Life’s been difficult lately, and it’s very hard to do all of the things that I have to do and still play games. It’s even more difficult to write about the games that I do manage to play, so I apologize for the lack of posts in the last few months.
I’ve been playing games, but many of them have been in a play-by-web forum like yucata.de or have been the occasional game at lunch with coworkers or with my son. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think there are levels of gaming enjoyment based on either anticipation or intent that can elevate a gaming experience.
Have you ever had the opportunity on a rainy day to get comfortable on the couch with a good cup of tea and read a book, uninterrupted, for a few hours? That is very different from the times that you grab a book and read for 15 minutes while you are waiting to pick up medication at the pharmacy. It’s different not just in the time allowed for the activity, but also in the circumstances leading up to the activity.
I find that the time I spend playing a game is also influenced by this kind of preparatory mindset. There needs to be a certain amount of anticipation of the time that will be spent gaming. There’s something about this preparation that allows me to better enjoy the time I spend playing. I think it’s the difference between surviving and savoring something. Because of my wife’s illness, I spend most of my time just trying to take care of everything that needs to be done, and I get into this frame of mind where every activity is something that gets checked off a list. Laundry, done. Shopping, done. Cook dinner, done. Have long pointless conversation with teenage daughter about why the choices she makes today will directly impact the rest of her adult life, done. Get more ice water for Jenny, done. Play game, done. However, when I have a planned and extended period of time to play games, I am better able to enjoy myself, because I put my mind in a place that is focused on the event, rather than the execution of that event.
Obviously, I should have that mindset about most of my activities, but the force is not that strong in me.
Is there a shortcut to this state of mind? I swear some of my friends have gamer shirts that they only wear at gaming events. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they wear Hawaiian shirts all of the time, but I think that those shirts only make it out of the closet on game days. If I had a shirt that I wore for big gaming events like KublaCon for example, and started a mental association of achieving a happy gaming focus with the wearing of that shirt, then if I suddenly had the opportunity to play a game, maybe I could wear the shirt and use it as a talisman to induce myself into my happy gaming state of mind. This could work, as long as someone who doesn’t share in my vision of gaming doesn’t feel like I’ve put too much of my gaming essence into the shirt and decides to throw it into a volcano. That would harsh my gaming buzz and ruin my plans for Middle Earth at the same time.
Seriously though, I wonder if there is a way to get away from survival mode and get into savoring mode immediately.