At one time in my life, I routinely played Railroad Tycoon and/or Sim City from 6pm to 6am… I typically took “just one more turn” with Master of Orion or Civ for hours on end. There were weekends full of MMO gaming from sunrise to sundown.
Ahh, the nostalgic, digital haze of my gaming yesteryear is a safe and warm place. Responsibility is not welcome there. Though not quite as carefree as the days playing baseball in the cemetery next to my house or the endless hide-and-seek neighborhood matches, gaming still holds a special place in my heart… and I’m still a gamer.
However, gaming is now just another activity vying for my time alongside family, friends, work, writing and everything else. As an adult, I must be creative with my time.
What does that mean?
Well, like a barrel full of evil, clawed monkeys I must tread carefully and plot a course that avoids gettin’ eaten… or, at least, dodge the dirty little poop slingers.
For me, this realization became truth while I was playing World of Warcraft, many years ago. You see, to compete, you must have 1337 gear (leet-speak translator). How do you acquire said gear? Hours upon hours upon hours of running the same dungeon/raid over and over until your eyes explode, you run into the streets screaming and you get shot because Frank next door mistook you for the first zombie.
I was doing a fair share of PvP (player vs player) scenarios and, of course, the obligatory ganking sessions where I’d pwn noobs (refer to the leet-speak translator). However, there came a point when I could no longer compete in pvp. I was hit by the “loot train” and I wasn’t aboard. Everyone else was running raids and then hopping into pvp with their massive shoulderpads and big sticks. I was unwilling to spend the time raiding for hours on end for the gear, so my interest waned and I quit WoW.
I bounced around MMO’s and other games for several years. Friends moved away, LAN parties became less common and fewer of my friends were able to invest the time into a MMO, or get together for tabletop games.
We needed to get creative.
… and we did!
We have discovered a “new” (new to our little group) kind of gaming I call “low-impact gaming.” Mostly, these games are asynchronous (no requirement to be ‘online’ at the same time to play) yet they retain a cooperative or competitive social feel. They can usually be played by spending a few minutes each day (or every other day). No marathon sessions, no massive commitments. These asynch games allow us to have a great deal of fun in a condensed time.
Sure, there were evil monkey assassins along the way, but I think we have managed to find a great conduit to keep gaming in our group alive and well – eventho our group has scattered all over the US, Asia and Europe.
The solution is not exactly shiny new, but it did require a leap of faith. Switching from MMO’s to more asynch games has been a slow process, but I believe we have achieved a measure of success. Gaming is alive and healthy in our group and the games we’ve found are fantastic.
What are some of these games? Well, this post is already large enough to choke a monkey linebacker so next week I shall put together a nice list to share.
…Damn, with all the Wikipedia links, this post is quite educational. I should have charged all baby-boomers at the door.
(no evil monkeys were harmed in the making of this post… well, okay, we hurt a few. Ahem. Sorry, we were forced to slaughter entire villages of evil monkeys to lay down the ink here.)