I guess this is growing up... Gaming and liesure as adults


#1

Hi all. I have fond teenage memories of overnight, sleepless DnD sessions and halo ce lan parties. I remember staying up til school started playing Doom and quake as a kid and then again in high school with Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3 among others. I’d dump endless hours into these games because I’d only get a few games a year and after school and extracurricular stuff, my friends and I would tabletop and video game our free time away happily.

Fast forward the years to age 30 and after, there are more great games than ever before, be it on a screen or on a table, and more money to buy them with for most of us (I hope).

The flip side is that we have less time to fit it all into. For many of us, that involves children and family obligations. For others it’s careers and dating or our partners. Beyond work and home life there’s also (in this community especially ) time spent on political and social activism and other more community minded pursuits. On top of all these things, there’s the fun stuff like friends and other activities or leisure items vying for our attention when free time does open up.

How has adulthood changed your gaming and personal habits? Have the genres and games you choose changed over time to fit your lifestyle? Do you find yourself avoiding certain things or even gaming communities? How have you adapted your habits to get in some time with your favorite tabletop or video games? Are we doomed to all have ever increasing backlogs of games we never actually get around to?

For me, I have fallen away from the CRPGS and JRPGS that were my favorite genres growing up. It is too hard to guarantee the 60+ hours to complete them and it’s hard to get a sense of meaningful progress in a 30 minute chunk of play. Not to say there are no exceptions but definitely an overall trend for me. I haven’t bought persona 5 for this reason, and I haven’t completed pillars of eternity or even started tyranny for the same reason. Part of why I’ve played so much Player Unknown battlegrounds is that even a long game is 30 minutes. Not to say I don’t binge play for long hours sometimes but the knowledge I am not stuck in a long cycle to finish a game helps me quite a bit.

Thanks for the great community y’all.


#2

I, too, remember those days – I miss them more and more with every year that passes. Hell, I remember even 5 or so years ago still rarely going to sleep anytime earlier than 3AM - it didn’t matter what was going on the next day, but my body has all but given up on that kind of living. I find myself more often than not passing out at 9-10PM most nights after some mindless TV time with my spouse and, if I’m lucky, an hour or two of gaming prior to that.

How do I cope? Some days better than others (haha), as gaming is more than a hobby to me - it’s always felt like a very distinct part of who I am. Most of the time, I try not to stress it. If not today then tomorrow, I say. And I at least usually have the weekends, since that’s when my wife is busiest, but I’m home from work – that’s a luxury I realize many people don’t have. There was a point when I had even less time and I actually found myself just…buying games to make me feel good. This was a bad plan, would not recommend, as I spent way more than I needed to on stuff I probably have barely touched.

My wife used to game, also - not to the same degree, but at least enough that she can understand its importance to me. I think that understanding has made cohabitation with hobbies much easier, because even if she may not much care about it now, she gets that I do and doesn’t just see it as some “meaningless hobby.”

For little pick-me-ups, I’ve actually gotten a bit more into mobile gaming to get some precious minutes in through the day. I’ll play Fire Emblem Heroes or an emulated SNES game on my phone to pass time at work when things slow down - I’ve even started bringing my laptop to get some FFXIV on lunch breaks and such. It’s never much and it hardly adds up to my childhood hours, but it scratches the itch a bit.


#3

I’m currently experiencing this. My son is 1, and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I took a new, higher paying job so my wife could stay home with him. It’s farther away from my old job, and the hours aren’t as flexible. I used to work 7am to 3pm, home by 4pm. Now it’s 8:30am to 5pm, home by 6:30pm if I’m lucky, so I don’t spend as much time during the week with him as I’d like to. We’re also expecting our second in late October/early November.

The end result is I have to get my gaming in when I can. I prefer playing on PC, but it’s just not feasible sometimes. I’m a web developer, so I’m in front of a computer all day anyway. Sometimes, it’s the last thing I want to do when I get home. I’ve grown very attached to my portables (DS, PSP, Vita) because they offer a more pick-up-and-play experience. The Vita is especially great when remote play is working properly, because I can play something like Destiny or Diablo remotely. Portable means I can play on lunch at work, or while my wife is watching TV, or while my little guy is playing with his toys.

Finding time to binge a game is tough, so when it happens I cherish it and try to play something I know I have a chance of completing. I finished up DOOM over the course of a few weeks where we didn’t have a lot going on, and it was fantastic. My wife and I are actually living with her parents temporarily. We just sold our condo so we could get a place with a yard and an additional bedroom. It’s kind of like a mini vacation; a lot less to do around a place you don’t own, though we pitch in with small stuff around the house, making sure we clean up after ourselves and such.

I’ve actually restarted Persona 4 on the Vita since I can get in a good few hours each evening after work. I’m using a social link guide to maximize my time. I don’t want to focus on how I should spend each day in the game. I’d rather fiddle around with fusing Personas, or grind levels in dungeons; those are systems I’m more actively engaged with, and don’t result in (as Rorie called it on the most recent Bombcast) “analysis paralysis”. If I’m committing to something, I have a “fear of missing out”, so if I can streamline my experience somehow and distill it down to the stuff I know I’ll truly enjoy, I will.

