--------------- Preamble ---------------
I'm a gamer at heart. I know I spend too much time on this pastime, yet it's difficult to let go. I've tried quitting on several occasions with little or no success. I play a lot more after a period of withdrawal, so these efforts could be counterproductive. Currently, I'm on my longest 'no-gaming' streak so far and I'm hoping it'll last as long as I'm here. Otherwise I'd be squandering this lovely opportunity in Japan next to my laptop.
The purpose of this post is to in part serve as a grisly reminder of life passing me by, as well as to just serve as a list of the games I've played so that I can glance and reminisce on good ol' times.
--------------- The Meat ---------------
Casual gamer 1-2 hours/day, Enthusiast 2-4, Dedicated 4-6, Hardcore 6-9, Extreme 9+
Let's first start off with the two periods where I didn't play games. One of these periods is right now! The only other period was in grade 12 second semester, application season for university. (After I got in, I thought I'd be at the bottom of the class, so with a "why try?" attitude I drastically lowered my standards and just cared to pass; the marks I somehow ended up with first term suggested I could fare much better had I cared...)
Now those two periods aside, the following is about my gaming life since grade 5, when I got my first PC.
University: I'm around the "dedicated" level at university, with the notable exception of the WoW period, where without fail I played 8 to 12 hours a day. In particular, I binged on the weekends I stayed in 'Loo, where at the very least I played 14 hours a day.
High school: I played everyday after school, almost religiously (like with EQ) until around midnight. For EQ, I even woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning to play. I was dedicated during school days and turned hardcore or extreme on the weekends... :P
Grade school: Still everyday after school, though back then I was also into calligraphy, chess, and science. Probably around enthusiast level on average.
--------------- /played estimate ---------------
How much time have I spent on games? Let's start estimating with an old mathematical approach: find the lower bound. The games that really left an impression have a short description. (All units are hours)
World of Warcraft
Total time spent: > 720
November 23, 2004 to January 23, 2005: 19 days 5 hours. In other words, 32% of the two-months time was spent on WoW. Basically I could take 24 hours, subtract sleep time and 1-2 hours for substance, hygiene, etc, and that would be my play time for the day. No regrets: it was a great time, though my marks suffered a 6% drop. =P
Total time: 150 to 250
May 2005 to present. Not sure if there is an in-game chronometer. I estimate completing the game at 40-60 hours, 40 for classes like the Monk which can complete missions easily with henchmen. Played about 5-9 hours per day in May and June, while waiting for the Japan visa.
Total time: 600 to 800
One of the most memorable times I've had, surpassed only by WoW. I still remember the opening music and the exact time the music stopped when the game loaded. I still recall a Frost Giant stepping on me.
Half-Life 40-50, Doom II 20-30, Wolf 3D 20
TFC 300-800, Counter-Strike 300-800
Total Annihilation 60-80, Warcraft II 50-60
Warcraft III 250-500, Starcraft 100-150
Diablo 100-150, Diablo II 300-500
Neverwinter Nights 200-250, Dungeon Siege 30
Freespace 40, Freespace 2 40-50, Freelancer 50
Planescape: Torment 40-50
Baldur's Gate 30-40, Baldur's Gate II 50-60, Star Wars: KotOR II 20-40
Star Wars: KotOR 30-60, Albion 50-70, Morrowind 20-30
The Longest Journey 50 (counterexample: WoW was a longer journey)
Grim Fandango 40
Sega Rally 2 20-30 hours, Hitman 2 20-30 hours, Tyrian 40-60 hours
Smash 300-400 hours, Smash Melee 60-150 hours, Project Gotham Racing 30-50 hours
Mario Tennis 20-40 hours, Tales of Symphonia 90-110 hours
Mario 1 to 3 70 hours, Zelda 1 and 3 60 hours, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 30-40 hours
Chrono Trigger 30-60 hours, Chrono Cross 60-70 hours, FFIX 40-50 hours, FFVIII 40-60 hours, FFVII 60-80 hours, FFVI 40 hours, FFV 30 hours, FFIV 30 hours, FF 25 hours
Pokemon Yellow 40-45 hours, Pokemon Silver 30-40 hours, Golden Sun 30 hours
Various (Mostly old games; 15 hours each for quick calculation)
Jazz Jackrabbit, Raptor, Commander Keen, Prince of Persia, (10-20 more titles)
--------------- Analysis ---------------
The list above contains the large majority of the games I've played. I've omitted games that I've only played for on a few occasions. Notable examples are Halo, the Mario Party series, Mario Golf, etc. Let's say those games sum up to 100 hours in total.
Σ(floor[/played] ) = 5060 hours
So, I've spent a minimum of 5060 hours playing games. My best estimate would be 6400 to 7200 hours, but this bare minimum estimate suffices for the purposes of this post. It's hard to estimate play time for games like Counter-Strike and Diablo II; I would say the upper bound is much more realistic for those games.
A completely different approach to estimate "/played" would be to take my mean daily gaming time as say, a conservative 3 hours, and multiply that by 10 years x 365 days a year -- this yields 10950 hours! (What's scary is that this isn't an upper bound by any means...)
--------------- Reflection ---------------
Let's finish off by putting the lower bound estimate into perspective, to visualize what "just" 5060 hours can mean. . .
- A full-credit course in university is about 36 hours of classroom time + an optional amount of self-study or homework time (recommended to be a matching 36 hours). On average, I attend 30-36 hours of lectures, and do about 10 hours outside class. Let's put the total time for a course then at a high 50 hours. With that, 5060 hours translates into the time and effort needed for 101 courses, or 20 terms of school! Indeed, the 720+ hours from WoW alone would be about 3 terms.
- Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 1, the highest level, is usually obtainable after 900 hours of study. Generalizing other languages to be the same level of difficulty -- very conservative since Japanese is hard -- 5060 hours is ample time to fully master five foreign languages! (I've spent about 36x3 classroom hours + perhaps 50-150 hours self study, so around 200 hours...)
- 5060 hours is 2.3 years worth of sleep at my usual 6 hrs/day
. . . STACK_OVERFLOW