By Alexander Campbell
Free time is a luxury for your typical college student, and one that is difficult to enjoy with all the stresses of college life, especially if they stack on top of personal stressors. We all have our ways of escaping. Some read books, others watch TV, get high or drunk, build model kits, write, play sports, have sex, and of course: play video games.
While video games are a good way to wind down, they can be a hazard for tightly wound schedules as it is easy to lose yourself in the experience. The same could be said for the other escapes I’ve mentioned, but something in particular makes it easier to set aside an hour to play a game and end up still playing it hours later. The immersion of video games is extremely addictive, which is why I recommend for the time concerned students to stick with games that you can pick up and play for short periods of time, then put it down.
Popular choices for gamers looking for a quick fix are often of the multiplayer variety. Rather than getting wrapped up in a story-driven experience that causes you to lose track of time, just play a few matches of something against people online. Blizzard’s recent smash hit “Overwatch” comes to mind for this kind of experience, as the “Quick Play” mode is exactly that: quick. Matches can be as short as a few minutes and rarely exceed 15, even on the “best two-out-of-three” maps. I would stress, though, on the subject of escaping from stress, that if you’re playing a competitive game to relax: stay away from ranked matches. It defeats the purpose of playing a video game to unwind if it just makes you angry because something is on the line when you play.
Now this may sound a little strange, but if competitive multiplayer games aren’t your cup of tea then I would suggest you try a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG. Although they are notorious for being massive time sinks, they are an amazing way of relaxing. MMORPGs, by nature, have a ton of activities to do with or without friends as they are littered with goals to work toward that you can spend a little bit of each day on. They are a good choice if you’re looking something that you want to play exclusively for a long time, as other kinds of games can get boring after a while.
I hope this advice proves useful to you, dear reader, and I wish you good luck in your studies. Cherish your free time and do your best not to feel guilty in spending it on yourself when you need to.