I think everyone can accept the fact that they have limited time on their hands. This tends to lead to the prioritization of certain hobbies, something everyone does all the time. At the same time, most people have multiple hobbies that they move between, preventing serious boredom with their main hobby by varying things up every once-in-a-while. As should be obvious, anime and its surrounding culture is my main hobby and interest, and most of my free time gets devoted to it. As is normal for people my age, gaming is another hobby of mine, one that I’ve enjoyed ever since I was a young kid. Unfortunately, I’ve run into a major issue over the last few years: almost all the games I want to play are long.
Look, I really like RPGs. Japanese and Western, I don’t really care, I just like games with a heavy focus on story, something RPGs tend to deliver. But they’re all too damn long. I mean seriously, Persona 5 took me 100 fucking hours. I’m fortunate to have had the time for that but I hardly have that kind of time constantly. It took me nearly two months to beat that game and I can’t be spending two months on every game I play, or I’ll never get close to playing everything I want. I’ve got dozens or hundreds of classics staring at me, daring me to play them and I don’t know how the hell I’m supposed to do that when games aren’t even my main hobby.
This is an issue for other media as well of course. If video games are a secondary hobby, tertiary ones like books, live action TV, and film absolutely fail to get my attention. But while I’m a bit regretful about those, the inability to actually play many games actively frustrates me. The circles I’m in all play games and games are actually a part of otaku culture, something I can’t really say for my other side hobbies.
My inability to play long games has many effects. The most obvious is that it simply prevents me from playing a ton of games, but it has much more insidious outcomes as well. Very often I’ll play deep into a game without completing it. Because I’m only playing long games I start to lose my interest in them after a while, eventually reaching the point where the prospect of playing more just doesn’t excite me. Even when I do want to get back to the game at some point, I tend to juggle so many games at a time that it’s just impossible. I have so many great games on-hold that listing them all would be embarrassing, but here’s an example of my current situation.
Right now I have my second full playthrough of Nier: Automata, Yakuza 0, Devil Survivor, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, my second Bloodborne playthrough, Trails in the Sky SC, and the last few hours of Pokemon Moon. Mind you, I excluded all of the games that I’m not likely to get back to in the next year or so. This is just the games I have going on right now.
I do enjoy all of these games and eventually I’d like to complete them. But games are just a side-hobby and I can’t rationalize spending that much time on a side-hobby when I have so much anime to watch. My backlog is over 400 shows long and a ton of them are older shows with over 50 episodes each. That’s just way more important to me than games, sad as it is to say.
And so I’ve run into the fact that I just can’t play games as much as I used to. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially since I’m rather happy being a part of anime fandom, but it is a bit sad to be slowly leaving behind something so foundational to my upbringing. I’m sure I’ll keep playing games, but I’ll never return to the point where I was playing them constantly. Where I used to play something on my Gameboy when I had time, I now read a chapter of a manga, or scroll through Twitter. Nothing about my past was objectively better, but the fact that any change has occurred is somewhat jarring and sad in itself.
Still, I do plan on finishing all those games one day. I might not have a ton of time, but I’m sure I have a lot more than I think I do and if I prioritize the ones I have right now without starting a billion more, I’ll eventually get there. Games might be slowly slipping out of my life, but I’m not just going to give them up. Pokemon set me on the path I’m still traveling today and I don’t plan on abandoning that legacy. Either way, it’d be nice if I liked games that were just a bit shorter.