Do you play with a timer?

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#1 Edited by PeteyCoco (280 posts) -

So recently I've started using parental controls on my devices to limit my play time so that I don't spend all of my free time playing games instead of reading, playing guitar, or whatever other hobby. I did this because I will sometimes have sessions where I play for 4-5 hours at a time and afterwards feel like I wasted my spare time. I was wondering if any of you set limits on your play time and if so, how do you do it?

Similarly, how do you keep up with Giant Bomb content without it taking up a lot of time? Lately I've been saving videos for when I go to the gym. I've tried watching videos at 1.5x speed, but it doesn't really feel right with video games footage.

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#2 Posted by BoOzak (2615 posts) -

Nope, I just stop when I get bored, It tends to work itself out. I'm of the opinion that its not a waste of time if you're having fun. Time isnt money or knowledge, it's just time. (!)

As for Giant Bomb's videos I tend to watch them while I eat, it's better than a TV series because I dont feel like I have to commit to watching the entire thing in one sitting.

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#3 Edited by Hamingja (2 posts) -
@boozak said:

Nope, I just stop when I get bored, It tends to work itself out. I'm of the opinion that its not a waste of time if you're having fun. Time isnt money or knowledge, it's just time. (!)

As for Giant Bomb's videos I tend to watch them while I eat, it's better than a TV series because I dont feel like I have to commit to watching the entire thing in one sitting.

I do basically the sames things, but I also constantly ask myself whether I'm playing a game because I'm having fun or out of a sense of obligation. I find that if I don't do that I end up grinding a game for 10 hours even if I stopped having fun after only 2.

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#4 Posted by Efesell (4532 posts) -

I'll set a reminder if there's something else I have to do at a certain time but never more than that.

You aren't wasting any time that you are enjoying or otherwise getting something important out of it.

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#5 Posted by FacelessVixen (2633 posts) -

I usually play games when I'm fixing dinner, so that gives the incentive to get up every hour or so.

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#6 Edited by PeteyCoco (280 posts) -

I guess I should be clear what I mean by wasted time. I enjoy playing games, but if I don't make an effort to make time for my other hobbies then I tend to default to playing games since it's the most instantly gratifying one. The timer is really just a way to remind myself how long I've been playing games so that I don't lose track and realize I don't have time for other activities.

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#7 Edited by nicksmi56 (848 posts) -

I'm my own timer. I'll generally glance at the clock every now and then to make sure I'm in step with the gaming time I've allowed myself. If I know I don't have much time, I'll generally play something I know I can put down easily. If I only have an hour, I'll probably pick Mario 64 over God of War 2.

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#8 Posted by godzillasbrain (33 posts) -

This idea that playing games or anything else for that matter isn't considered wasting your time if you're having fun is a flawed idea.

Playing games for 4-5 hours in one sitting is fine, but doing this semi-regularly can be considered wasting your time because the enjoyment attained from these sessions is short lived and overall less than spending some of that time working on something that is for self-improvement, long term and will gain you benefits in other aspects of life. The enjoyment from spending time on such an activity may not be immediately as gratifying, but the sense of fulfillment and enjoyment will be so much more prolonged than multiple sessions a gaming a week, each being 4-5 hours long.

The answer is to strike a balance. Work out how much gaming you feel comfortable with without feeling you're wasting your time, and find ways to limit yourself playing more.

I have an arbitrary control where each time I want to play Rocket League, I have to download it from the Playstation store and I uninstall it at the end of the session.

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#9 Posted by MATATAT (1225 posts) -

Unless something really grips me I usually can't spend more than 2 hours playing a game, unless it's some multiplayer game that I've set aside time to play. For some reason my mind just processes the playtime as a long duration then when I look at the elapsed time from steam it's only been like 90 mins.

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#10 Posted by ATastySlurpee (676 posts) -

@peteycoco: I've always had the mindset that if you are enjoying what you're doing, its not technically a waste of time. I get the 'feeling guilty about playing for long stretches' thing, but if it is something I am enjoying and want to do, I do it. As long as you're not neglecting your responsibilities etc. Sometimes I play for a few hours, sometimes its 30-40 mins, just depends. I tend to think I balance it well.

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#11 Posted by bybeach (6365 posts) -

You've got guitar to play! Reading, and a bias I have, especially if it is non-fiction, is very important as gaming for the mind. More so for information input.

Games though are great, I love them.

As for video content, learn to edit (just saying, you probably do so anyways). Not everything gets the same priority, least for me.

Personally I think putting a timer on it is not wrong. I have to admit, there are some games that really grab me, and I sometimes lose the battle not to play them during the day when I could be doing something else. But that's my life now... It isn't an issue when necessity reigns.

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#13 Posted by NTM (11844 posts) -

No, I just play until I get bored or feel like 'man, I really need to get up and do something else'. Not too often, but there are times when a game will have me want to sit there and play for about ten hours (with mini breaks mind you). Otherwise, I usually spend a little less than an hour to three hours on one game perhaps, but sometimes I also switch the game I'm playing because of my interest changing. When it's a new game that I am super into, that's where the ten hours comes in. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to play games because I have things like work on my mind too. I hate when I buy a game and I'm not into it, then I'm not sure what I should do. Do I spend the time in it, giving it a chance because I might actually like it if I played more, and I spent money on it with the possibility that it just turned out I didn't like the experience by the end, which means I'll feel like I wasted my time? Or, do I just give up on it? As for Giant Bomb stuff, I don't really watch much or listen to that much stuff honestly. I mainly use it for the forums, like this, but do on occasion watch the podcast, but never all the way through since I'd rather do something else. However, when it comes to a timer with gaming, I have thought about doing a fifteen or thirty minutes timer just so I am not sitting for too long since sitting for a long time isn't good for you.