I also love run-based or mission-based games. Spelunky, Risk of Rain, Diablo 3, even Nioh are all games I can play in brief bursts, due to their structure. Spelunky and Risk of Rain can go for a while, but if I’m playing on my Vita, I can just suspend the game and come back later if I’m in the middle of a good run. I tend to play my already-leveled charaters in Diablo, so I can run some rifts, get some items, and feel like I’ve accomplished something. Since Nioh is mission based, I can hop in and out pretty easily. I really wanted to play more of Let It Die, but you generally have to set aside a good chunk of time to do a run. Same with Hitman; I really enjoyed it, but you have to set aside time to learn those maps and do those missions, and I just haven’t had it lately. I started Deus Ex: Mankind Divided but kept getting rolled on the first mission, so I just dropped it. I don’t have patience for that anymore, despite loving Human Revolution.

In the end, you have to make decisions that benefit your life overall. I’m really excited for when my kids start getting a bit older and we can play games together. I can show them the video games I played growing up, and introduce them to things I think they might like. Maybe we can do a little family D&D campaign, or play a big 4-person game of Ticket to Ride. What I’m really looking forward to, though, is seeing what they show me. Sure, they may not end up being a big gaming nerd like their dad. Just by being younger, having more free time, and being more social, they’ll find things that I wouldn’t have; things I couldn’t even look for. It’s a waiting game, but man am I excited for it.


#4

I am in two minds. My Son was born in January and I thought it would herald the end of gaming for a while (having seen my hours per week on gaming steadliy decline over several years anyway due to life/job/marriage etc). But then I purchased a Switch, and have logged 70+ hours on Zelda. My PS4 has literally not been switched on though and I have resigned myself to not playing anything outside of Switch games for a good long while.

Maybe it’s just that Zelda is that damn good. Maybe it’s just that the Switch is the perfect machine for my “new” lifestyle. Maybe it’s just that I am able to function on less sleep (which is odd, as I assumed that would get harder as I got older) but it seems that I am still able to get a decent amount of gaming in, albeit with a specific machine.


#5

I’m 33 and I’ve been back and forth in how much time I’ve been able to spend with games. It depends on the season of life, but now that my kids are 5 and 1.5 it’s settled down (pretty much a non-starter when any human child is 0-3 mos though).

Recently (as posted elsewhere) I have found I get an 60-90 minutes by parking an exercise bike in front of the PS4 and going to town. It’s been a great way to multitask a thing that’s usually unhealthy with a thing that isn’t usually fun.


#6

I really want to do this, but with my PC. I could really, really benefit from this. My parents are watching my dog while we stay w/ my in-laws, so I’ve not being exercising as much as I used to. Having a Jack Russell Terrier that needs to walk at least a couple miles a day really keeps you going.


#7

I actually quit gaming for the most part between 2006-ish and 2011. Coming back to it, I’m happy to say that there are more options for shorter, narrative-driven games that I can dive into as an adult.

I’ve definitely considered dropping gaming altogether in 2017. As I grow older and my life changes in a lot of the ways the OP described, it’s certainly tempting and might simplify things. I totally feel you, there is so much that I still love about games but I’m not always sure what the next steps are now that I’m in my 30’s.

Sharing games with my partner like Broken Age and Grim Fandango has brought us a lot of joy, and it’s so cool to share that aspect of my life with her. On the other side, I totally fell off Torment: Tides of Numenera which I was really looking forward to and am finding Nier: Automata to be a bit of a grind, gameplay wise, during the 2nd playthrough.

I still have dreams of composing for games or getting a job in game dev. It’s hard to tell if at 32, as someone who has spent the last 10 years in social work doing creative work on the side, whether I would actually fit in to the videogame industry, or if I’m a bit old to be proving myself in an industry that has a significant focus on youth and crunch. I worked my share of 60-80 hour weeks during my twenties, put myself through grad school while teaching and toured in bands. I’d certainly bring a different perspective, but I’m not sure about the culture fit. I’m at a bit of a crossroads now and gaming is a part of that transition, sometimes providing solace and other times frustration.

I went on a bit of a tangent there. This is to say - I feel you, and you are not alone.


#8

It helps A LOT to have extra motivation to devote special time to getting exercise. When your kid is a bit older you’ll have the incentive of walking them regularly in the evenings to get them tired for bed time :laughing:


#9

We’re looking at a place that’s on a 1/2 acre lot, so maybe I can just let the dog out and tell the kids to chase him while I play games… :laughing:


#10

I’m not a parent or have a relationship with another but I do have priorities like food shopping, hanging with family and friends, organizing documents for jobs, bills, and house projects to make my place livable. I only have time at night for games and that about 3 to 5 hours every night. I’m ok about missing the days where I use to play all day in a GTA game, grinding in JRPGs, Hatching hundreds of eggs in Pokemon, or getting the top score in Mario kart. What makes me happy now is setting up a schedule to do things and sure maybe I’ll be at a point where I may missing out on playing game but sooner or later I’ll find the time because I have all the time in the world.


#11

I feel this so hard. Even though I don’t have kids and am soon to be single - work is everything. I love my job dearly and am payed handsomely, but this week, for example, is 10 consectutive 10 hour days.

Oh and that’s just job #1. I also run a games criticism website and co-own a non-profit.

Oh and I’m thinking of picking up tabletop miniature games again.

And I’m trying to go to the gym more, and read more, and learn how to bake bread.

That being said, I still manage to squeeze in at least a few hours of gaming every night, and more on my days off. The greatest advice I can come up with is that time and activities can be compacted. Dinner? Meal prep. Gym? High activity, low time. Run the website? On my phone on the bus.

I think Danielle in particular is a great example of somebody who somehow manages to do literally everything - I really look up to her in that regard.