Ours is a video game family. The kids play games regularly and Howard goes through periods of regular play spaced by hiatuses. I used to play. I loved the Zelda games on the N64. But that was back when I had two small kids who loved to watch Mommy play because they did not have the skills to beat the games themselves. Me playing a game was a family bonding activity. It was only a few years later that the kids were taking the controller from my hands. My game play became competition rather than entertainment. I also became very busy. With my time at a premium I found it hard to allow myself to invest energy into a game.
Then came Dragon Age. Howard got it for Christmas. At first I watched Howard play. Then the older kids picked it up and began to play. I became fascinated by the story mechanics in the game. The things said in dialogue changed the story for the rest of the game and I found myself wondering what the story would have been like if the player chose differently. My curiosity grew until I picked up a controller and started my own game. I was quickly hooked. This game engages the same part of my brain which I use to write fiction. I get to help craft stories around characters, but I don’t have to worry about plot holes because the game designers have thought it all through for me.
Eventually the game will run out of plot lines for me to follow. This is a good thing, because the game is eating chunks of time. Video games are expensive. The equipment is expensive. The time is expensive. My creative brain space is expensive. But playing the game showed me something about myself. I don’t often engage in activities where the only point is my own enjoyment. I frequently do things I enjoy, but they are always attached to a larger purpose. I don’t have many hobbies. Dragon Age as a hobby is nice because I can see that it is self-limiting. I’ll spend time on it for awhile and then I will stop. I just need to make sure that I do my important things first. This will make my interesting hobby last much longer.