I like playing video games. I know I’m “too old” for such pastimes, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of gamers are over 30 (sometimes well over 30) and we aren’t giving up our controllers any time soon.
As much as I enjoy playing games, I find I have less and less opportunity to do so. Between writing, which takes up the bulk of my day, and other responsibilities, I might — heavy emphasis on might, I should say — have an hour a day to devote to the activity. Most days there’s not a spare minute at all, which is too bad because I have a backlog of some really good games. Or at least I’ve been told they’re good games; I haven’t had a chance to even open most of them.
Today I decided to treat myself. It’s the last day of our family’s Christmas vacation and I have a few new games to try out, so I unpackaged Rage and gave it a go for about three or so hours. That’s an eternity for me. It was also an eternity for my wife, as well, who had to sit patiently playing CastleVille while I hogged up the television. As soon as I was done, she was dialing up Netflix to catch the last episode of Torchwood. She understands that I love playing games and so she indulges me when I do.
Rage is pretty nifty. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale where you take the role of a survivor of a massive asteroid impact. The asteroid is actually coming, and is called Apophis, so mark your calendars for the end of the world. Anyway, it’s from the makers of Quake and Doom, so it’s concerned primarily with first-person shooting activity, but there’s such a layer of graphical goodness slathered over everything and the post-apocalyptic look and feel is so strong, that it’s highly compelling. I could have played for three hours more, but I have to be fair to everyone.
This year, in addition to working through my backlog of spare manuscripts and producing new ones, I’d like to make more time for games. Even if I only play once or twice a week, that’ll be significantly more time than I’m spending now. And I have such a rich selection to choose from that it’s a true pity I don’t have more fun with it.
And it’s entirely possible that playing games can spur me toward creative endeavors. I tend to gravitate toward story-heavy games — Rage being a semi-exception — and exposure to stories in any format gets my blood flowing. I’m not saying I’m going to play Rage and suddenly decide that I’m going to write a post-apocalyptic tale full of mutant- and bandit-blasting action, though it’s certainly possible. I’m saying that I’m generally inspired by the creative effort of others, whether that comes from books, movies or, yes, video games.
If you’re on Xbox Live, we might even be able to hook up and play a game or two. Rage has a cooperative mode I’d like to check out, and I have plenty of other games with online modes, though they’re more adversarial. Still, fancy a few rounds of Team Fortress 2? I’m up for it.