A few days ago, I was introduced by a colleague to a consultant we’ve hired at work, “This is Dan, he’s into PC games too. He’s done over 1,000 hours on Borderlands 2.”
Feeling ashamed, I replied “Jeeze man, don’t tell everyone in the canteen that!”
His reply? Apparently, I should be “proud of that milestone“.
Video games are now my primary hobby, my main source of entertainment, a topic I discuss with many people at work and the nowisgames.com team. I read about them, now I write about them too.
You could say, over the last 25-ish years, I’ve fallen in love with them. Now I have the pleasure of going back decades, discovering wonderful titles I missed the first time, because I was too busy being a spotty oik playing football and having zero success with girls.
We’re truly spoiled as gamers today too, with a deluge of indie titles and Early Access, bigger AAA games easily lasting 50-100 hours out of the box, Season Pass content extending the base game. Digital distribution is bringing old treasures back to life on modern PC’s, such as Ignition, an obscure title I enjoyed back in the day!
With this much choice, what makes it possible to play just one game for this amount of time?
To play one game for 1,000 hours in a year, that’s just under 20 hours a week, it’s like having a part time job. Once you’re hooked enough to become that invested, it’s easier to play more, how does 40 hours a week sound? Maybe 60? I’ve done it, especially when taking time off work, it’s very easy to convince yourself this is acceptable, if you’ve got the time.
I get comments from people who “don’t understand how you can play one game that much” and heck, I’ve made similar comments to my brother-in-law about his 2,000 hour+ (continuing) stint on The Division. If he went to New York, he’d probably know his way around.
If I had spent over 1,000 hours in a year watching movies, would anyone have anything to say about that? What about reading books? Why is spending time playing video games a “waste of time” as I hear occasionally. It’s my time, I should be able to spend it doing things I enjoy.
Forget about that backlog, it isn’t going anywhere…
Borderlands 2 is a great deal of fun, especially with friends, but the story campaign is reason enough to go it alone and enjoy your time. The ability to play over 1,000 hours of this particular game comes from a few factors, common with other games in which you can invest that amount of time.
There’s the sheer amount of content for a start, plus the number of experience levels to progress through, which I’ve talked about here.
It doesn’t feel like repetition, or a loot grind, although that is what it’s really about. It’s relatively bug free, there’s no loot boxes (cough) and the whole experience is just rock solid.
An even guiltier pleasure is GTA Online; at the time of writing, this has been played for almost 1,500 hours, since June 2016. Most of that time was in the first year of owning the game.
Rockstar keep delivering huge amounts of new content and charging nothing for it, this game has become the cockroach of my library, it just doesn’t want to die.
I went through a period of feeling guilty about playing one game, I should be playing “other stuff” and I keep staring at my backlog; all that money spent, on stuff I’ve never experienced.
Digital distribution is partly to blame for backlog growth, that much is obvious, this stuff is not taking up any real space, so it’s very easy to accumulate. The other reason is of course the amount of time invested in a handful of titles.
Keeping it regulated
Many games or platforms keep track of time played these days, which probably fuels the obsession I have with how much time I’m spending playing games.
I get annoyed when the game or platform doesn’t keep “proper” track of time spent playing. I generally avoid buying games on Uplay, because stat tracking is a mess over there; if I can buy a Ubisoft title on Steam, I do it solely for the reason of tracking time spent playing. Sad huh?
Overwatch seems to track only the time spent in a match/round, not the loading screens, character selection and round countdowns. On the one hand, that is good, because it reflects how long I’ve spent actually playing. Conversely, it led to an unhealthy habit for me.
The game claims I’ve spent 111 hours playing, but I’ve played precious little else for the last 6 weeks, at an average of about 4 hours a day, so my estimation is closer to 168 hours.
I’m gauging how much time to continue spending playing this game (on a daily basis) with information which doesn’t match reality.
I should enjoy this hobby in moderation. At times, I think I invest too much time in it. My wife would probably agree! Thanks for keeping track Steam/devs.
On reflection, I am proud, particularly with my investment in Borderlands 2, but also a bit concerned in general.
Which games have you enjoyed to this degree, either breaking the 1,000 hour (or more) mark, or getting into the many hundreds of hours? What hooked you in? I’d be interested to read about your experiences in the comments below, so please don’t be shy!