The Fifth Column: Game Time Vs Game Budget
When you think of a gaming budget, the first thing that may come to mind is how much you spend on your games. But in addition to the cash spend, video games can also take up alot of your time. As with any commodity the less time that you have the more valuable and precious it becomes. So how does your cash and time budget affect your choice of video games?
When I was a student with way too much time on my hands, I spent hours playing real time strategy (RTS) games. During the super long summer vacations I could spend hours of the day simply grinding away at my favourite game without a second thought. I played a wide variety of games including first person shooters (FPS), motor racing and RTS games. These days I have a family and a day job which means that I have far less game time. Despite the fact that I would love to play my favourite RTS games, I simply do not have the time to spare. This has inevitably lead me to spend my game time on my favourite FPS, which offers a quick fix even if I only have an hour to spare.
I have probably never owned a wider variety of games than I do now. Each month another two games are added to my library thanks to the Xbox Live Games for Gold promotion. But most of my game collection is just gathering dust because I don’t have enough time to dedicate to each title. Granted that not each title necessarily needs to be completed but I can honestly say that there are alot of games installed on my Xbox that have not loaded past the first level. The game that I have spent the most time with this year is Black Ops 2, yes I hang my head in shame. It is a guilty pleasure and I really should know better but the truth is that I am a competitive person and there is nothing that I enjoy more than winning in Team Death Match. But even if I do not win, as long as I feature high up on the leaderboard, I am happy.
One of the ways that I have tried to justify my gaming budget is try to buy games that allow me as much replay time as possible. This has meant that I have mostly purchased games with a strong multi-player element and have tended to steer clear of games that do not have this feature. This has meant that I have missed out on quite a few good single player titles but with my limited game time, it is a compromise that I have had to make. I like to console myself with the thought that I will catch the single player titles in the bargain bin but I am not really sure that this plan will work out as well as I hope.
Another avenue that I should explore is the arcade titles available on Xbox Live. These titles have a number of advantages, they are relatively cheap and generally have a basic game mechanic which is quite easy to enjoy without having to make a major time investment. Before I buy any new game this year, I will spend alot more time going through the Arcade trial games to to see if there are any that are worth the investment.
The bottom line is that your idea of a gaming budget should extend beyond the sticker price of your favourite title. At the end of the day time is also money, if you are not playing a game what else could you be doing with your time. Time is a valuable commodity and often one which we take for granted. Before you drop your hard earned cash on your next title, consider whether it is worth the investment in both your time and your money. If it is not worth your time, then it is most definitely not worth your money.