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Tips for finding time to play video games in the midst of our busy lives

Don't neglect your favorite hobby just yet!

Let's face it: we're busy people. We have work. We have friends. We have family. Sometimes we'll have two jobs. Sometimes we have classes to attend. It's not easy to play video games in all that mess and it can often feel as if we're missing out on our favorite hobbies.

Well, I'm here to help. There are many simple tips to help you find time to put your hobby back into your life.

Play with family and friends

Multiplayer and Co-Op

Multiplayer is a great way to spend time with family and friends. You can crank out your favorite video game and log into a match with another controller at the ready for whoever. 

Don't forget about Wii games either. A lot of Wii games are designed for multiple people, so get your friends together and start playing!

There are plenty of multiplayer games made for kids too, so if you have young children, nephews, nieces, or whatever, you can incorporate them too. Crank out some Mario, whether a new version or an old version, and play with them. There are many modern multiplayer/co-op children's games as well. How to Train Your Dragon is a great fighter to play with kids, especially if they like the movie. Puss In Boots has great multiplayer as well. 

Take turns playing single player mode

There are quite a few games that don't have any sort of option to play with other people, but that doesn't mean you can't play with other people. All you have to do is take turns with the controller.

My friends and I do this all the time. When one of us dies, we switch and the other person tries to win. This way, we both get to play a fair amount while we still have conversations. This can also be done with specific sections as well. If one person is better than another at a specific type of combat or style, than he or she can take over during that section while the other person gets to play when he or she is good at the game.

Incorporate gaming into your job

Believe it or not, there are many ways you can play games while getting paid for it (I'm getting paid to write about video games right now). Here are some ways to get paid for gaming.

Journalism

I get to write about video games all the time now. It's not just pleasure, but it's still better than nothing. I have an excuse to play games; I get to incorporate at least some form of gaming into my everyday life.

Since anyone can sign up for GameSkinny, you can have the same excuse to play some games and keep up with your favorite hobby as well! If you sign up for the Bounty Program, you'll get paid to write about your favorite hobby.

You can also start your own blog and report on news and write reviews and guides there as well. There is no limit to how you can write about video games on the Internet if you really put your mind to it.

Cater to your degree
Gaming has a lot of different aspects, so find a way to make that work for you.

Gaming has a lot of different aspects, so find a way to make that work for you. If you're an accountant, work as an accountant for a game company. If you're an English major, write video game plots or find a job as a technical writer or in PR for a video game developer. 

There are plenty of different ways to make your expertise work for the video game industry, so be creative! You don't have to start at a major company like Bethesda or BioWare or Activision; you can start with an Indie company and work your way up, just getting your feet wet.

Set aside time

So many people get home after work and just collapse on the couch. Don't just sit there and watch TV!

No matter how busy you are, there is bound to be at least five minutes you can fit into a day to play a game. Plan your time well and it'll work out just fine!

Plan your schedule

If you really want to make video games work in your life again, you'll be able to find time somewhere within your schedule!

If you can set aside five minutes for gaming, set aside those five minutes. Don't run out to the mall to buy that one shirt that you don't really need.

There's also a huge procrastination aspect to this. As a college student, I procrastinate a lot; I will push off my work for as long as possible, so at the end of the week or day I'm stuck cramming it all in at once. Try not to do this either. If you plan your work accordingly and start getting things done early, you'll have a much better chance at actually incorporating video games back into your life.

Prioritize your games

Sometimes every game sounds interesting, so you want to play every new, big AAA title and every Indie game that you come across on Steam.

Refrain from doing that. Pick the games you really want to play and focus on those. 

For instance, I was super hyped for the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on top of Lego Dimensions and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. On top of work and school, I knew playing all three of those games in the short time period between their release dates was not going to work, so I thought about which ones would be best for me.

I've already played the original Uncharted series; I do not have to play them again on PS4, even if I want to. Lego Dimensions sounded cool, but my usual reviewers weren't too positive on it and I've already played enough Lego games to last a lifetime; there is no need for me to play that one either.

So I'm currently focused on Assassin's Creed Syndicate. I've played the rest of the series and I honestly think this may be the best Assassin's Creed game yet. So, that'll be my top priority when I do get game time.

Apply a similar strategy to your own life. Focus on the games you want to play most first. If you manage to gain extra time for video games, you can always play the least important ones later. 

Play games designated to short time spans

If you're low on time, find games that are catered to that. There are plenty of handheld games (and mobile games) that are developed with a busy individual in mind, so that levels can be played in a few short minutes before people have to get on their way. 

Handheld/Mobile games

Handheld and mobile games are on the go games, making most of them perfect for quick car rides, trips, and small breaks.

Little Big Planet for the PS Vita has short levels that go by quickly in a couple of minutes. Since the game saves automatically after each one of these levels, you can turn the game off after no matter how short the time your are playing is.

There are numerous portable games that follow a short level system with frequent checkpoints:

  • Every portable Lego game
  • Gran Turismo
  • MadWorld
  • Geometry Wars
  • Mario
  • Real Racing 3

There are plenty of handheld games made for short bursts of play if you look hard enough.

All mobile gaming apps are made for short play, so pick one you like, download it, and play it. It could be as simple as Words with Friends! Feel free to experiment with mobile games and figure out which ones work for you.

Web Browser Games

There are quite a few web browser games that are easy to play in short bursts. You can log in, play for a few minutes to a few hours, and then log out.

You can check out:

If none of these games appeal to you, you are bound to find another game online that will interest you. A simple Google Search can be very helpful and there are many free games on websites.

Frequent Checkpoints

Games with frequent checkpoints are very ideal for playing in short bursts. RPGs can be good for this if they let you save whenever you want You can fight a couple of battles, train a little bit, save the game, and be on your way; you're not forced to play for long periods of time.

You can also look for others games with frequent checkpoint systems. Shooters today automatically save very frequently. You can kill a couple of people and get another checkpoint before going on you way. 

There are other games like this as well. I've recently started playing Metal Gear Rising Revengeance and the frequent checkpoint system has been a lifesaver. I love being able to quickly kill a couple of guys and be on my way to get to work, write an article, or do some school work.

Play while in the bathroom

There are so many people who take their phone with them to the bathroom and screw around roaming the Internet (Reddit is a huge offender) or fishing through apps. Instead of doing those things, play a game. Bring your phone and play your favorite mobile game. Bring a PS Vita, PSP, or any version of the DS. Play a little bit during that time. If you're going to spend a lot of time in here anyway, you might as well make the most of it.

There are plenty of ways to continue gaming

You just need to look for them. Some of them are hidden in plain site and others aren't. Just be creative and you'll find ways to incorporate your favorite hobby!

This is by no means a full list either. There are plenty of creative ways someone can incorporate gaming into their lives.

Do you have any other tips not mentioned here? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Published Oct. 20th 2015

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