don't get into anything deep like exploring a new location.  This is normally my settlement upkeep or modding time.  Once both boys are down, we have what is left of the night to ourselves.  Instead of spending the last few hours of every night doing the same thing each weeknight (TV, Netflix, Amazon video, etc.) we give each other one night per week to do whatever.  I can work on my arcade machine, play Fallout, work on a project around the house, anything I want.  If it isn't your night, you are on baby duty.

I'm reading a very popular book about managing money right now and one of the tips in it that has really helped me is to not give up on a problem, to keep at it until you can figure out a solution.  Don't just say "Oh, I don't have time to play that game,"  "Oh, I could never afford that car," or "Oh college is too expensive."  The book calls this habit of giving up on a problem that you think is impossible before really trying to figure it out a sign of Mental Laziness.  That's not to say that you should buy every game, buy the fancy car, and get seven Masters Degrees.  The point is to exercise your brain by figuring out HOW you could do those things if you really needed or wanted to. 

Once you realize that you really can make time for the occasional "Beast" every once in a while, you don't immediately brush off big games.  There are plenty of huge games that are worth making the extra time for them.  Fallout 4 is the big current Beast that the world is playing but now, that I know that with a little effort and planning, I will not only be able to revisit the world of Xenoblade Chronicles, but in time I'll be able to see all that the world offers.

Now that I've established that I can make time for the occasional Beast, the next obvious question is: Which Beast do I pick?  Surely there can't be time for ALL of them, right?  Of course there is time for all of them, IF you want there to be time for all of them.  For me, Xenoblade Chronicles is next after Fallout 4, but probably not Xenoblade Chronicles X after that, I wouldn't mind a little break from the same world.  After a Beast I like to to a little backlog catch up.  I'll go through my Steam list and a bunch of the digital games I own on the Xbox One and 360.  After a couple of those, I get depressed about how big the backlog is and go back to a beast...Maybe Final Fantasy XV will be out by then...

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Sorry folks, there are some problems posting this article, pics are missing and half the article isnt there, we're working on it.
Just based on what I can see so far I better get to work planning a piece I've been planning to critique open world games, specifically Western RPGs.
Article should be posted in full now.
My problem is having 100s of games I havent played but want to. As much as I would love to play something like skyrim or fallout, in the same time I could play 5 or so shorter games
Different argument, Schlibby, though it is related.  We all have hundreds of games we would like to play, my point is that you don't have to avoid big games because you don't think you have the time.  If you really want to play them you can make the time for them.  You bring up a good discussion topic, though.  Is it  more fulfilling to cross 5 short games off of the list or immerse yourself in one big game for months. I guess it would depend on the gamer.
I realise it different to what you were talking about. I was just saying that's my problem :-)
Bil: I love reading how other people manage kid/family time and entertainment.  I do something similar, though since my kids are a little bit older bedtime is a more permanent venture.  Basically I trade sleep for games (usually while I also tackle a chore, like laundry, to make it more "legit").  Not very sexy, but since my kids taught me to get by on 4-5 hours a night, I thought why not take advantage of it.

@SirPsycho: I look forward to reading and commenting on that, especially since the reason I play these games is not the normal reason people play them.

Good read. I don't find a long game to be daunting at all, but I guess it helps to be one of those people that rarely sees anything in life, to its completion. (Maybe someday I WILL finish Skyrim)
Even though I don't sink time into 80+ hour games, like Bil suggests, I know that I could make it happen if I wanted to. I have a busy family life too and similarly, I set aside time for the playthroughs each month and have never had a problem finishing a 20+ hour game. To play something like FO4, I would have to dedicate about 6 months to it. Personally, I know that I would grow bored of playing the same game for that long of a period and would probably never finish it. As a result, I would view this as "wasted" time where I could have been playing shorter and more personally satisfying games. Again, my thoughts are my own based on knowing how I am as a gamer and I understand that drawing a game out for 6 months or longer may be okay with some.
That's the key: "personally satisfying"
I often find them intimidating to start but super satisfying to spend time on. Currently playing through SMT: Nocturne with a friend once a week and it's been a while since I've been able to sink into a lengthy RPG world. So much fun and totally worth the time investment.
I agree with Bil wholeheartedly. I have a pretty busy life with kids, school, work, other work, podcasting, etc., but I find time where I can. I won't cheat any of those things to get it, so it's often sleep that gets a little cut to make it happen. I find that I can do this a couple times a week without it troubling me much, and sometimes I need sleep more. It's the old "How to do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
I too have to cut out an hour or so of sleep in order to game. It may take me several months but I will finish the more lengthy games such. I try to balance the longer games with some shorter games to make sure I still have a sense of accomplishment.

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