Knowing When to Stop
I bought several games in the run up to Christmas. The November release window, coupled with Black Friday and other seasonal sales meant that half of the games I purchased in 2017 were done so in the last quarter of the year. I also pre-ordered two premium titles over the last twelve months, which is something that I don’t often do. I pushed the boat out on both occasions and paid for the top tier version of each game. Ironically, although some of these titles were good and entertaining, many have failed to hold my interest and I found myself returning to the tried and tested MMO Star Trek Online for entertainment. As New Year is usually a time for sober reflection, I have concluded that I have fallen victim to that common gamer malady; namely “the grass is always greener” syndrome. Furthermore, I think I may have succumb to seeking a retail high.
For some, pursuing pleasure through shopping is just a bit of harmless fun and even a social activity. Hence the phrase “retail therapy” has entered common parlance. But for others, it's a real problem and can be very harmful. It certainly isn’t the path to happiness. Irrespective of what end of the spectrum you are, buying a game that you never really play or get full value from is somewhat unnecessary. It's good news for the publishers but for your bank balance. These spur of the moment purchases all add up over the course of the year, be they £60 for a new premium product or £5 for a budget title on Steam. I’m sure I am not alone in losing hard drive space to games that never get played. I have several hundred titles in my Steam library. I have played about a third.
This is also a situation that happens in other hobbies and pastimes. I have entire seasons of TV shows queued up on my DVR or PC, waiting to be watched. I spend hours perusing Netflix and Amazon Prime, adding titles to my watch list and then subsequently ignoring them. Also, I have numerous movies screeners, Blu-ray boxsets and DVDs, all neatly stacked in date order, waiting to be watched and reviewed. And don't get me started on my reading to do list. I have been quite good of sticking to my policy of reading a new book every month, but my pile of essential reading is getting out of control. It teeters precariously on the shelves, a constant reminder of my unrealistic ambitions and chronic leisure time deficit.
So, I have decided, in accord with the season, that I'm drawing a line under both these habits. I intend to be far more discerning with my future purchases and less impulsive. It is time to reacquaint myself with the concept that you cannot do everything. Furthermore, I shall be applying this philosophy to my creative projects this year. From now on I am only going to do as much as I can do. At least that way I can maintain some sort of level of quality. Better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly. From now on I will pick the shows and movies that I watch carefully. As for gaming I think I will have to choose a title or two and stick with them. A return to MMO monogamy as it were. This way I have a realistic chance of achieving all my leisure and creative goals I’ve set myself in 2018.