Gaming is a fantastic hobby. We can visit worlds and adventures we’d never otherwise be able to see. We can become champions at sports and test our skills and reflexes with fast-moving, action-packed titles. In short, gaming is nothing short of awesome. Unfortunately, though, games require time and as our lives get busier we often have less and less spare time available to enjoy our favorite hobby. To help combat this, here are 10 tips to help you make the most of your limited gaming time.
- Pick your game(s) ahead of time.
Some of us have trouble picking what to eat, which route to take and even which brand of coffee tastes the best. It can mean quite a bit of time spent narrowing down choices and ensuring we’re happy with them. If you have a small amount of time to game, you don’t want to waste your time trying to pick which game for half of it. Of course, you may switch your decision on the day, you may just not feel like playing your chosen title but you’ll likely have a second or third choice already lined up so again you can jump right into gaming. None of that wasting time to worry about.
- Make sure everything edible is prepared.
This could be anything from snacks and drinks, right to working out when dinner or lunch will be served so that you don’t waste time deciding what to eat and drink during your valuable free time.
- Got very small amounts of time fairly often? Pick quick match games.
Games with quick round based gameplay work amazingly well if you only have a short amount of time. There are plenty of games that fit these criteria too. From shooter games like Overwatch, to fun games like Rocket League, there is plenty of variety and something for everyone with different tastes. The key here is to make sure games and matches fit within your timescales and if possible you may even be able to fit 2 or 3 into one session.
- Dying for more story and depth? Get creative.
If you are a fan of longer games or enjoy deep storyline you’ll have to make some adjustments. If you’re replaying an old RPG title, for instance, ensure you plan time in time for the longer plot sections when you know they’re coming up. There’s nothing worse than having to rush through plot or skip it all together, just to meet a gaming deadline. If it’s a new title you’d be better off arranging fewer but longer play sessions so you can cover the content. It may also go without saying but keep an eye on the time. If there’s a natural pause point and you’ve only got 10mins left, stop. You’ll only end up ruining the next section if you suddenly have to turn off the game.
- Familiarise yourself with the save mechanics.
Not applicable to every type of game, it’s still good to know. Some games require no saves, in which case hooray! Play whenever and wherever you can. Others may use autosave and some may even use save points. It’s important to know how saving works because you may not have time to get to the next point, or you may have to re-do sections of the game if you can’t reach the next autosave area. That feeling of losing progress is harsh, so avoid it at all costs if you can!
- Ensure you won’t be disturbed.
Been waiting for a new release? Let people know when you’ll be gaming and how long for, and stick to your times. You’re far more likely to be left alone if you plan in your time, and make sure family and friends don’t have to come chasing after you to stop. It may also seem obvious, but take care of your responsibilities before your gaming session. Again you don’t want to have to suddenly stop to let the dog out, or get asked to go to the store like you promised you would earlier in the day.
- Make sure your software is up to date.
This goes for everything. Pc/Console operating systems, game files, drivers etc. Everything. Ahead of time too. Leave your pc or console on overnight, or through the day when you’re busy so that you don’t waste gaming time waiting for updates. These days, updates can be huge and if you have a slow Internet connection, it can take several hours sometimes to complete.
- Gaming with friends? Ensure everyone is ready to go a few minutes before start time.
Sitting in voice chat, waiting for some of the team to arrive, it can be frustrating and severely impact what you can achieve in your time frame. It’s best to have everyone gathered and online, or even at your house before you plan to begin playing. That way you can all make sure you make the most of your time together. Oh, and it should go without saying but, let people know beforehand if you can’t make a gaming session. Like you would do with a sporting event, the entire team is impacted if you just don’t show up. So wherever possible, don’t be THAT guy.
- Playing online or multiplayer games? Check there’s no scheduled maintenance.
Ahhh maintenance. The essential yet painful part of gaming. Without servers there are far fewer games, without maintenance there are no servers. Still, planning to play only to find your game is down or server host is undergoing maintenance is a horrible feeling. Check in advance when the developers or hosts patch and release updates and arrange your time accordingly. There may still be emergencies or outages but you’re far less likely to be disappointed if you keep an eye out for this. If your time is set and can’t be moved, you can at least change your game choice before you sit down, which can make all the difference.
- Test your peripherals ahead of time.
It doesn’t matter what it is, controllers, keyboards, mice, headsets and even any voice chat software you might be using, check they work. Make sure you can get connected to any servers and your peripherals are behaving as they should. Trying to fix your mic or rebind your shortcuts while on limited time can be stressful for you and anyone else. Limit this by ensuring you have tested your peripherals recently and you won’t have to worry. Your gaming time can consist of racking up kills or finding hidden secrets, rather than just trying to get the game to run properly.