The Game’s a Thing, Some of the Time

Crissy Moss posted an article earlier today on the wonders of playing games. Both Garrett Robinson and Simon Cantan enthuse about games they have played. There is (unsurprisingly) a correlation between enjoying games and being a writer. However, there might also be a conflict.

I have been an avid roleplayer for decades and, ever since I bought my first PC, computer gaming has been one of my main forms of relaxation. Whenever I became stressed, I would play more games, and when I was made redundant I would play more games. Until the last time I was made redundant.

For the first few weeks the pattern held: I started the day looking at job adverts and other related efforts, then spent the rest of the day playing Dragon Age Origins. However – unlike previous periods of redundancy – I also started writing fiction occasionally.

Dave Higgins in Sunglasses and Waistcoat
On Balance… ©Dave Higgins – CC BY NC SA

At first I still played a computer game most days; but, as I spent more time on writing, it dropped back to several sessions a week, and then to an hour or so between my wife arriving home and supper on the days it wasn’t my turn to cook. These days, I play for a couple of hours on a couple of Sundays a month.

My roleplaying has similarly gone from most of a day every week to half a day once or twice a month.

While this isn’t unusual when viewed as a time management issue (I prefer reading with a cat to playing games so games are squeezed out by my writing expanding), I was surprised to find how little I feel the absence.

My theory is that games give me that greatest of childhood pleasures: the ability to retell beloved stories only with my answers to the problems, and my (obviously) better ending. Exactly the same power that writing fiction gives me.

So – while the enjoyment of telling stories might be why so many authors also love games – the very commonality that draws authors in, might also be the reason we can set the games we love aside as well.

Do you find writing and gaming overlap? Did you find gaming became less enjoyable once you started writing?


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