I'll Take A Side of Dragon Quest With That!

I'll Take A Side of Dragon Quest With That!

Reality TV is great, if you've got the right videogame to play while you're watching.

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I recently realized that Rhythm Heaven is the perfect game to play on the bus since I don't actually need to look at the screen to play it, so I can look out the window keep some attention on watching for my stop.

My MMOG playing is usually accompanied with my laptop being open for access to IMs, TweetDeck and a browser, to say nothing of BBC America or the latest episode of Fringe on my television. I do occasionally shut everything down just to enjoy a game on a console, but it needs to be something like BioShock or Mass Effect, something that draws me in and refuses to let go.

An interesting read. Your observation about games being more prevalent and easily consumed like a magazine or something is true, I think, but I'd never really thought about it until you mentioned it. However, I don't really play games that way myself - I don't game on my pc (it's crap), which is in the living room right by the main tv, so I do watch tv and surf the web. But I have a gaming room upstairs, where I keep my Xbox. So when I game, I game. And furthermore, I have a compulsion where I can only play one game at a time. For instance, while I was playing Fallout 3 (a big-ass game, with a lot of content), there was a glut of other games that I had to wait a good while to play.

I tried this, but I always get caught in a "why aren't you listening to me stop playing that game for just a second" trap. Multitasking either results in getting shot in the face a lot, or Angry Neglected Girlfriend. I think my mistake is playing games that demand a lot of concentration (first-person shooters and so forth). Note to self... Must move to something turn-based.

Clemenstation:
I tried this, but I always get caught in a "why aren't you listening to me stop playing that game for just a second" trap. Multitasking either results in getting shot in the face a lot, or Angry Neglected Girlfriend. I think my mistake is playing games that demand a lot of concentration (first-person shooters and so forth). Note to self... Must move to something turn-based.

It definitely takes a certain type of game. Anything with sustained game playing won't work. But I'm surprised how many games are now designed so that they can be played for five or ten minutes at a time.

It's not even an issue of frequent checkpoints as much as it is games keeping their tasks and pacing limited to five or ten minutes of sustained play before providing a lull. It's like the way we've been trained to watch television has infiltrated game design.

tendo82:

Clemenstation:
I tried this, but I always get caught in a "why aren't you listening to me stop playing that game for just a second" trap. Multitasking either results in getting shot in the face a lot, or Angry Neglected Girlfriend. I think my mistake is playing games that demand a lot of concentration (first-person shooters and so forth). Note to self... Must move to something turn-based.

It definitely takes a certain type of game. Anything with sustained game playing won't work. But I'm surprised how many games are now designed so that they can be played for five or ten minutes at a time.

It's not even an issue of frequent checkpoints as much as it is games keeping their tasks and pacing limited to five or ten minutes of sustained play before providing a lull. It's like the way we've been trained to watch television has infiltrated game design.

Interesting thought. So, I guess in the future, instead of pigeonholing games into either the Hardcore or Casual categories, it'll be Immersion vs Quickie games.

I find myself doing the same actually. I recently had a binge of DotA games with my buddies on Ventrilo. That has gone the way of the wind though, and now I find myself playing Plants Vs. Zombies or Left 4 Dead Survival. Both of which, not only involve zombies, but take pride in the amount of time you spend on them. Left 4 Dead Survival goes in about 10minute spurts of gameplay and Plants Vs. Zombies is about 5-10 minutes per level. I haven't actually been able to sit down and play games for hours straight without actually getting...well bored of them. Its not sad, its just that I'm changing my playstyle I think.

I have the same compulsion. For me its like the experience becomes watered down if I play more than one game at a time. I just don't enjoy that one game as much if I play it alongside others.

tendo82:
It's like the way we've been trained to watch television has infiltrated game design.

Don't know why people always say that. I'm quite serious about television, and rarely just watch it casually, or spend an hour watching a dozen channels for 5 minutes each. I also know I'm not alone in that regard.

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Don't know why people always say that. I'm quite serious about television, and rarely just watch it casually, or spend an hour watching a dozen channels for 5 minutes each. I also know I'm not alone in that regard.

