The Big Question: Reading About Games Vs Playing Games

The Big Question: Reading About Games Vs Playing Games

This is something that I’ve noticed recently. Because of my job, I spend way more time reading about video games than actually playing them — but is this common? Do you find that you spend more time reading/watching/talking about video games than actually playing them?

I think it’s just a thing that comes with the internet hype cycle. It’s fun to discuss things together, to share in the excitement. But when it comes down to it, games that don’t have multiplayer are solitary experiences. Maybe that’s why? We talk/read about games to connect with other people but we play them to escape other people.

That’s talking in broad strokes though. Even single player games seem to have some sort of shared component now — like Dark Souls and its in-game messaging system. It’s easier than ever to share clips of gaming footage, or stream games live.

But anyway, I digress. What do you do more? Read about video games or play them?

What about reading in video games? I’ve spent way too much time reading books in Elder Scrolls games. Urgh.

[polldaddy poll=8477114]


  • Playing them. Especially with games like those from Ubisoft where you can spend 20 hours collecting everything but only 5 minutes to type up a comment about your thoughts on the game.

  • There is a similar trend with watching other people play games on Youtube / Twitch rather than actually playing the game.

    • Good point, I was spending a lot of time watching Twitch and lets plays and not actually playing any games at one point… crazy stuff!!

      • I don’t understand this. Why would anyone rather watch people play a game than play one themselves. If I was on my computer and had the choice, I’d play myself every time.

        • @jasoncrenshaw I wish I could work out why, I was watching a lot of Let’s Play: Europa Universalis IV (I found it a pretty complicated game to pick up on my own) and watched heaps of playthroughs in the end. I liked the peoples voices maybe? lol.

  • I spend most of my game related time playing games but it’s really not that much of a difference. I’m surprised that watching games isn’t an option as well, especially since streaming and watching clips is mentioned.

  • Definitely reading…
    because work involves computers and internet, I reckon at least 5 hours a day is spent covertly reading up on games, as opposed to the maybe 2 or so at most I play in the evenings (if I play at all….

    • “I reckon at least 5 hours a day is spent covertly reading up on games, as opposed to the maybe 2 or so at most I do for my job in the evenings”


  • I spend more time playing I’d say. With other hobbies like tabletop gaming I’d spend way more time talking about it than actually playing though.

    • “With other hobbies like tabletop gaming I’d spend way more time talking about it than actually playing though”

      Funny, I probably spend more time complaining about my meta group then actually playing 🙂

  • I visit Kotaku multiple times a day and read articles about games I will never play – this is something I can squeeze in five minutes here and there during my workday.

    I still play a lot of games, but I think it’s perfectly common to read articles about them with more frequency than you have the opportunity to play them – but when you sit down to play you’re doing that for hours upon hours.

    As for reading IN games… I may have read about the Lusty Argonian Maid in Skyrim, but that’s about it. 😛

  • Reading, for sure. I spend too much time doing all sorts of internet things to get around to actually playing games. It’s kind of a problem.

  • They’d be about equal, I think. But I tend to spend weeknights and entire weekends playing games, whereas I tend to only read about them online when I don’t have them available to play, or if there’s nothing I feel like playing at the time… so, during work hours or the quiet months.

    Edit: As for reading in games, I usually read most lore-oriented stuff, where there’s relevant backstory (giving context to the area; eg. why the enemies you face in this area are in this area, or the journal of some poor corpse explaining how he got there), but I’ll generally ignore it if it’s irrelevant backstory (historical power struggles, parables, etc).

  • I would say I spend at least 10 times as long reading about games than playing them.
    I have a family and three jobs, I get downtime during jobs where I can read about games and discuss them, but very little time left to play them any more. I still love the culture and the idea of games though, so I enjoy the reading and discussion.

  • I play about 3-4 hours per day, and I read about 1-2 hours per day depending on how much work gets in the way.

  • Although I usually put on a Lets Play series at work, I probably play more than I read/watch. I don’t like to read up on games much anymore. The internet has given too many people a voice and that’s not always a good thing. I used to read several gaming magazines each month but now it’s skimming through sites like kotaku or ign for news on upcoming games and then avoiding watching or reading too much so I don’t get spoilers.

    At home though I’m usually playing games more often than not

  • Def playing games. I’m only on websites for about half an hour to an hour a day, while I play games for at least 2x that.

  • Work -> Kotaku -> IGN -> PlayStation Blog -> Work (repeat ad nauseum for 8 hours a day). Throw in the occasional glimpse of Steam Sales, the Sony / Xbox store, Major Nelson’s Blog, some of the smaller sites (AusGamer, Stevivor) and you’ve pretty much got me pegged.

    I would play more games, but I married one of those ‘games are bad, mmmkay’ people. 😛 I’m usually secretly scrolling through the above sites well into the night as well while we have something of substance on the TV … you know, like The Block or MasterChef. o_O

    • Now here’s a BIG question: Why do we so willingly sacrifice games to get a little nookie (or a lot, depending on your appetites) when we willingly sacrifice so much time to pursue playing games in the first place?

      I too share your reality-tv-esque pain of having a significant other who thinks games are for kids so I’m generally stuck reading about games more than playing them 😐

  • Definitely reading about them. It’s been that way for me for a few years now. I used to write about them quite a bit and actually spend a lot of time reading critical theory surrounding them these days. It used to be that way for me with music too.

  • I picked reading here simply cause i spend all day at work on kotaku and frequently watch the Rooster Teeth let’s Play guys when I’m in bed.

  • I spend far more time reading about and buying them than playing the dang things.

    Until a game comes along that consumes my time, like Pokémon or Fantasy Life.

  • I read Kotaku and IGN all day at work (dat non-public facing computer yo!) then I usually only get to play on weekends 🙁 I do also listen to Podcast Beyond, Daft Souls, Nintendo Voice Chat, Game Scoop, GameOverGreggy and The Comedy Button so I am immersed in the culture alot more than the actual act these days!

  • I’ve noticed between Youtube and gaming websites I’m generally watching or reading about games more than actually playing them. Been trying to correct that, doing a reasonable job of it.

  • Reading, sadly. I get maybe 4-6 hours a week to play games if I’m lucky. I spend most weekdays in front of a computer looking for something to read.

  • Often I’ll watch Let’s Plays of games I would never have access to (i.e. Scottishduck’s series, Shenmue on Dreamcast (would recommend)), if it’s something I really want to play, I’ll check out spoiler free reviews and then save the gameplay for myself. If there’s an outcome I’m curious about but don’t have the time to spend playing to that point, I’ll suss out youtube again.

    Other than that, I’m on Kotaku and N4G and Reddit and any other number of gaming related websites every morning. I love when you discover hidden gems like Sometimes Always Monsters or Gone Home through an anonymous online recommendation.

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