I don’t know how people manage to juggle the media they consume. This is something I’m struggling with at the moment and it’s certainly a ‘first-world problem’ but with all the games, films, TV shows and books I want to absorb, I’m reaching a point of genuine stress when it comes to my free time. As with most, I have a finite amount of time in which to do whatever I want. But I have interests in so many areas of media – I love reading, obviously playing games, watching films and having a good binge on TV shows. There’s just SO MUCH CONTENT.
I think gaming is suffering from an embarrassment of riches at the moment and it really does feel like I’m moaning that “my diamond shoes don’t fit”. Currently I have seven games on the go – Tokyo Mirage, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Hunt: Showdown, Yakuza Kiwami, Dreams and Hades – all of which I’m loving and play for a variety of reasons. Hunt and Apex are my ‘go-to’ games I play with my friends and Fortnite has become a family game where I play online or in person with my kids. The others are sprawling RPGs or Roguelikes which take practice and repetition.
This doesn’t even take into account games I’d like to play, and the wealth of titles sat in my backlog. I’d love to get back into Division 2, dabble in Destiny 2 also, plus really explore Stardew Valley as I’ve only given it a few hours of my time. This is before I even look at the films I own, the anime and Netflix shows I want to watch and the 900 unread books filling bookcases in my home.
And I’m lucky! I work a freelance job where some days are open for me to do whatever I like, yet I still struggle to consume everything. Focusing on games, it’s safe to say that service games are pushing us to decide on one title and stick with it, not yielding to temptation elsewhere. Gone are the days when a game was bought, played and had a definite end. With the dawn of online play, games began featuring multiplayer aspects to push players into sticking with one game – Halo, Gears, COD – and now, in the age of ‘always online’ games have shifted again with daily challenges, weekly incentives, roadmaps of content and large events themed around holidays. There are no console wars nowadays, the war is between games.
- Call of Duty
- Apex Legends
- League of Legends
- Destiny 2
- Division 2
- Rainbow Six Siege
- DOTA 2
Those are just the games I’ve pulled off the top of my head. I’m a big fan of Battle Passes; I know some aren’t and there are extensive articles out there explaining why. Personally, I like the content, the idea of playing to unlock skins, items and emotes. Especially when in-game currency is earned to pay for the next pass. It adds another level to playing online, but it also adds an urgency. Soon, playing the game becomes a ‘need’ and not a ‘want’. You need to play because otherwise the Battle Pass was a waste of money or you’ll fall behind friends and family. Years ago, playing online deathmatches was a cherry on the cake, it was something extra to do with buddies when the single player game ended.
Everything is vying for our attention and honestly, it’s making me anxious. Which sounds ridiculous, but I’m feeling a genuine anxiety over the things I’m missing out on and often, when the evening rolls around, I’m overwhelmed by choice and end up not really doing anything. It doesn’t help that I’m a naturally anxious person and the constant barking on social media doesn’t help. Online outlets are in constant competition to see who can binge watch or consume media the fastest in order to produce content. I’ve still not seen The Witcher and if I hear ‘Toss a coin’ one more time, I might scream. It’s all a relentless slog and one that seemingly forces us to speed through media, maybe not even giving each thing the attention it deserves. It’s no wonder we check our phones while watching TV or films, the world is passing us by while we sit and consume.
In March I want to be playing all of the above games, plus DOOM Eternal and Animal Crossing. I want to read the new Hilary Mantel (a 900-page hardback) and I’d like to fit in visits to the cinema, some DVDs here and there. And I need to socialise. There must be a word in German for this. I’ll leave the final word to Owl Turd who produced a comic which hit the nail on the head.