GamePlay Blog – Week 9
November 6th – November 12th 2017
Playing games has taken a backseat to assignments this week. As the end of the semester draws ever closer, my free time with which to devote toward gaming has definitely dwindled. With a finite amount of time and a huge list of things to get done, gaming has become a bit more of a guilty pleasure than usual. Moreover, I find myself wanting to play games almost more frequently than usual likely as a result of this crammed schedule.
In some ways, though, neglecting games in favour of productivity has made me more aware of my own skills. Despite the “lazy gamer” stereotype, I can get things done—even when I don’t truly believe in my own abilities to follow through. This week, I’ve come to appreciate myself: the me who is able to persevere.
My experience with Overwatch (Overwatch) this week has been a strange one, albeit a significantly smaller one than usual where playtime is concerned. I was only able to play for a few days this week, with a research paper taking up one end of my week and my Term Knowledge Quest largely consuming the rest of my time. Nevertheless, when I did play, my enjoyment… fluctuated. This is mostly to do with my preexisting emotional state upon starting up the game, but my social and technical difficulties definitely played a hand in my experience.
Despite my annoyance with Overwatch has carried over even now, as I write this, but it’s important to note that it’s largely unfounded. Technical difficulties notwithstanding, Overwatch is a great game and something that I enjoy playing and improving my skills in. I try to regard the game as a whole as a positive experience because I appreciate the quality of the product, the way it usually lifts my mood, and the enjoyment I get out of playing.
This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Overwatch impacted me:
- My first experience with Overwatch this week were almost purely enjoyable. That is to say, my matches were standard, my social experience was as to be expected, and my game was performing as anticipated. During this playtime, my experience was assuredly a positive one, and I left the game feeling relatively satisfied.
- At some point during the week, I specifically used Overwatch as a distraction. I found myself with a large window of lonely free time (during which my partner was unavailable), and so I turned to Overwatch to keep me busy. After joining an acquaintance for a few rounds, I actually found that the experience of playing was further ruining my mood through a combination of poor matches and a lack of social interaction, as my acquaintance communicated only through typing instead of the usual voice chat I’m used to.
- I left my last session of Overwatch with an intense irritation and sense of disappointment. After experiencing easily the worst technical issues I’ve ever encountered in the game, I could only tolerate playing one match—and exited the game with the aforementioned negativity. I was actually so annoyed I found myself apologizing to my partner—for the state of my game as well as my own behaviour. Though I don’t typically have such issues, I do encounter some frame rate loss and lag every now and again, though this is typically due to the number of other programs running on my computer. Although the instance still bothers me, it does not largely discourage me from playing again.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Despite my established routine with Animal Crossing (Animal Crossing: New Leaf), my commitment to the game has evidently fallen through. That isn’t to say that I no longer play, but rather that I no longer find myself immediately powering the game up alongside my morning routine. This is largely due to my poor sleep schedule and the new interests I’ve gained mid-semester. I find myself more preoccupied with other digital content these days.
With that said, it’s important to note that I still love the game and my little village full of friendly residents. There aren’t many other games in my possession that I can mold to my liking quite as easily as Animal Crossing. As my responsibilities and real-life concerns continue to grow, one would almost think I’d be spending more time inside my game given its calming, comforting atmosphere. As I reflect on it now, I find it peculiar that I’ve been neglecting it instead.
This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Animal Crossing impacted me:
- Because of my long list of projects and assignments, I find myself forgetting about Animal Crossing much more than I used to. Although my game is almost always within arms reach, very rarely is it the first thing I reach for upon sitting down at my desk. For that matter, very rarely do I check my game within even the first few hours at my desk. When I do get around to playing, though, I still appreciate the game and the way it changes day-to-day. It continues to be a small enjoyment, although one that I don’t partake in nearly as often as before.
- As my Animal Crossing playtime shortens, so too does my partner’s. Because we tend to enjoy the game more when we play together—or at least when we play separately but at the same time—it makes sense that one person playing more or less would also effect the other person. With that said, I reflect on this now with some sadness, given the way it has reduced our weekly in-game visits to zero. Upon reflection, this is definitely something I will follow up on: though the gesture is a small one, it’s still one that I appreciate.
- I have been so preoccupied with completing important real-world tasks that using Animal Crossing to satisfy my desire to complete goals has been entirely unnecessary. Not to discredit the game, but the sense of satisfaction I feel upon finishing up an assignment or completing a lengthy paper is much more than almost anything the virtual world of Animal Crossing could elicit from me. That said, I didn’t find myself completing anything substantial in-game this week, given how much effort I was putting into real-life projects.
This week, my relationship with games has been a bit of a confusing one. I tend to eagerly devote myself to games, and yet, this week I had to take a step back in favour of getting important work done—and upon getting that important work done I felt so satisfied. I felt proud of my work and myself. While some games can produce a strong sense of accomplishment in players, I argue that accomplishing real-world tasks with sizable consequences attached to them is so much sweeter. For me, specifically with my mental illness, the amount of self worth gained from being productive is phenomenal.
I have learned to regard games with a more restricted sense of responsibility and, in so doing, learned to be more appreciate of my own abilities to achieve.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nintendo. December 8, 2016. Video game.
Overwatch. 184.108.40.206B. Blizzard Entertainment. August 31, 2017. Video game.