Packing The Schedule

So many games, so little time.

Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it Ferris Bueller.

Technology has brought us many things; email, supersonic flight, laser surgery and all Kevin Costner's movies on DVD. Well, it can't all be good. It seems the more labor-saving devices we get, the more stuff we expect to able to fit into these busy modern lives of ours. As a gamer there's just never enough time to play and conduct a healthy social life – remember that? You know, friends and stuff.

When I was a kid, I had bags of time, but more fool me, I hadn't discovered gaming as a way of whiling away days. Now of course I have a job, which ekes into huge portions of my gaming time. The situation has become so serious that I've had to resort to booking days off from work to get in some quality gaming.

An average day sees me heading out of the office door dead on five, in order to snatch an hour of playing Halo before going out to see my lovely boyfriend. Then we may or may not play games together. Well, I mean there's DVD's to watch and general slobbing in front of the TV to be done. And before you know it, it's the end of another busy day.

This quick fix world created for the MTV generation leaves no time for the games that require more personal investment. As we all know the average RPG demands at least two-hour playing periods. The cut scenes alone verge on the scale of War and Peace.

There's all this talk and fuss about working mothers, but what about working gamers? It's a fine line we tread, a precarious juggling act. Trying to create the perfect balance between work and play is an extremely stressful business. I mean the last thing you want is for the working day to impact on your concentration and general gaming performance in the evening. But sadly, sometimes it's inevitable.

There are those amongst us who choose to squirrel themselves away to finish Final Fantasy XVII or open up extra costumes, faster cars, secret levels and new tracks. This is all well and good, but sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. I'm also conscious of the fact that I don't want to emerge from my carpeted, suburban cave only to find my social life resembles a Siberian wasteland.

Friend 1: Chella Who? Now there's a name I've not heard in a long, long time.

Friend 2: Didn't she die or something? Some wasting disease I think.

I can see it now. I'd be a shadow of my former party girl self. It chokes me to even contemplate it.

Of course there's always the gaming on the move option. Step forward our old buddy GBA (well oldish). On the plus side, London's tube trains offer the best lighting for playing GBA. However, if anyone manages to get a seat on the average commute to central London, then you deserve a level up. And unless commuting on the tube has changed dramatically since I last did it, you'd be lucky to have enough elbow room to get your GBA out of the bag.

My journey to work consists of a 40 minute bus ride. But the lighting only gets a five out of 10 compared to the tube. The success of my on-bus-gaming is dependant on my getting a seat. Despite having room to stand and play, bus drivers are notoriously bad drivers here in England. And I really don't plan on being catapulted through a bus windshield, GBA tightly gripped, purely because a bus driver's heavy on the clutch.

ven on a successful, seated gaming session, I still manage to reach some lengthy cut scene just before my stop. There I am, clicking through dialogue on my walk to the office. Still clicking – I'm at my desk now, ooh, quick I can save again? (sigh) The most I can hope for is heavy traffic, which equals an extended journey to work and more playing time.

Life is tough for us working gamers and society doesn't even acknowledge it. We end up feeling marginalized and undervalued – it's a tragedy of modern living. Well, to compensate I've booked myself a day's holiday, so fare thee well readers, I have no time to waste – well only a day of gaming.

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