Balancing Your Priorities: A Guide to Gaming in College
University can be a tough time. Copious amounts of work, meeting new people, trying to survive without the help of parents, it can all be very overwhelming, but perhaps the worst part of it is that there is less time for gaming. While learning how to cope with adulthood, there isn’t much time to plow through a 300 hour RPG, or grind in an MMO, but there are still plenty of ways to get some gaming time in. I am currently in the third year of my bachelors degree, so I’ve had a couple years to figure out the best ways to squeeze some gaming in, despite having a jam-packed schedule.
Nintendo revolutionized the platformer, and they are still releasing revolutionary, unique experiences in the genre. Games like Super Mario 3D World, Yoshi’s Wooly World, or Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze are good for quick sessions. You can sit down, beat a level or two, maybe try your hand at a boss, and then get back to the books. The way Nintendo develops their games, each level has its own hook, offering up a unique experience and taking advantage of the established mechanics to make something truly special. Because of this, each new level is captivating, with something new hiding behind every corner. If Nintendo isn’t your thing, or you don’t own one of their consoles, there are plenty of fantastic 2D Indies adventures. Titles like Shovel Knight, Axiom Verge or Rogue legacy build on the foundation set by classics like Mega Man and Castlevania, and add a modern flavor to them. The greatest thing about these indie titles is that some of them are impossibly hard, which dramatically extends their playtime.
Of course, platformers aren’t for everyone. If you prefer a game with more strategy, deep systems, and fast action, fighting games will work wonders for you. At a quick glance there may not be much on offer, but the bevy of modes each have something to offer. Playing through a games story or arcade mode will give you a basic understanding for each character, as well as flesh out the world. Once you’ve messed around with the roster you can focus in on a character or two. This is where fighting games can really eat up your time. Hopping into training mode and practicing some combos for an hour or two is surprisingly mesmerizing, and it feels amazing, hopping online after hours of training and showing off your skills. Also, if you happen to have roommates you always have people to fight, and because fights are so short they’re great for quick study breaks.
I know I said that a lot of us don’t have the time to plow through a 300 hour RPG, so don’t plow through them, take your time. The RPG genre has delivered some stellar experiences, weaving long, ornate narratives across multiple hours and sometimes multiple games. So, if time is not a resource you have a lot of, then make some time to play through the games intro, and then slowly work your way through the rest of the adventure. I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII on-and-off for five years, and I only reached the final boss last year. While this was partially because there were other games I wanted to play more, I also just didn’t have a lot of time to walk through corridors for 50 hours. The obvious argument for not playing an RPG in doses is that you wont get a lot of the story, or you will be playing it for so long that you wont be able to follow the story. It may not be ideal for everyone, but my advice would be to spend a bunch of time grinding levels, that way you’ll be able to breeze through the story beats and you can just relax and enjoy some battles.
The essence of short and sweet; multiplayer games are great for pick up and play gaming. Games like Halo and Call of Duty are easy to learn but hard to master, so they can deliver hundreds of hours of entertainment. Jumping online for a couple matches is a great way to try and forget about midterms and essays, and with the progression systems employed by many games these days, it can be an addicting experience. No real instructions on how to get the most of these titles; they’re pretty self-explanatory, with pitch-perfect gameplay and fast-paced action.
These are just a few of the ways to still get in a decent amount of gaming while still getting your homework done. We love gaming so we make time for it in any way that we can, even if that means procrastinating on schoolwork just a little bit.