A few weeks ago I talked about taking a break from gaming. Not a forced break but a natural one where my time was taken up with events, family and friends. During this break, I didn’t have that gaming itch. This was a positive I’d not experienced before. The break lasted about 10 days.
Playing something when I felt it was the right time was great. I didn’t feel any pressure to pick up a pad, I just wanted to. I chatted on Tanked Up about returning to Sunless Skies and the wealth of narrative exploration the game provides. I’d played a little more Axiom Verge too, a Metroidvania I’d missed when it released. What had drawn me in to play more than anything though was Telltale’s The Walking Dead. It’s a game I played when it first released on PS3. A game I loved on my first play. I also played season 2 when that released. When the game made the jump to the new generation I didn’t go with it. The idea of my choices carrying through was a huge driver for me. Not uploading my saves to the cloud before getting rid of the PS3 so they could make an impact irked me and I never continued. Now I have the collection, as well as the newest and finished season 4 so I want to play the entire series through. Skybound Games are putting out a definitive collection of the games in September with some updates. I’m not sure I need to buy the game again especially since I’ve only played through episode 1 and some of episode 2 so far. Whilst enjoying these very different games I didn’t bank on my work getting really busy again. I started working almost every evening. My gaming time was once again gone.
I also worked hard over several days because I knew I was off on holiday the following week. I’d found myself with another natural break from gaming. A week of work followed by a week of family time on the beach and climbing through rock pools. These kept back all thoughts of gaming. That and playing through Golf Peaks when I had five minutes to myself. Not a true break devoid of all video games but another easy break where I didn’t feel that need.
Another break so quickly after the last one was unexpected. I’m pretty sure though that this is my new way of life, at least during the summers. Getting that balance right between family, work, social and hobbies is really important. Having a healthy balance is hard to get. Being happy with it is even harder. I’ve come to the realisation that I won’t play, or finish as many games as I used to. It bothered me before when my daughter was born and again when I started my own business. I wasn’t spending as much time on my hobbies, I wasn’t getting as much time to myself. Time to yourself is important but so is supporting a family and nurturing a small human. It’s life and I’ve accepted it. I’m happy with it now, yet I’ve no idea what changed in me to realise this.
So after a pretty long stretch of time where I was playing games almost daily, to ten straight days off, then 5 or so days of gaming daily again to roughly another 10 days off, I’m right back into it. On my return, last Saturday, I knew I wanted to tackle a few games. Solo: Islands of the Heart released and looked a competent little puzzle game wrapped around relationship decisions and introspection. How could I not try that? I’m perhaps halfway through so will discuss the game when I’ve finished. Similarly Outpost Zero released. I’ve spent about an hour on it and love the feeling I get as a mix of No Man’s Sky and Subnautica. Finally, I finished Moonlighter and have started the Between Dimensions DLC. It’s more of the same whilst changing up the dungeon enough with a mixture of enemies and new encounters. It is also full of improvements, which is a good thing.
I have no idea how long I’ll get to spend with these games, or if I will want to return to them after the next break, whenever that may be (I’m sure I will). But, I’m happy with what I’ve played so far and glad that feeling, the itch, isn’t with me anymore. That it isn’t going to hover over me when that next break happens.