Vicky and I play computer games together. There, I’ve said it.
It does sound rather counter to my opinion that we should avoid watching TV, and certainly, when friends and family have suggested that I, or we, watch some new show, often my response is something along the lines of: ‘I’m sure your right, and it is brilliant, but Vicky and I attempt to avoid watching new things, because we don’t want it to become a time sink’.
And without a doubt it works – we don’t watch much TV at all, Game of Thrones when that comes around, a reducing amount of F1 and a good handful of Rugby Union. Outside of that, we watch films (which end after the two hours, reducing any significant commitment) and documentaries.
I’m in that generation of adults (if I can call myself that now), who grew up with computers games in their lives. I can recall the joy of getting an Nintendo 64, and playing hours of Goldeneye with friends.
I got into building my own computers with some friends help, and this quickly turned into hours upon hours of time now lost playing online computer games. At first it was shooters, then it went on to MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), specifically Star Wars Galaxies.
When I got to uni all online gaming came to a stop. While on placement, and all my uni mates had pissed off out of Oxford, I bought an Xbox to do something in the evenings. (As a side note, one of the better things I decided to do to avoid complete boredom on my placement year was to join the university mountaineering society. Without that I wouldn’t have met a mutual friend of Vicky’s, and well then this blog wouldn’t exist!).
Our First Console
Perhaps it was the boredom of driving down from the Cairngorms in a day after a week there, we decided it would be a great idea to buy a games console together. Stopping off at the supermarket, we came back with a Playstation 4, Fallout and a rally game.
Choice of games
Since those days playing online games, I’ve stopped playing anything that is ‘unbounded’ as they often become the big time sinks. A game with a great story is often only great the first time, and therefore is bounded. A racing game on the other hand can be played again and again. I now no longer buy any of the Formula 1 games, because I’d gotten into the habit of 100% race distances, lasting hours at a time.
Stupid (Nintendo Switch) vs Deep (Sony Playstation)
After having the PS4 for a few years, it was clear, it wasn’t a ‘fun’ console. Not to say we (or more I) didn’t have fun, I did. Playing, or maybe I should really say experiencing the story in The Last of Us has easily been a highlight of any consumption of story / entertainment ever.
Notice the I in there though? Vicky could never get the hang of the Formula 1 games, so while multiplayer was fun for a while, we never really got into it and she didn’t really want to (and I’m damn glad!) sink the time into getting good enough.
Then the Switch came along, and perhaps after another rash decision we bought one (note: this sort of thing shouldn’t happen anymore, with our accounts system). This time we started with two classics: Zelda, which I adored in my youth, and Mario Kart.
What does playing look like now?
Now a few evenings a week, after work, we get the TV out and play a few championships in Mario Kart. They take about 20-25 minutes. After that we remember how much of a time sink it all is, pack the TV away, and do something more useful with our short lives.
Ironically though, I think this works in our favour. One cannot be learning like a Stoic, and developing skills all the time. It’s super important to de-load, which those 20 minutes do. They also then after those 20 minutes reset us, to not waste any more time.
Is it wasted time anyway?
Arguably, it is not really wasted time anyway, in the sense that we’re playing together, we’re interacting with each other, and having fun, no different from playing cards. We’re two people who try our best to not be glued to our phones, or have the TV on in the background, so really, this is bonding time right?
While fun, we’ve got some other things coming that might help us do the same thing, but in a different way. I worked hard and got rid of the photographic detritus I’d collected over the 7 or so years of attempting to make money, resulting in an almost empty office. This is going to be repurposed into:
- A home gym, with a rowing machine, kettlebells, yoga matts and maybe some dumbbells. While we’d love a barbell rack for Deadlifts, and Squats, we’re not sure how our under-neighbours would feel about us dropping 120kg barbells on the floor.
- A home climbing wall, more specifically a short bounding wall. Yep, we’re getting into climbing!
Anyway that now written, it’s time for Vicky and I to walk back from Costa, have some dinner, and test pack our stuff for going to Scotland in a few weeks. Also we need to get our climbing gear out for an early trip to the wall tomorrow morning.