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#14 Edited by nutter (2186 posts) -

I only play 1-2 hours at a time maybe 3 days a week, so no, I don’t use a timer.

As for podcasts, I tend to listen in order and not get worried if I’m behind. I listen to music exclusively when working out. Podcasts are more for house/yard work and some commute time (I’m more likely to listen to music). I’ll eventually have to clean out the garage or basement, paint a few rooms, strip and stain a deck, or deep clean a bathroom. That’s several hours of catch-up time.

Giant Bomb videos, I watch a very small number of them. I’m a subscriber to support the site, but I seldom get around to premium content (Metal Gear Scanlon was event viewing, though).

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#15 Posted by TheGoodBishonen (231 posts) -

My average game session is about 2-3 hours, unless I'm playing multiplayer with friends. In that case, I'll stay on a little longer.

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#16 Posted by Dragonps (56 posts) -

I tend to stop when I fall asleep or get bored, gaming is probably my favourite hobby and the longer I can get away with playing the better :D

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#17 Edited by TobbRobb (6585 posts) -

I like binging things, so I'll usually just make sure to get other obligations out of the way and keep track of time for whatever I have to do after the session (like sleep) but other than that I will just blast through a game as much as I want (could be over 10 hours on a free day). It feels shitty to just set arbitrary limits that could disrupt a session I'm really enjoying. Though that said, I'm pretty good about quitting when I get bored or frustrated so I guess I don't quite have the addictive qualities that make a timer necessary.

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#19 Edited by Ravelle (3310 posts) -

No, not really. my gaming sessions are around 2 with most games and then had my fill for that time. I have a hard time keeping focused as well, some times I start a game and my mind just wanders off.

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#20 Edited by CaLe (4799 posts) -

Nope, I indulge fully when I feel like it and I peace out when I want to focus on other things.

I can go from 10+ hours a day to:

No Caption Provided




Setting limits for myself has never worked, so I just do whatever feels right in the moment. If there's a game I really wanna play I will for sure make time for it, even to the detriment of other things. But at the same time I can very easily disengage entirely when I decide to. Setting time limits seems too artificial and doesn't fit the kind of person I am.

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#21 Posted by Yesiamaduck (2557 posts) -

I very rarely am able to play games for more than 2 pr 3 hours before getting bored out of my skull unless ive been drinking

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#22 Edited by TheRealSeaman (133 posts) -

It's normal for one hobby to take up more time than another. So, no!

And if you're finding some hobbies to be a slog that detract from another (to the point where a timer is needed to make you change activity) maybe those other hobbies aren't working out for you. In the case of learning an instrument, or like a language as a hobby, I know that there is an embarrassment factor to just quitting (esp. if other people know you are learning it).

It took me like 3-4 years to start playing guitar as well as some people who only learnt for like... a year, because I wasn't 100% into it and didn't dedicate the bulk of my time. I'm glad I stuck with it but if it wasn't for the fact I spent a lot of money on my guitar, I probably would have just quit but knowing I spent so much cash money made me less likely to pack it in (sometimes went multiple months without touching my guitar as well!).

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#23 Edited by Captain_Insano (3523 posts) -

I only play in short bursts now so no.

I'm pretty sure Civilization IV had a timer built into the game to keep you aware of how long you'd been playing.

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#24 Posted by nasher27 (356 posts) -

Nope, gaming is my favorite hobby. Playing long sessions makes me happy! :)

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#25 Posted by Tesla (2296 posts) -

Not an explicit timer, but as I've gotten older I have developed something of an internal clock that starts telling me to get up and do something else after a couple hours. Then I'll get up, stretch and have some water. Maybe putter around the house a bit and check some emails to make sure there isn't anything that needs attention. If everything is all clear I'll go back to gaming with a refreshed perspective.

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#26 Posted by gamer_152 (14770 posts) -

No. If I know I need to stop playing at a certain point, I can watch the clock pretty easily.

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#27 Posted by cyberbloke (178 posts) -

I always set a timer so I play for an hour a night.

With work and three kids I'm lucky to get that.

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#28 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1367 posts) -

@peteycoco: Regarding GB content, I find that I like listening to the video content more than watching it sometimes. That sounds weird; I'm not trying to justify my behavior, just admitting to it!

There are video features that have a lot of "down time." I don't mean that as a criticism. To use a handful of examples: I don't care about looting in PUBG. So I'll have a video running in the background, and alt-tab out of the game I'm playing (in this context, usually a game like Destiny 2 or Diablo) when I hear the shooting start. Meanwhile, I'm still listening to the banter and conversation of the crew. On a personality-driven site, that's why I'm here to begin with.

Take 13 Deadly Sims. I just really don't want to watch hours of Sims gameplay. But you can tell when something is about to go down. Pull up the video. Again, in the meantime, I DO want to listen to Abby, Vinny, Dan, and Alex!

Some of the videos that I do just sit and watch are QLs of games I'm interested in. Also stuff like UPF, where I'm likely to see a game the site might not otherwise cover.

Setting limits is a great idea, by the way.

And one more suggestion: if you feel that you aren't reading as much as you'd like, try audiobooks. I frequently get bored halfway through a book, or I skip ahead and don't want to finish it, or I read in bed and fall asleep before I make any progress. I started listening to audiobooks a year or so ago, and it's great! I can listen on my commute, and I also like to listen in bed. Go to bed, set the sleep timer on the book, and don't look at any screens. You'll get through a book quicker than you might think.