And *this* picture might just be a little too sexy...

When I started gaming, I was like a beggar in the desert.  As a child, my parents were very strict- they did not like me watching TV except for a couple hours on the weekends.  When I was about 10 years old, I took all the savings I had in the world and bought a Game Boy with a couple games included at a garage sale and the rest was history.   This means that I'd play any game that was thrown in front of me.  If I found a quarter under the machine at the pizza parlor, I'd play a round or two of Tekken.  If I happened to be at a friend's house where an SNES or Playstation was located, I'd do my best to get a turn or two playing on it.  Since I was a young girl, I was often made to feel bad if I mentioned that I would rather play the Avengers game instead of playing with Barbies or dolls, but I still found myself completely entranced with these things that you could control with buttons and direction pads.

View the horrors of the elevator of DOOOOOM....

Even games that objectively weren't all that great- games that often involved hours of grinding or ambiguous game-plans that left me running in circles for hours (or until the batteries ran out), were games  that I still would persist in playing.  Games like Operation C (which felt a lot like a Game Boy rip off of Metal Slug) for Game Boy that were basically designed to make it impossible for you to get past the first level unless you memorized every single part of the level, were basically the Game Boy version of the quarter-sucking machine, only they just sucked your battery life until it was down to zero.  So there I would be, with all this time on my hand, and not a battery left in the house.

And then there was Pokemon....

I used to play Pokemon Red and (once it came out) Silver for hours and hours.  I think that on my first play through, I clocked over 200 hours easily.  The grind was tolerable, even though the caves gave me a headache.  Back then, I would spend hours sipping tea and fighting gym bosses, with my only fear being whether or not my four AAs would get me through my next battle so I could save (Pokemon also introduced me to the beauty and my undying love of the Save Anywhere feature).

I used to scoff at my parents- how could they not see how much fun it was to play for hours and hours?  With the luxury of time, I had the ability to learn every jump and power up in Super Mario Land, and the absolute joy I encountered after three hours of frustrating deaths when I progressed to the next world was incredible indeed!

I'm tempted to make a contract with a morally ambiguous mascot character for time control powers...

But fast forwarding to today- I have the exact opposite problem.  I have more money to spend on games (instead of borrowing them or getting them cheap at garage sales), plus I have the choice of a myriad of consoles and handhelds.  I have everything from SNES and Gameboy to XBOX 360 and 3DS.  My backlog is somewhat formidable as well.  But with a 40 hour workweek, a 3 year old (who is getting ready for preschool), a daily exercise routine, and my second and final pregnancy (only 10 more weeks to go!), my free time is considerably constrained.  I used to get some time to game in the restroom (ew gross, I know), but now that my daughter is potty training, she tends to go when I do, so that time has whittled away.  Then there's my 15 minute breaks at work- but I end up finding myself entranced by my iPhone (Damn you, Words With Friends!), and before I know it, it's time to get back to work.  My lunch hour used to be another time to myself, but I've been riding my bicycle home at lunch to make lunch for my daughter and mother-in-law who has been kind enough to watch her in the mornings while my husband sleeps off his graveyard shift.

No gaming time for Oni makes for a very, very sad gamer.

This is actually a pretty good description of my face on a daily basis.

So in the time that I *do* get for gaming, I have to be very, very picky about what I play.  I've been enjoying Pokemon Conquest, but some of the resource management is tiring to me (plus having to do each character/warlord turn one at a time is kind of frustrating).  Then there's the fact that certain games have a ton of grind built into the game and do not have the "save everywhere" function (Etrian Odyssey, I am looking at you).  Of course, I could go on at length about certain "gimmicky" games that frustrate me to no end (Skyward Sword's Inventory select system, for one), but let's just say that I've been slowly changing from a gamer-of-all-trades (my motto being "does it have controls, I'm GAME!") to a Goldilocks Gamer, and boy oh boy, are some games a little too easy, or a little too complicated or simply too....SOMETHING.  I literally had to turn off the Tales of the Abyss game for 3DS because most of the fights just felt like I was mashing buttons and waiting to win the fight.  Talk about disappointing.

Sometimes it's hard not to think that the gaming industry is making this expression in my general direction.

So what do you think about being picky about gaming?  

Do you think it's wrong to find certain aspects of games so frustrating that it makes them unplayable?

Finally, how do you ration out your time when it comes to the stuff you have to do and the stuff that you WANT to do?  Where is gaming on that list?


I hope to hear from you soon! :)