Friday, November 13, 2009

Game Overload

Finding the time to play games -- especially when you, you know, run a website and evaluate entertainment software for a living, can be a bitch at times.

That's also how I explain my job to crazy outsiders. I get that question a lot now -- mainly when we meet the parents of Ashley's friends either at soccer, birthday parties, Girl Scouts, 4H, and on and on.

"So what do you do?"

"I edit a website and evaluate entertainment software."

That somehow sounds so much more mature than, "I run a game website and write about videogames."

I tend to go with the first option because when you say the second one it normally gets construed and twisted into, "I play videogames for living."

Which in turn gets construed and twisted into, "I don't REALLY have a job."

I wish I played videogames for a living. I would like that job. I do work full time for Mad Catz, running When I started a couple of years ago I was greeted with "hey the cheat code guys" basically at every turn. But that is slowly changing, and I do like the people I work with at Mad Catz. Nice guys.

But running a multi-platform website takes a lot of time. I'm writing this blog post right now because I just changed the lamp in my DLP TV so I have 30 minutes to kill, and I'm stepping out this afternoon on family business.

But my day is mostly planning upcoming articles, contacting PR about review/preview copies and interview possibilities, and editing the staff's work and posting it to the site. And watching the Daily Show/Colbert combo at lunch. I'm basically the EiC and the Copy Editor and the Reviews Editor and the Features Editor and the Everything But the Video, Art and News Guy Person.

And it's a time sink. I'm not complaining -- it's my job. And I'm normally in a t shirt and sweats when I do it. No rush hour for me. No maze-like cubicles of death, either.

But add in the whole "hey I have a wife and 9 year old daughter" variable into this equation and finding time to PLAY hard. I have been up until 2:00AM the past few nights just to play Dragon Age, a game I'm not even reviewing. But I took on the task of reviewing King's Bounty, NCAA Basketball 10 which arrived today, AND Assassin's Creed 2 which should arrive any day now. Basically I just don't sleep anymore. All because I love using the Earthquake/Tempest spell combo in Dragon Age.

I know a lot of guys that love videogames, and who are married with children -- when do you find time to play? Maybe I need to hire a professional time manager. They'd probably tell me I'm wasting quality game time writing blog posts at 11:15 on a weekday.


Joel said...

I have the same problem. Sitting on my gaming desk right now I have NHL10, NBA2K10, Madden10, Modern Warfare 2, Rock Band: Beatles, Arkham Asylum and Fable 2.

Every morning as I'm getting ready for work, I look longingly at my controller and imagine a day of leveling up in MW2 multiplayer or earning some more NBA playing time for my shooting guard.

But even when I have a day off, I can't spend it gaming. Veteran's Day I spent taking my wife to breakfast, having lunch at school with my daughter and at a vet service in the evening.

It seems like our DVR has actually given me less gaming time instead of more. I used to be able to sneak up to the game room in the evenings when there was "nothing on." Now, though, as soon as I jump into a MP Team game on NHL, my daughter will run in and say "Dad! Come on - we're waiting on you to watch Survivor!"

When I have the energy, most of my gaming time comes late at night. As I get older, I struggle to stay up until 1 am gaming and still pretend to be productive the next day.

My family provides me with a multitude of blessings every day and for that I'm thankful. But I'm also not likely to ever catch the Joker.

Loren said...

Try having a full-time job and running a website on the side. I do much the same stuff as you (EiC, Copy Editor, Reviews Editor, Features Editor, etc.) I just don't get paid for the side job.

Only thing I don't have that you do (I am married) is a child as of yet. When I have games to review I prioritize them. Provided ones move into top slot and I spend my time playing and beating those games in order to review within a week of reception.

With games I rent or (rarely) buy I prioritize those as well. Usually it is subjective, but it works out pretty well. I find I spend the majority of my time playing late at night during the workweek and good chunks of time on the weekend as long as there is nothing else going on.

It doesn't take me long to write a review. Most of the time I will play a game for a bit and start writing the review. I will then go back and add/re-write as I finish the game. Sometimes I will write it all at once, give it time overnight and edit it the next day.

I'd love to be paid to write about games, but the website just isn't as big as something like GameShark.

Anyway, it's all about prioritizing stuff, especially the games you play. For instance, I have Dragon Age but someone on the staff was already nice enough to review it. This allows me to put it on the back burner while I concentrate on shorter games for review. I doubt I'll get to DA before December. I'm pretty sure after next week I'll be ready for a nice break with the holidays coming up.

This is just how I tackle the situation I'm in, doesn't mean anyone else can do what I do (stay up late, wake up early to go to full-time job, etc.).

Joshua said...

NCAA 10 is in your hands and yet to review damn. Was hoping we could get some more information considering what EA has provided has been very limited.