The Value of Time

Time,

Cody “Kingblunkers” Allison. Here today to talk about time and how it related to gaming

Why?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts. I’ve been playing games for a long time. I sometimes wish that I could know how much time exactly I’ve played each game. Steam does a pretty good job of that for modern days, but I would love to know how much time I spent fishing in Animal Crossing, or how long I’ve spent looking at loading screens my entire life. I remember one time actually falling asleep on the floor while playing Sims 2 because I refused to put the controller down. In my adult life, I still want to make gaming a priority because I greatly enjoy it! But as I balance family, a full-time job, friends, basic needs, and plenty of other things it can be tricky. So its caused me to reevaluate time and how to think about it in terms of video games.

Time Well Worth it!

First, I’ve been thinking about the time and actual dollar amount the video game costs me. So the most extreme example is League of Legends (LoL). League is free to play, with optional opportunities to buy in game-currency for cosmetics that don’t actually improve your play. I know I have invested some money into the game (maybe like… $50) so even considering the extra money that wasn’t required to play as much as I have. According to wol.gg, a site that calculates how much time you’ve played league for, I have played 1677 hours of LoL. So with that math I only played 3 Cents per hour of LoL entertainment. That is amazing. Then I contrast that to games like 1-2 Switch. I bought it with my initial purchase of my Switch for $40. I think I probably have a total of 3 hours played, that puts me at ~$13 per hour of entertainment. Not horrible, but when you compare that to league its pretty difficult to say it was a good investment of my time and money.

But what about …

I am no econ expert, but there is a principle in economics that is utility. Utility can be defined as the total satisfaction from consuming a product or service. So going beyond the time and money… you have to consider how much you enjoy that game or experience. So while 1-2 Switch only held my attention for 3 hours… they could have been the best 3 hours of my life! (They weren’t…. but you get the point) I played a ton of league… and I will admit, some of those hours were not happy hours. With the nature of MOBAs if you have some toxic teammates, lag, get completely stomped, or just play bad all of these can cause this normally fun game to be awful. I’ve subscribed to the Humble monthly, which is basically get a bunch of games every month for about $12. Usually 1-2 of these are bigger well known games and the rest are smaller indie game. Most of these games I spend very little time playing, but I value the variety and opportunity to play games I would never seek out myself, so you can look at the “Worth” of the cost in many ways. It all depends on the person behind the controller/keyboard.

Additional Costs

So you also have the opportunity cost of playing video games. Recently I started giving some of my time to a passion project I started called “Cody Tries His Best“. I’ve had a lot of things I’ve wanted to try, but always make excuses to not do them. One of those common excuses was time. But as we discussed, clearly I have time to burn but its all about priorities and structure. Currently I am working on drawing a picture everyday until the end of the year. So I already bought the games and the art supplies, so now I have to consider the time. I could make 1 drawing in 30 minutes, or play 1 game of LoL or 2 games of Overwatch. And a lot of days I am finding that If I am responsible and focused I can fit in both!

So what’s your equation…

There are lots of factors here. Time, money, enjoyment, priorities, and more. Every person’s is going to look different. I don’t nearly as much league as I used to, I never went pro, and didn’t really ever get past gold. Some might say its wasted time. But I spent a lot of time playing with my cousin, I spent a lot of time learning new champions and I really enjoy that process. I played crap tons of ARAM with my best friend every Sunday Night for about a year straight.
On the flip side, I also have had amazing time playing games I didn’t enjoy! My friend and I played through “Never Alone” its a very artistic and interesting game from a story/lore standpoint… but not my cup of tea. The Co-op puts one of you as a wolf…. I got to be the wolf its weird and we laughed a lot.

Whats the point…

If you don’t make the decisions intentionally, you likely will just do one thing in your life too much. For me If i don’t try to regulate my time I will give all of it to video games. And while I love video games, I have experienced too much of a good thing, and then thing I love becomes unfulfilling as well as feeling unfulfilled in other aspects of life because I’ve neglected them. I am a gamer, I want to game. and to make it work and still have a healthy balance in life I need to consider a lot of things. And I am sure your story isn’t much different. But we as gamers need to do it responsibly. We shouldn’t be escaping our problems with video games, we shouldn’t be avoiding our loved ones with video games. Use these as tools to enhance your life, not as a crutch. Some weeks I strike that balance just right and it feels amazing. I got to game a ton, got to spend time with my wife and friends, got all my errands and to-do list items completed. Other weeks I know I played waaaaaaay too much and hide away. And if you are spending your time playing games you don’t enjoy, please please stop. Because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Make a conscious decision and enjoy the time you have. Unless your a pro streamer or eSports player you are not forced to play any game, turn it off. It will be okay

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