I spent nearly sixty hours with Horizon Zero Dawn, and I haven’t touched a AAA game since. I’ve played a few smaller games on console and mobile, but I’ve been telling myself I don’t have time to get sucked into another big experience—even though most games on my to-play list aren’t nearly as big as Horizon. I just can’t afford to spend a few hours at a time playing a game right now, you know? I have a couple screenplays to work on and a novel to outline and there’s just not time.
But then I stayed up one-more-rounding Card Thief for almost three hours last night and I just don’t even know anymore.
Dishonored 2 has been sitting on my shelf, silently judging me, for nearly two months now. I finished the first one and wanted to dive right in. But I didn’t. I needed to focus on work, you see. But if I can focus on work AND play several more hours of Card Thief than I ought to, can’t I just spend those hours playing the game I’ve been really wanting to play for months rather than the game I just picked up on a whim?
Can’t I set aside those same hours to put a controller in my hand and immerse myself in a world? No. I can’t.
And that’s the difference.
I can’t immerse myself in Dishonored 2 right now because then that’s all I’m doing. If I’m playing Dishonored, it’s me and my TV and not much else. If I’m playing Card Thief, it’s me and my iPad and Netflix in the background and conversations with my wife. It’s turning my brain off while I mindlessly take guards and torches and treasures off a three by three grid when I should be sleeping.
Console games require focus and attention in a way that even my favorite mobile games don’t. Focus and attention I tell myself I can’t give right now even though I know spending some time with my favorite hobby would probably improve my focus and attention on my writing and other things I need to do.
That’s all I have for today. I’ve got a screenplay to work on ahead of a fast-approaching contest deadline and I really need to focus on that.
And maybe I have some Dishonored 2 to play…