For many (possibly younger) gamers out there, Easter signals the start of panic after the realization that exams are just a few weeks away. Speaking from experience, having exams in less than four weeks, I find that this is also the time that I start thinking about my gaming schedule and how it fits in around my studying. Now for those of you who are wondering what I’m talking about let me explain.
First of all is juggling one of gaming experiences with the guilt of not having done enough revision. For example, the Gears of War 3 Beta. I’m now off work for just over a week, a week that should be spent studying. Right now I’m trying to work out how often I should take a break and arguing the merits of taking a day off to ‘relax’ (not that there’s much relaxing to be done when you’re wielding a lancer with a chainsaw). Thinking back to the Halo 3 Beta test, again a mere fortnight to my exams, 3 of my 5 days of study leave were spent in the Halo Universe in combat. What is it with having Beta tests this time of the year when there are so many other months to choose from?
Secondly is contemplating what games I should play when I do take a break. This is especially difficult if you’ve just finished a game. Do you start a new game, which you argue with yourself that you’ll just play for an hour or do you go back to some old faithful? I think I can safely say that starting a new game is always a bad idea, especially once those achievement points start coming in.
Next is the argument that the games on my phone and my iPod Touch don’t take up that much of my time. I can spend hours, whittling away my study time while engrossed in a game of Slots, Angry Birds, Words With Friends or anything else that can provide me with a distraction from the mind boggling subject of complex group accounts or linear programming. This form of gaming usually occurs while sitting with my text books spread out in front of me, chewing a pen and telling myself that I just need to take a minute to let what I’ve been revising sink in. Two hours later there’s ink on my face and I’ve completely forgotten what I was trying to learn.
I should point out here that I am not in any way saying that my Xbox is at fault for me failing my exams, all blame there falls squarely on my lack of will power. My Xbox is my distraction from the inevitable bout of stress that comes with this time of year. For a few hours I can forget about the fact that I can’t remember anything about pensions, I can take my stress out on my TV as I shout expletives that the car behind me is trying to take me out and above all I can go back to my studying with a clear head and actually start to make sense of things.
So to anyone out there who has exams in the next few months good luck and if you can draw yourself away from your books for a few minutes let me know what your distraction is.