I was talking with my partner last night about some of the niggles we have with our own approaches and attitudes towards things like work, self-improvement, and relaxation. One thing that seemed to span across all of those was both of our needs to wait for the perfect moment.
Since this is my dev-blog I’m not going to talk about what she felt she was waiting on, it’s not game related, it’s not development related, however some of my pet-peeves were. I’ve currently finished my first month at my new job (although I took a week in Croatia so really I’ve not worked a full month yet), and this has lead to a distinct lack of time in my day compared to when I worked part-time. I love that I don’t clock-watch all day, and that there are things to actually think about and test, although I’m not in game development so it’s still far from the dream right now.
The biggest change has been the time I feel I have, I want to be able to do everything much like any human, so I go to the gym at 6AM so I can be in at 9AM ready to work; I spend my time on public transport reading news articles from PCGamer, RockPaperShotgun, and Gamasutra; I spend my lunch watching a half hour episode on my phone and then reading a chapter of whatever book I’m on (just finished up Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, now onto World War Z). I make room for a lot of things, however some things I have to leave to the weekend such as recording the podcast once a month, or most development work in Unity, so that just leaves my evenings for relaxing, self-improving, and playing games.
I want to point out that relaxing for me doesn’t go with playing games, not for the most part at least. Relaxing is switching off, not feeling frustrated if I do something wrong and get a game-over screen (haven’t seen one of those in years but you get the idea). Very few games can I switch off to, and normally they’re games with a tight game-cycle and simple but deep game mechanics. This games include the like of Rocket League, Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, etc.
Very recently I’ve thought about playing Witcher 2, I hear No.1 is dated and not worth doing, and I have started the game but I’m also ridiculously confused as to the story and all my options for meditating, drinking potions, how I’m able to swing a sword light and hard ad infinitum – but then again, it is on easy, something I’m fine with given my lack of time. But before I started playing the game, I had such reservations; I know the Witcher series is meant to be beautiful and for a long time I’ve been considering upgrading my PC. With a new job, a fair bit of cash-flow added it was totally possible. I was denying myself the ability to play a game for a promise of an upgraded computer and monitors just so I could ‘enjoy it properly’.
This is what I mean by the ‘Waiting for Perfection’. Waiting so the game I play can be played at the best quality. Waiting for a moment that isn’t even soon to allow myself to enjoy a part of my life – games. I had to make myself begin to play the game, and I’ve only managed to sneak about half an hour at a time in the game, I’ve no real idea what I’m doing, what the story is, what all the mechanics available to me are, I’m not even comfortable with the control scheme yet as there are so many options of how to play.
This idea of ‘Waiting for Perfection’ has been something that’s cropped up in my personal life when I’ve been wanting to start a new game and have some fun. I normally call it ‘Gamer Paralysis’ or ‘Steam Paralysis’ because I just look at the games I’ve installed, not even the ones I own, and I have so many reasons to want to play so many of them that I end up never picking one and wasting an evening. I want to play all of Dishonored again because I love that game and never played the DLC, and it helps that the sequel is out next month, but each time I look at that library I think “Well I’ve not even touched Doom yet! I’m still half way through Wolf Among Us from 2 years ago, well maybe I’ll just boot up Rocket League then”.
I don’t have a resolution to this problem, I feel it’s down to how much I feel I should do; I should be coding, I should be podcast editing, I should be at the gym, I should be cleaning the house, I should be watching Netflix, I should be getting an early night sleep, I should be out in Manchester networking – making contacts, I should be, should be, should be. It doesn’t help that I feel pressured by the lack of time I have as well that I end up effectively clock-watching my free-time away too, which also results in a less than ideal gaming experience.
Maybe it’s because I’m new to the full-time work game, maybe it’s because I have so many things I want to do, maybe I need to schedule my fun so that I don’t end up wasting it as counter intuitive as planning fun sounds. Regardless if you’re reading this and it sounds familiar, the only solution I have right now is to push yourself to start that new game, to watch that show, to enjoy that free time. Because once you’ve started you’ll then have a reason to come back to it, and that will help you begin to have fun and stop waiting for that perfect moment.
If you’ve read this far, thank you very much for mentally storing my ramblings in your brain. That’s a very amazing display of care that you’d take up brain-space for me, so I thank you from the bottom of my time-panicking heart and soul. Please do share this article and like it, you can find me on Twitter where we can share soup recipes and until next time have an awesome day, and keep on designing.