March 06, 2013
Some days I can't get enough game time in to level up my character, Meowkins the 3rd, in Skyrim. My goal is to get to level 50 this month. I know; it's taken me forever to progress this far, over one year after the game's release. But when your Xbox goes all red-ring-of-death on you, what can one do but stare at the screen stunned at the experience of losing 60+ hours of thorough quest-completing game time. It's like severing a limb. Okay. Maybe not that bad, but still, I was rather sad to lose my progress.
Now you may be asking, "What is a librarian doing playing videogames?" Well, when I was younger, I must confess, I did not read much. That was the case until I found the science fiction genre and fell in love with it. Now, I go through nostalgic phases of playing videogames. Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy playing, but I get really bored when the game has to load between levels or realms or after I fall off a mountain, hurtling to my death on the icy waters below. In these nostalgic moments of gamming fantasy, I find myself pulled between the fantasy world of a book and the fantasy world of a game.
Instead of feeling the trauma of an either/or situation, I've decided on a both/and means to satisfying both of my cravings. I decided to pick up the steampunk read Airman by Eoin Colfer during a loading screen, and I've never been in a better place. I'll have students note there that this is a good way to do some reading for school too if you want to play video games. The trick is that you have to monitor your ratio of reading time to game time; I usually read more time than the loading time takes, like 5-10 minutes. I just use the loading screen as an indicator that I need to start another reading session. And because I've been reading during the load times, I really think I've increased my reading speed. I read more pages in the same timespan as I did six months ago. Win!
This both/and concept doesn't just apply to gamers. You may find yourself needing a break from homework. Complete "x" amount of problems or paragraphs or find so many articles for your paper, and then take a small break to read for fun.
If you pace and balance your work with a good schedule that includes both time for work and time for play, you may find yourself feeling less stressful. I know I sure did when I started reading for fun again!