All Of My Games Are On Different Schedules And It's Impossible To Play Them All

One of the nice things about being an adult — or even a teenager with a reasonable level of autonomy — is the freedom to decide to do whatever you want with your free time. The older you get, the odder your windows of free time get. This is one of the reasons I like video games. I seldom have a consistent amount of free time, but I can usually find something well-suited to filling a few minutes or a few hundred in a fun, engaging way. That’s getting harder, though. My games all seem to want me play at very specific times.

In the current series of Hitman games, there’s a series of scheduled, one-off missions called Elusive Targets. They show up during an announced period of time in one of the game’s levels, and you have a few weeks to make an attempt at taking them out. You can’t save your game , and, pass or fail, you can’t try again. You only get one shot within that one window.

Recently, Hitman 2 introduced an exception to this rule, revisiting the first set of Elusive Targets from 2016’s Hitman. I was excited. I love everything about the idea of Elusive Targets. They offer a compelling reason to log on and play the game in a new way and let it surprise you.

I love the Elusive Targets, but I chose not to pursue one this weekend. Another game beckoned. Destiny 2 needed me on Titan.

Lately Bungie’s sci-fi shooter has introduced Invitations of the Nine, a series of small story quests that can only be taken on over the weekend. You have to find Xur, the vendor who shows up in a random location every weekend, buy the quest from him, and then fulfil whatever challenges it describes to you. Usually, this means you have to run a strike and kill a certain number of enemies. The reward is a cool, cryptic cutscene, a new bit of lore, and, of course, loot.

Is this the same sort of compelling live game event that I described with Hitman’s Elusive Targets? Nope. But I’ll tell you what it is: Easy.

It is not hard to knock out an Invitation of the Nine. It takes maybe half an hour, tops. It also promises something interesting for more than one player type: Loot for the gear-hunting player (I got a rad exotic rocket launcher) and some story for the lore-curious. It also does something really sneaky and mean: It gives you one really good hit of the Destiny 2 loop. Once you complete an Invitation, it’s not that hard to see what other challenges are available, and probably won’t take too long. And then another. And then wow, look at that, I’ve never ignited any of the Black Armory forges, I wonder what those are like?

You could say that this is my fault, that Hitman’s Elusive Targets are here for weeks and I should make time for them. Destiny 2’s regular schedule of content should not throw off someone like me, who has been waffling around its endgame for the better part of the year. That would be a fair point.

Trouble is, loads of other games have plans for me this month. Have you seen big-budget games lately? They all have roadmaps. Events. Battle Passes. New strongholds and Freeplay Events in Anthem. New modes to check out in GTA 5 , Red Dead Redemption 2. Limited-Time events in Fortnite or Call of Duty. Even single-player games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey have challenges available during specific windows, and story DLC that comes on an episodic basis to keep up with.

(You could, of course, save that stuff up and play at once, but it’s nice to play episodic releases episodically, to let a cliffhanger linger and feel catharsis at its payoff.)

Despite my frustration, this is a thing I’m inclined to like. I like the notion of appointment video games, moments in an on-demand, asynchronous medium that, because of the specific time they’re offered, become an experienced shared that much more widely. If games are like places, it’s cool to say you were there the first time someone played Daft Punk to the rock kids.

There to find a fun, goofy exploit like the Loot Cave, before it was patched out. Cool to have found a bit of story, or your favourite weapon in a game, during an event that was fleeting.

I also know that, as someone who writes about games, my selection of current titles to play is larger than the average person’s, but when a majority of buzzy — and more importantly, free — games are also doing this sort of thing, it doesn’t take long for a person’s limited free time to be filled up with gaming appointments.

Anyway, if you could help me find time to schedule a dentist appointment in between all this, I’d appreciate it.


Comments

    Heh. I hate it. My schedule is my own, and it way too often does not gel with a game's. I go through feast and famine phases with games, and I'd rather access all a game's content in the time window that I have to binge it, rather than getting drip-fed little pieces that are meant to keep me logging in for shorter sessions over a longer overall period. That usually doesn't work for me, so I'm out.

    I still keep telling myself I'm going to revisit all of Far Cry 5's DLC, all of Spider-Man's DLC, all of Assassin's Creed Origins' DLC, Odyssey's DLC, get platinum on God of War (which I didn't do because my GF bought it and wanted to platinum it first, but she lost interest when I did more of the side activities than she did - she's kind of competitive). Hell. The Division 2 is out, and I still haven't gone back to try out the new modes that got added to Div1, which I quite liked for its levelling game. I own Horizon's DLC and still haven't actually loaded it up...

    Games as a service, games as missable moments in time does not work for me. I have a window in which to play it, and anything the devs do outside of that window is just... wasted, for me.

    I've stopped buying GaaS games as I don't have time for all of them in any sort of sane manner. Take the Division 2, I liked D1, but between its heavy GaaS, not on steam (I know, whatever), and being somewhat invested in R6 Siege and Battletech atm, you know what, I'm happy to let it go.

    Same with plenty of other games atm.

    With a kid my schedule has become his schedule and time for gaming is the main casualty.
    I swear, sometimes I put him down to sleep and by the time I set myself up to play in either too tired or it's time to go to sleep anyway.

      This is why im 40 and will never have kids.

      Little time vampires

      My solution is to go to bed when my kids go to bed, around 8.30pm. I'll then wake up at 4.45am and have a good 2-hour block of time for stuff like cycling or gaming, with no-one to disturb me :-)

    The latest Hitman games is an interesting series for me at the moment in terms of GaaS.

    on my PS4, I have Hitman 1(no GOTY) and Hitman 2(legacy GOTY).
    (If you didn't know you can access all of Hitman 1 levels inside Hitman 2 if you brought Hitman 1)

    I was thinking after I brought Hitman 2 that I was going to delete Hitman 1 until I found a lot more escalations in Hitman 1 as well as some different missions(Christmas & Sarajevo Six)
    that don't exist in Hitman 2.

    and about the Elusive Targets in Hitman 2, I believe some current players are really annoyed by the fact that some Hitman 1 Elusive Targets are coming to the game(which you cannot access if you don't own the first game)

    (I think I made sense)

    I work shifts so I can’t get along with GaaS that needs me to play at particular times isn’t on my list. For the same reason I can’t play MP games that rely on prolonged playtime for progression or on forming teams with friends. I just stick to SP games instead.

    It’s worse if you play mmos with their seasonal events. We’ve got Easter and the FFXV collaboration in the next two weeks in ffxiv along with every other mmo doing Easter.

    For me that window is 9-11 and anything outside of that is work, family or sleep. Any game where I feel like it’s artificially taking up my time is avoided. That’s why I love Sekiro. Bite sized chunks at any interval with heaps of checkpoints. You get that golden moment of gaming in whatever time you choose

    Odd, I haven't played a single one of the games mentioned here, maybe that's why to me it feels more like games are there to play if I want to, not if they want me to. I've only come to that approach in the last 6 months or so though.

    After quitting WoW shortly into BFA it felt like waking up again. At first I had to overcome the feeling that I had a list of things I needed to complete every week. I had odd feelings of compulsion to boot WoW back up because I was missing out on gear and it would cost me...except it wouldn't because I had quit.

    After getting over that 2-3 week period where those thoughts kept popping up I went back to playing a variety of games and now I value my time more than ever. Games exist for me to play for my enjoyment, not for me to play because they say I have to or forever miss out on some dubious reward.

    Last edited 10/04/19 9:04 am

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