I play a lot of video games. But someday, will I be just like Andrew Leonard, a man whose life no longer has room for the leading medium of 30-hour masterpieces? That is what I fear.
House writes on Salon that he hasn't played games in three years but is tempted to indulge in StarCraft II.
A compelling video game is not like a good movie or a book that captures a few hours or days of one's available attention. A compelling game is a voracious invader that takes over your life and won't let go. A review of a new Nintendo DS game by Seth Scheisel in today's New York Times observed that the game was good for about 50-100 hours of "entertaining gameplay." A hundred hours! I could bike a thousand miles in 100 hours. I could finish all six of the crazy long nonfiction books I'm currently dabbling in. I could watch all five seasons of "The Wire." I could write a book proposal. Life is too short, and I already spend too much time staring into a computer screen, to waste another precious second playing a computer game, no matter how good it is.
I certainly don't begrudge other people their choices... I don't mean to belittle games as some kind of inferior art form, either, unworthy of our attention. Quite the opposite. My fundamental problem with today's games is that they are just too damn good, and if you have an addictive personality, which I do, they are too damn dangerous.
I will have to face this too one day, won't I? Won't all of us who currently have carved a space in our life for so many games?
Will it be kids or will it be cholesterol that force us to re-consider the time demands of being a gamer? Will it be marriage or a shelf of great books that are going unread?
Can you really avidly play games — the dozens-of-hours-long games that I love — for as long as you live?