Don’t Be a Game Addict

If you want to produce & develop your own games then you should consider how much time you will spend on playing games. This matters to all game developers: the beginning and more advanced developers. Scott Miller (3D Realms) admits he got addicted to World of Warcraft and mentions how playing the game has an impact on productivity!

So, I’m about 10 minutes away from being a level 32 warrior, but I can’t see myself playing too much longer, if only because this game is such a black hole of lost productivity (as the lack of blog updates indicates!).

The bottom line: If you spend your time on playing computer games then you will have less time to develop them. If you spend very much time on playing games and enjoy the situation – then fine. Just make sure it’s a conscious choice for you. Playing games impacts your productivity.

I’m not suggesting you to totally stop playing games – I think that would be a bad move. Other games can give you inspiration, motivate and give ideas for your own games. Just don’t get addicted to playing too much.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. This posting from Scott Miller is quite insightful into the derailing of Duke Nukem Forever…. Even more interesting is to see his tweeter stream and the late night poker plays.

    And I’m not implying anything.

  2. I agree with the idea. The key is to know when to stop playing & stop. I usually schedule myself for my play time. During non-crunch time, 1~2 hours / day and a bit longer during weekends. When playing MMO, I don’t chase level, I decided what I want to do during a session (may it be quest or other things) complete it and call it a day.

  3. @Casey: I get bored with most games I play, unless there is an online element in them. My farovire genre (as of now) is the MMO simply for the fact that I don’t feel like I’m secluding myself from the world.

    “Casual games”, on the other hand, I prefer to play alone. Games like Bejeweled and Tetris are very fun while playing alone. I don’t feel like I am so immersed (sp) in the game that I’m losing part of my life – yet they would be even more fun (Dr Mario) if you could play with a friend.

  4. I have been collecting games since I was around eight years old. I have always been a somewhat hardcore gamer but I have over the last couple of years moved away from the hardcore and just more of a gamer. I think my time at Gamestop killed off a part of me I haven’t quite reclaimed. Anyways, when I play games I usually make a mental note on differnet aspects of the game. I ask myself questions like, “What about this game is unique?”, or “What aspect of this game would I do differently?”. I am not sure if I am alone in this, but I have found the vast majority of recent games incredibly boring and this helps to get something out of the experience that I might be able to use later on.

  5. WoW is definatly a black whole. If I ever get tired of one of my toons, I simply start a new class/race/server. I’ve tried to keep it down to 1 to 2 characters (sucessfuly for a few weeks now WOOT!)

    I’m still in the beginning phases of game programming. I have other time consuming issues that make playing games even less of a “good time investment.” But like someone said above, you HAVE to play them to nurture your own ideas.

    Life in general is about balance – one that I’m having trouble mastering (damn you WOW!!!)

  6. As a sort of hobby, I collect games, mostly freeware/shareware off the ‘net.
    Since starting game dev, I’ve been realizing more and more how useful those will be for getting ideas from. I’ve seen some great ones and some lousy ones, though few are *really* good. I have over 1000 games installed right now and a couple hundred yet to test and sort into genre.

    If anyone needs info for a particular kind of game I’d be interesting collaborating…
    kaltorak2(at)hotmail(dot)com is my email and MSN.

  7. Very good advice. I think World of Warcraft especially has hooked way too many of us… I can’t bring myself to cancel my account… But… I think I should… maybe tomorrow.

    The best thing I started doing was to check out other types of games that I don’t usually enjoy, especially games by indie developers. Just playing WoW and nothing else didn’t inspire too many new game ideas. All my ideas tended to somehow be like an aspect of WoW.

    Darwinia was an amazing find and made me question my own game ideas. “N” is another interesting concept, even though I didn’t enjoy it. I guess we should play more games, but play less often.

  8. More good advice. ;) Interestingly, I had already come to that conclusion, and cut down on my gaming time a lot.
    One thing always to remember is that YOU are the one who decides if you are addicted to a game. It’s not some wierd thing you have no control over. I’ve found that it’s not all that hard to un-enamor yourself of your favorite game.
    Mental programming +1 :)

  9. @GBGames: Yes, I think I’ll make a post on that – even though I tried to bring this point in the end of the post.

    @Knyght: :)

  10. heh, out of all your don’t be a(n) x addict, I was secretly wishing you wouldn’t post this, but I knew in my heart that you would. Oh well.

  11. I think it is good advice; playing games shouldn’t ever force you to put off your life.

    Maybe another post about the importance of playing games as well? A lot of game developers will say that they don’t have time to play games, which I think is another problem. I’m addressing this issue with myself by trying to make sure I play games more often and specifically playing games that I haven’t touched but should have, such as Final Fantasy 7. Until I play more games, I can’t expect to make better games myself.

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