Yeah I don't mean it in the sense that we're all channel surfing all the time, more that commercials really change the way we focus on TV. For instance, I watch Lost pretty seriously, no videogames going on there, but it's basically been cut up into ten to fifteen segments because of commercials. Even using a DVR to fast forward through commercials requires a break in concentration. There's a standard pacing that television shows adhere to, even if you view them on DVD, and I think this pacing has affected how we prefer to consume media.

Really there are only a few channels that require sustained viewing. HBO and Showtime have uninterrupted 30 and 60 minute programming, and it can be quite a different experience.

As someone who very much does a "gaming ritual" where I prep some food & water, sit down, and play one or two games for a few hours, it is interesting to hear about a way of gaming that is so different. I wonder if this sort of multi-channel media consumption in 10 to 15 minute segments is part of the reason I can't stand watching TV. I don't even own one anymore. (Although I do watch Lost, House, & BSG on my PC)

One thing that comes to mind is an aspect of the personality dimension introversion/extroversion. Briefly, studies using various methods of scanning brain activity have turned up evidence that introverts have a higher level of baseline brain activity, and extroverts have a lower baseline. Thus, extroverts seek out more external stimulation (people, tv, games, etc) and enjoy the choir of activity. Conversely, introverts feel overwhelmed by such a cacophony, and seek stimulation that is less intense and/or comes from fewer sources. There are probably a bunch of other factors, but I submit that your level of extroversion/introversion plays a role in which games you play and how you play them.

What I'm doing dictates what kind of game I'm playing. I'd like to devote most of my free time to video games, but with video games becoming shorter and shorter, becoming easier and easier, and being less and less appealing... I can't seem to devote enough of my spare time to just gaming.

The result over the past few years has been to go for games that I can alt-tab out of, or play windowed while doing something else. I'm buying and playing fewer console games because there hasn't been a game that has that 'serious' play idea to it that has appealed to me for since... I can't recall. I'll play something for 30 minutes and then lose interest because the game isn't really that fun or doesn't have the long-term appeal that most games have had for a while.

The last game that I can recall I sat down in the dark, cranked the speakers, and played and played and played was MGS4, and that was the only game I had done that with since Uncharted and before that it was probably TFC.

So... eh.

tendo82:

Clemenstation:
I tried this, but I always get caught in a "why aren't you listening to me stop playing that game for just a second" trap. Multitasking either results in getting shot in the face a lot, or Angry Neglected Girlfriend. I think my mistake is playing games that demand a lot of concentration (first-person shooters and so forth). Note to self... Must move to something turn-based.

It definitely takes a certain type of game. Anything with sustained game playing won't work. But I'm surprised how many games are now designed so that they can be played for five or ten minutes at a time.

It's not even an issue of frequent checkpoints as much as it is games keeping their tasks and pacing limited to five or ten minutes of sustained play before providing a lull. It's like the way we've been trained to watch television has infiltrated game design.

It's interesting how, early on, videogames very much mirrored television in the way they were paced - delineated by numbered levels and so forth (Pacman, Mario Bros) that provided a predictable sense of progress (sorta like the rote formulas for sitcom plot development, I suppose). Conversely, the games themselves were 'long format', in that saving was virtually nonexistent and if you were going to beat the game you were in it for the long haul or had to devise an awkward workaround. I remember leaving my friend's NES on overnight because we were halfway through World 7 of Mario 3 and didn't want to lose our progress.

Now we have games that also reflect the pacing of cable programming: many next-gen JRPGs, for example, hook you into lengthy cut scene sequences and place save points so you're generally playing in 45 minute increments at minimum. We also have games that mimic the time commitments of web surfing and computerized entertainment, by which I mean you can explore a little bit and save pretty much anywhere when you need to (Fallout 3, Penny Arcade Adventures). Finally, there are games where time commitments are socially regimented; that is, if you are playing an MMORPG, you may join a guild and have to show up for a three-hour raid, or you may be playing an online FPS and can't quit until the round/match is over.

If you see videogames as a coherent, contiguous medium, it's pretty amazing what kind of adaptation has taken place over a few decades to maintain the interest of players and conform to their lifestyles and leisure habits.

I remember reading Wheel of Time while playing whack-a-mole, sorry, "healing" in WoW (healing after every paragraph or so, this was a friend party so my friends knew I did this). It worked pretty nicely until the really really later instances in pre-BC WoW and I wouldn't be surprised if it's possible to do so till the very late instances of WOTLK, which I haven't played but have heard how much easier it is.

 

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