It’s not like I wasn’t ready to get in there and get going. I stood in line until midnight on June 12th, got it and my PS3 in my hot little hands, and booted it up for the first time that night. After many travails, I skipped sleeping and wrapped it up at 5am on August 18th. I invested a total of 19 hours of gametime and came out with the Panther rating.
Many of you are probably wondering exactly what the heck I was doing for two frickin’ months. Well, that’s what happens when you have to play a game 20 minutes at a time or only between 3 and 4 am. I run into this with a lot of games. I may get the game on Launch Day, but you can bet it won’t get finished anything like the timeframe most of the rest of the world considers standard.
Gamers grow older and real life starts impinging on the gaming time. Instead of homework for gaming you trade TV or interaction with your household/friends. Add in a big project at work, a sick kid, or dealing with the viscitudes of kids busy school and work lives and you have to dip into sleep and other essential functions. And that means instead of playing four hours a night, you get half an hour here or there.
Besides, what’s the hurry? It’s not like the game’s going to rot in the case or something, for crying out loud. It’s not going to run away.
Metal Gear was one of the biggest scheduling challenges I’ve faced in a long time. Those cutscenes were killers, and some of the missions combined time investment snafus with my own weaknesses in orienteering to create a new form of plodding Purgatory. I probably chased that whistling twit up and down that city 20 times. I’d loose him, I’d get lost myself, or I’d run out of time.
Playing this way has some challenges:
- You basically have to re-learn how to play the game everytime you pick it up. You pick it up faster every time, but you’re also up against the learning curve built into the game so as you progress it gets harder and harder to pick it back up. Be prepared for a few faux pas or take a quick run through the tutorial again before you start in.
- You have to be more aware of which game you’re playing. This may sound stupidly obvious, but if you switch from Super Mario Galaxy to Resident Evil the control schemes won’t quite match. With predictably embarassing results.
- If it’s been a while or there are other players in your house make sure to check your equipment settings, too. One of my most embarassing gaming moments ever involved a custom gametype in Halo 2 called Plasma Punchout with the ZombieSkate gang. I didn’t realize that someone one had modified the controller setup on the Halo profile I was using so it wasn’t set to the Boxer Configuration the way I thought it was until way, way too late in the game. I kept pulling the trigger, which unfortunately on the regular setup means you’re trying to throw grenades instead of melee people. Since grenades are not available in that gametype nothing was happening. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. I just kept dying and not being able to actually kill anyone no matter how many times I hit them.
It has some advantages, too. For one thing, I rarely am “between” games. I’ve always got something I’m working on. It can be nice for the budget too, because often by the time I get around to a game it’s cheaper.
It’s also a necessary skill to teach your kids. Being able to manage their gaming time and the rest of their life is a key skill as the start school and other activities.
So take your time and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun, remember?