Video games are a ridiculously time consuming hobby – and I speak as someone that invested 300 hours into Pokémon Emerald, and over 400 hours into Team Fortress 2. Collectively, it would take me 38 days, 21 hours and 31 minutes to complete my Steam library. In that time, I could listen to all of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” 615 times, read the Bible 14 times, or watch the entirety of Star Trek – all episodes and films. As such, it can be pretty daunting trying to work out how to to fit all your precious gaming into a busy university schedule without a) turning down social events or b) failing all your assignments. The answer is clear: Choose games you can play through in a day.
A good source of daily gaming comes from roguelikes – games that encourage short but frequent playthroughs, with gameplay changing with each repetition. The Binding of Isaac, FTL, Don’t Starve, Rogue Legacy or Spelunky you can ‘play through’ in an hour or two – before dying because of the difficulty curve – yet still feel ready to come back for more. Plus, these games are all relatively cheap, so you can still keep your money for textbooks or, more likely, Arena.
If you want to get your fill of AAA games, you might need to knock off a couple of genres. No more dragon slaying RPGs that take up 40+ hours of your time, so there goes Witcher 3 or Dragon Age Inquisition. You might as well cross off Bethesda titles altogether, as they’ll set you back another 30+ hours per game. But it’s not all doom and gloom – Dishonored, all the Batman: Arkham Noun games, the BioShocks, and Destiny all can be completed in a generous 10 hours. What’s more, with only 10 per cent of people completing games that are over 10 hours, you’re more likely to be getting shorter AAA games from publishers who want to see their audience get to the end.
Finally, pull out the little computer in your pocket and game more on your phone. Titles like Framed, Her Story, This War of Mine or Transistor all show how new, critically acclaimed indie titles are finding a niche in the portable market. And, more importantly, these are all titles you can play in the breaks between lectures, rather than having to head home and plug yourself into your console or computer. 500 new games are launched per day on the iOS App Store, which should be enough for any ardent video gamer.
Or, you know, you can be like me and play nothing but Hearthstone. Either way, you’ll have fun.