What free time?

It’s slowly becoming clear to me that the concept of gaming in my spare time is not something my current life situation is remotely conducive to.

The last couple of nights I’ve been hoping to make a start on Red Dead Redemption. Time played so far: zero minutes. The disk isn’t even out of the case yet.

Granted, the World Cup is partly to blame for this – tonight partly because I allowed James to stay up and watch the first half – but there are so many other things to do once he’s gone to bed that by the time I get chance to settle down to play something I look at the clock and realise it’s time to give my parents a call, or to write my #oneaday, or to wash the pots, or do some invoicing, or even a bit of freelancing which needs finishing by morning.

I do sometimes wonder if it’s this above anything else which is keeping me in my current job. Though given that I get precious few opportunities to review the games I really want to play, I’m beginning to wonder why I’m still doing it. There’s something inordinately frustrating about writing about games which are perfectly okay, but simply aren’t your personal cup of tea. Sometimes I’m compelled to carry on playing these games even after I’m done writing about them, for the sake of closure in most cases, or because I know I’ll likely be selling them on soon and I want to be sure I’ve made the most of them while they’re still in my possession. Or even if I think there’s the tiniest possibility I might get some future work – guides, retrospectives, coverage of online multiplayer components – out of them.

Fact is, if I didn’t write about games I’d barely get to play them at all. But given that I’m struggling to make ends meet at present – in the current trend towards austerity, freelance budgets are falling all over the place, which is forcing me to look at potential career alternatives – I do wonder whether I’m going to have to eventually accept that gaming is going to play an ever-decreasing role in my life from now on.


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