Focusing my gaming time on one title has shown me once again how much I suffer of a condition referred to as “gaming ADD”. Just like regular ADD, patients of this affliction suffer from an inability to play one and the same game for a longer time, being distracted by the beauty and “shiny factor” of new titles. To a degree, all gamers know this: when a new game hits the stores, you want to have it and play with it. However, many of my fellow button-bashers are able to focus on one title for some time, while I’m already knee-deep in another game.
I haven’t been always like this, and for a time, this gaming ADD was driving me mad. However, I learned that it isn’t bad, and that you actually get more out of your gaming life when your attention span is similar to that of a hyperactive dog. This is my story (cue epic intro music).
First of all, I want to make something clear: I suffer in no way of normal ADD. My attention span in everyday life is not shorter or longer than that of most people. When it comes to anything but games, I can actually pay attention for quite a while. However, as soon as games of any kind are involved, that span shortens drastically. As mentioned before though, it wasn’t always like this.
During my MMO “prime”, which lasted from my last years of high school until about halfway of my bachelor studies, I was actually giving most of my attention to one game: World of Warcraft. The behemoth of the MMO landscape devoured about 80% of my gaming time for about five years, and I didn’t mind. Yes, I did play other games, and occasionally I declared to be done with WoW (we all know how that went), but I still kept playing one game. It wasn’t until Cataclysm before I left Azeroth behind and ventured into new worlds.
That was at the end of 2010, and since than I have been leaping from one game to another. This does not only count for MMO’s, but also for my tabletop gaming behaviour. You can ask anyone who ever played with me about how I love to switch from one game to the other, killing campaigns halfway just to start something new. It actually started to annoy me, and I’ve been thinking about how much this gaming ADD sucks every day. However, quite recently, I came to the conclusion that this ADD is no affliction, but a blessing.
You see, my gaming time is something I really, really cherish these days. The days that I could pour more than forty hours into video games and pen & paper RPG’s are gone. In a week, I have about eight hours to game and maybe three hours every other week to roll the dices. This shortage of time prevents me from “going deep” into most MMO’s. I wouldn’t be able to raid a lot, let alone race to the level cap. Considering tabletop RPG’s, the time available to me is not enough to keep an epic campaign alive. But honestly, all these things are not bad, I just have to make the most out of my time.
When I have a night off to play video games, I just pick the game I feel like. In today’s MMO scene, the trends of F2P and B2P actually encourage this. I don’t feel like I waste money for monthly subscriptions when I can’t play The Secret World or Guild Wars 2, because I don’t pay a monthly fee. When I can meet up with people to roll the dice with, we just play what we feel like. Long campaigns are nice and cool, but we just want to tell a story, enjoy high rolls and eat crisps. It’s all we need, honestly.
Facing these facts, a certain degree of gaming ADD is really what I need. It gives me the chance to savour all the different kinds of games, while making the most of the time I have. My gaming attention span is too short to be measured in seconds, and I’m proud of it!
So, what about you, guys and gals? Do you find yourself hopping from game to game, or do you stick with one title for years? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments below!