2020 hasn’t been a good year to check the internet. So, a nice bonus of playing on new, faster consoles is that I no longer have time to doomscroll through Twitter anymore.
I first started noticing this when I played Godfall, of all games. I like Godfall. It’s mindless fun with some shiny, fancy graphics and a satisfying amount of loot and combat. But it’s not the most narratively engaging game, so I find my mind wandering a bit during cutscenes or between missions. And when I’m in this state I tend to grab my phone and check Twitter during long periods of downtime. This usually meant during loading screens. But I can’t do that anymore because Godfall, like so many other next-gen games, loads in seconds or less.
I still reach for my phone when a loading screen or bar pops up in games like Miles Morales or Godfall. Habits don’t break overnight. But by the time I grab it the game is done loading and it’s time to play.
I could pause the game and do some doomscrolling, but I’m trying to avoid that as much as possible. I don’t need to read every single update on how the President is trying to use court cases and cowardly Republicans to break democracy. I don’t need to read each new report about how bad the Covid-19 pandemic is getting. I don’t need to watch as millions of people around the world scoff at basic science and avoid wearing masks. I don’t need any of that, not when a video game has loaded up and is ready to be played.
Going into these consoles, we knew that they would be fast. But it’s one thing to see a video from Sony showing how fast a game loads. It’s a whole another thing when that game is in your room and it is really, truly that fast. No tricks. No editing magic. Just raw speed and power being piped through a 4k display. And all that power is helping me spend less time reading bad tweets and watching sad news clips, which is a huge help to my overall mental state.
I’ll never completely stop doomscrolling or reading the news. (Whatever you prefer to call it.) I care too much about what’s going on to truly disconnect. But these new consoles and their speedy loading screens and instant boot-ups have cut out a few minutes of my day that were once spent looking at a tiny screen, hoping for good news but only finding pain, sadness, and despair.
Now I’ve replaced that time with web-slinging and big men swinging swords at lizard-people. I’m a happier person for it.