The Tyranny of Father Time
Originally published on GameInformer.com December 2, 2010, at 1:30 PM.
Selected for Blog Herding: Editor and Reader Picks 12/10/10.
3,692 views as of June 4, 2018.
With the holidays in full gear, my video game and film collections are likely to grow. As is my desperation at keeping up with them. If there was a trophy or achievement for futility, it would have my gamertag written all over it.
I recently picked up the extended version of Avatar on DVD. This will go nicely beside my extended versions of Kingdom of Heaven; Gladiator; Dances With Wolves; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Troy; Terminator 2; The Exorcist; etc. All of which I have yet to watch.
In fact, of the approximately 443 movies I currently own, I have yet to watch about 43. That's approximately 10%. Nevermind that I have maybe a dozen videotapes with, on average, two recorded movies apiece that I have yet to watch, that's about 24 films. Did I mention that's on VHS! Yeah, it's been sitting there that long.
That futility extends to my DVR: Last night it was at 85% capacity for recorded content, including over 59 hrs of programming. But lately it's been hitting 100%, I don't even know how many hrs that is. And do you know what happens then? It deletes unsaved recordings. Often, stuff just disappears! LOL.
Likewise, of the 423 or so games I now own, I have yet to play approximately 27. That comes to about 6%. Worse, I've only finished about 37; conversely, I didn't finish 386, or roughly 91%. And truth be told, it's probably worse, as I've given away maybe 50 or so, most unfinished.
Granted, since getting a PS3 with its free online service (I'd had a 360 but never paid for XBL Gold, because, while I'll buy new games, I won't pay for online service; yeah, I'm cheap like that) I've played online likely more often than offline, which of course doesn't help my completion rate.
This isn't a new development for me, though previously I could chalk it up to the need to own the latest toy or just keep up with pop culture. But more than ever it's become a function of time. The less of that I have, the more my record of mass consumption futility grows.
Between career, children and home ownership, responsibilities and obligations pile up like button presses in a QTE. At the same time, though, my discretionary income has increased, so I can afford more toys. So while my collection increases, my leisure time dissipates.
And this, in turn, raises my stress level. Also, my perception of time becomes warped as my list of movies to watch or games to play lengthens. So with more toys competing for my personal time, I feel like I have even less opportunity to enjoy it all.
I was going to suggest I'd become a consumer par excellence, but the definition is of someone who buys -- and uses -- goods and services. My futility is complete! And of course this is to say nothing of spending time with family and friends, the latter of which recommend Netflix or Gamefly.
Why not rent? It's not like I collect for the sake of it. I do lots of research into my purchases and intend to watch all my films and play all my games. Just, you know, eventually. But the road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. And while not a living hell, I'm certainly feeling abused by Father Time.
Take this as you will, cautionary tale for younger gamers, sympathy for older gamers, or just the ramblings of a lifelong gamer/cinephile. Bottom line, finding the right balance is key, though I certainly don't profess to have the answers. (Just ask my wife.)
If nothing else, in many ways I'm still a kid at heart. Like Tom Hanks' character in Big, frollicking in FAO Schwarz. But with a ring on my finger, kids on my back and deadlines on my mind.
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