Why's It Matter if Someone Wants to Play One Game for Thousands of Hours?

If a guy decides they want to spend 1,500 hours with a 'Mario Maker' level, let 'em.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mbape4/whys-it-matter-if-someone-wants-to-play-one-game-for-thousands-of-hours

I think what strikes me most about this is the monotony of the task and the time invested in such repetition. Spending 750 hours finding every location in Fallout 4 is an incredible amount of time (just over a literal month) but the fact that this involved exploration and discovery makes it, to me, a more sympathetic endeavor. The same is true for the Tibia example cited; there was variety in what the player was attempting to accomplish–the same routine was not repeated ad nauseam in order to level up. In contrast, to spend 1500 hours–that’s 62 full days–attempting a single level… that seems so limited. You aren’t engaging with the game and its mechanics at large; you’re simply doing the same thing over and over and over and the lack of progress over that time suggests it’s almost like a sisyphean task.

So, does it actually matter that this is what a player has done? No it doesn’t matter–if playing a game a certain way makes someone happy, power to them. But, it is definitely one of the least relatable projects I think I have read about.

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900+ hours in Pokemon Moon, most of it hatching eggs and training those newly hatched pokemon into battle ready monsters. Time spent getting the right egg moves, perfect IVs, and the time to level them up. Now I have a team of monsters that can go toe to toe with any high level battle. I did the work and it pays off.

300+ hours with P4 and soon P5 cause I like the world, the characters, and the battling. Sure I can watch the social links on Youtube but actually doing it myself makes me feel closer to those events. I’m there for Futaba who need help to better herself, for Kanji who is finding himself, to all the character’s hardships and development.

I was thinking about something adjacent to this yesterday. The idea a lot of us have, especially creatives but people in-general too, that we have to judge our lives around how we spend our time. What are we doing if we’re not succeeding at something? What good are you to the world if you’re not minmaximg your life and accomplishing things.

Like that’s so not what life has to be tho. Some folks just want to go to work, and maybe they dont hate their job but also maybe they dont love it, they come home, they relax with family or friends or themselves, go to bed, get up and do it again. That’s life for most people and i think we loose focus of that sometimes trying to like Be Somebody on the internet even if its not someone huge. You’re allowed to just Live.

This dude spends his freetime how he likes. It makes him happy. Me? Im trying to be a professional artist and along the way i had to remind myself “Oh wait. This used to be something i just did for fun after school.” And im trying to get that feeling back even a little. I WISH I could just sit down and “waste time” on frivolous art because it gave me joy and not because “I’ll die unfulfilled if no one wants to pay me for this.”

You do you mario maker man. Be good or be good at it, right?


The “what a waste of time” reaction depresses me so much. At worst, it’s an arrogant assertion that I know what is and isn’t worthwhile for anyone; at best, it’s a profound expression of disinterest in other people’s experiences.

I know I don’t always understand why people enjoy what they enjoy. I like trying to learn to understand, but even so, some things I simply never will. But to react this way – to be “sad” that someone else wants different things from life than me – is such a shitty way to interact with the world.

Somewhat of an aside, but I find this attitude even more depressing when it’s clearly entangled with capitalistic ideas about the value of human productivity.
…which is an idea I’m just gonna leave here and walk away from nonchalantly.


It seems like we used to hear this type of “why would you bother” argument so often with games like World of Warcraft, or even just games in general. Maybe as more careers have arisen from the consumption of games (“Content Creators,” broadcasters, esports and all of the career possibilities that entails), they’ve slowed down, but it’s still depressing to see when this cynicism pops up.

Life doesn’t have any inherent meaning - that’s something we all have to decide for ourselves. And even if you don’t think making a hard Mario Maker level is meaningful, couldn’t you acknowledge that maybe the joy of playing Mario Maker enables this player to put effort into other aspects of their life?

If it makes you happy (and obviously as long as you’re not hurting anyone in the process), you don’t have to feel guilty about how you spend your leisure time.


Wonder if it would take less time to build an AI to solve it.

People are having fun & not bothering anyone. Sounds good to me!! I don’t have the patience to achieve these things when I play. To each his own.

Enjoy playing however you like!!! :smiley_cat:

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Did you watch the trailer showing parts of the level? Of all the ways to describe it, “limited” and “not engaging with the game and its mechanics at large” don’t apply. There are mechanics I didn’t even know existed. For someone who loves these super hard kaizo Mario levels I can’t think of a better challenge to put their time towards. I mean, what’s the alternative? Give up and play something easier? That’s not what these people are about.

I have no familiarity with “kaizo Mario” or the deeper level of play and thinking that it requires. Apologies for the ignorance and the dismissive attitude my post may convey.

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I definitely don’t think we should judge anyone for what they choose to spend their time on. But I also don’t think the default assumption should be ‘’ if it makes me happy then it’s okay." We should always ask ourselves ‘’ is what I’m doing healthy? ‘’ There is an important difference between, ‘’ I’m doing this because it’s an enjoyable hobby ‘’ vs ‘’ I’m using a hobby that I enjoy to escape. ‘’

No one is saying you HAVE to be healthy lol. But we shouldn’t ignore that these situations could be a sign of deeper problems, and that goes for any hobby, not just video games. I wonder how many of our favorite things are created by people who are throwing themselves into something not just because it’s an enjoyable hobby, or something they are passionate about, but also because it allows them to ignore other important issues in their life?

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No different than spending hours of your life whiling away at a job for hundreds of hours each year or spending your free time watching TV or doing anything really.

I think it’s a valid point that escapism isn’t always a healthy thing. But at the same time, if that is the primary concern someone has for a person when they hear stories like the one in the article, what good would subtweeting the player or talking about them on forums/reddit/youtube comments do (assuming those comments aren’t directly speaking to the player)? A lot of the responses around these sorts of time-consuming hobbies are judgmental in a way that is not helpful. Especially if the player is having some real difficulties in their life and their escapism is unhealthy.

EDIT: Hearing about these sort of stories or players playing games for incredibly long periods of time (for what might seem like no professional purpose or the like) can be unsettling in some regards, and it’s more than reasonable to be worried, but directing that concern to something constructive and helpful to the player can be difficult.

Though reading your comment again, I see I could be preaching to the choir.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again:

SOME :clap:t4: TIMES :clap:t4: PEOPLE :clap:t4: CANT :clap:t4: AFFORD :clap:t4: NEW :clap:t4: GAMES!

At a baseline you shouldn’t judge people for their leisure time, it’s theirs to do with what they want. Add on top of that the fact that sometimes it isn’t always a choice and that judgment is even worse. I got a lot of shit as a kid for always “being behind” on the latest game because my family couldn’t afford anything but the bundle that came with sonic 3, so that was my game for the entirety of the 16 bit era, and I fucking hated it.


True that. This was me. Back in the day, my parents let me buy three games a year. One of them was *Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly," based on my love of the last two PS1 games before that.

…I…well I learned to “enjoy it,” that’s for sure

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Perhaps this achievement is old news, but this New Yorker article on a man’s quest to hit level 99 in the first scene of Final Fantasy VII seems relevant to this discussion: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/one-mans-two-year-quest-not-to-finish-final-fantasy-vii