Time Bandits

I like long, slow-burn, deep, thoughtful games, but they don't like me. I like the ones where you can say, "I may be some time" before hitting the ‘start new game' button. I like the ones that use narrative to keep you interested and provide a rich, beautiful world full of things to discover, but laced with enough action to keep it in the higher echelons of the funometer. However, I'd like to know how anyone ever has enough time to invest in these games. Just how do you do it?

Mass Effect sits idly in my 360. Not because I don't want to play, but because I know once I switch it on, that'll be it – end of the day. Productivity on the life side of things will go down to minus 230. Dishes will fester in a sink of stagnant water, while flies land on the greasy scum gathering on their surface. Laundry will become a thing of the past because, who needs other clothes when the ones you're slumped in are still holding up just fine? Life will basically cease.

I know people with kids who still play games and I wonder how the heck they manage it. I mean kids take up a lot of time – at least 18 years, or so I'm told. Heck, if I even had a cat, I'd probably never be able to game again. A goldfish could cause some serious conflict of interests.

It's slowly dawning on me that the older you get (and I'm really not that old, so this totally isn't fair) the less gaming time you have. But then there must be a point where you swing so far round the time-versus-gaming dial that you have more time again – I think its called retirement. Am I really doomed to play quick-fix, party games until I'm 70?

Fable II's release is just around the corner and although it's not a sprawling behemoth on the scale of Mass Effect or Oblivion, it's still going to require a good stretch of time. Basically, if you want to ‘get ahead in advertising' you can't sit on your arse all day playing games. How terribly bloody annoying!

I'm thinking that I need games that come in bite-sized chunks. It would be so much more manageable if games had chapters, so I could at least see a goalpost, reach it and then do some life stuff. I'd like a little bit of closure mid-game, leaving me space to feel like I've achieved something more than just gaining a new level or gun.

Give me a narrative reward so I can pat myself on the back and go and make dinner. However, don't make it a cliff-hanger, otherwise I won't be able to put the pad down and all is lost. If only most of the current attempts at episodic gaming hadn't produced below par experiences.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I haven't got any self-control and I just need to get a grip, take responsibility and game or not game, as my life requires. Maybe I need to say, "screw life and responsibility, lock and load, I'm going in!" That way madness leads surely. I mean, what if I had a cat? The fact that I don't is neither here nor there; it's the principle of the thing.

There's always a burst of Rez and DOA to see me through, mixed with a bit of Guitar Hero. I'm looking forward to ploughing through Tomb Raider, which I have praised in the past for its brevity, rather than joining the ranks of critics who felt short-changed. However, it's nice to have a game that you know is vast.

It's kind of like buying a really thick book that you just know you're going to enjoy. Sometimes you just have to say, "life can wait, I've got a world to save!"

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