Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Real Life vs. Gaming. Can it be balanced by a hardcore gamer?

I've found myself doing something I never do the last couple of days. I haven't played a single game. I haven't even so much as turned on my 360 or loaded Angry Birds on my phone. What's wrong with me, you might ask. I'll tell you: real fucking life.

I don't know what's wrong with me but I have some sort of satisfactory feeling from being productive and I'm not even being productive. I don't know if it's because I feel like I'm wasting time when I'm on games or what but even though I'm not studying, applying for jobs, or making money, I feel like I'm actually doing something that's beneficial to my real life instead of just mindlessly entertaining myself.

Now don't get me wrong, I love games and  I'll still play but for some reason I'm enjoying this feeling right now. I have a new sense of satisfaction from knowing that I'm about to go to the gym and then grab a bite to eat out and about (probably with friends) instead of sitting here eating a pop tart while playing Call of Duty.

Is it that hard for those of us considered hardcore gamers to balance the two? Do we strive for perfection in the games we play so much that we feel we must put in all or none of our time in  order to be successful? Such was the case with my World of Warcraft career, at least. In WoW, I felt like there was no point in playing if I couldn't at least play 8 hours a day. I mean, if I don't have the best gear and the best arena ratings, I feel like I'm failing myself. You'd think this would be a lot easier of a hurdle in an FPS that can be dropped at any time but it's not. When I get on Call of Duty after even a few days absence, I notice a major drop in my K/D and ability to aim. This discourages me from even wanting to get on after not playing for a day. To be honest, I'd like to play right now but I worry that I won't be able to keep up with the expectations I have for my skill in the game.

Perhaps this problem is isolated to me and a few people I've witnessed with the same gaming habits or maybe I'm not wording this correctly to get my point across. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sleeping Schedule of a Modern Gamer

Why do so many of us stay up so late? My sleep schedule does more flips than a trapeze artist. Do we feel as if we get a better gaming experience late at night? You'll often notice that people consider the gamers that are on between 11 p.m. and 4 or 5 a.m. are the more hardcore/skilled gamers. I think it might be due to the misconception that this person has played all day AND all night but in my 16 or 17 years of gaming and about 12 years of online gaming, I've found that both real life and online friends alike that play during these times are sleeping away most of the day due to lack of responsibility so I fail to see the difference between playing during the daytime and playing during the nighttime. Still, I fall into this category, I'm sucked in by the night culture of online gaming. There's something unattainably relaxing about playing a game online with friends at 2 or 3 a.m. This trend of skilled gamers playing late at night doesn't go without a little evidence of support, I often find that the more hardcore arena players in World of Warcraft play after midnight and my friends and I consider it a treat to play Call of Duty from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. due to the easiness of kills. I swear, I promise you if you're a skilled Call of Duty player and you play in this time slot, you will feel like you're playing against bots.

Unfortunately, although this time schedule of playing games is immensely enjoyable, it disrupts a normal, productive lifestyle and supports insomniac trends that are almost as hard to break as a cigarette addiction. I wish I was just speaking for myself but even my friends (both online and offline) seem to suffer from a trend of staying up late that they cannot break. It's nearly impossible for me to go to bed at 10 p.m. unless I'm completely exhausted. This may also be due to the over-stimulation that technology and, in-particular, video games gives our mind. I've suffered for years with an inability to sleep unless I'm completely exhausted and due to the fact that I see many other gamers suffering from this, I believe it is due to our online gaming trends. I've been playing online games in this late-night style since I was about 10 years old, so the only question is if this is brought on by gaming or by something in my genetics. Unfortunately, this just another nature vs. nurture debate that is too deep for me to go into on this blog as I don't feel like writing a research paper for my own enjoyment.

I flipped my sleeping schedule yesterday by pulling an all-nighter (something many gamers do when they need to get their sleeping schedule back to "normal") but I fear that it won't last long. As I was telling someone yesterday, I can almost guarantee that I will be sucked in by a game tonight and it will keep me up until 2 a.m. or later thus making my attempt to get on a more acceptable pattern futile.

A fellow blogger and follower has written on a related topic, check it out!: http://life-coach-uk.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


With all the recent speculation surrounding GTA 5, I've been enjoying my trip down memory lane back to Liberty City. Honestly, I never finished the game before so I'm working on that as we speak. I really wish I could learn to drive and shoot better as well as landing helicopters but for now, I guess I'll have to beat it while frequently using cheat codes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why no love for Hardcore, Treyarch?

Treyarch isn't the first to start this annoying tradition of Hardcore players being left with less game modes and options than those who enjoy to unload full clips to kill other players but they certainly make sure that we get shafted in newer ways.

First of all, no hardcore combat training? Really? How hard would this be to implement?

At least Infinity Ward gave us playlists for the new map packs for both Hardcore and Core. Does Treyarch? Nope. You wanna play only the newest maps? Gotta play Core. Lame.

What about contracts? At least they give us Hardcore contracts, right? Wrong. They give us Hardcore operations contracts some days but there's usually only two and there are many days when we're not even offered a single Hardcore operations contract. How hard would it be to make a Team Deathmatch contract completable in both Hardcore and Core?

Leaderboards. Shit, don't get me started on Leaderboards. There's not even a leaderboard for Hardcore: HQ.

Infinity Ward had the right idea with Hardcore: HQ and Hardcore: Search and Destroy, ricochet. Why Treyarch couldn't/wouldn't implement such a helpful game rule to these two game modes is beyond me.

Oh yeah, did I mention that CoD games usually ship lacking a couple of Hardcore game modes? Black Ops was no exception. If I recall, we didn't have HQ or CTF. While I understand that we usually don't have CTF (although I don't know why not, we should get the same game modes as core), EVERY CALL OF DUTY SINCE COD 4 HAS HAD HARDCORE HQ!!!! They always wait until the second or third week after the game has been released to give us a couple of more game modes, HQ always included even though it was in the previous CoD as a Hardcore option.

I somewhat understand Treyarch/Infinity Ward's reasoning for not putting in too many Hardcore game modes, they don't want to dillude the Hardcore player base and make it harder to find a game. After all, we do have a smaller player base than Core but I'm pretty sure it's only slightly smaller.

We shouldn't have to put up with any of this, especially since most of them have easy fixes.