Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hypocrisy, or good judgment?

People who know me have sometimes asked if it isn't a bit hypocritical to be trying to live a simple life while still playing and enjoying video games. I can see where that impression might come from. To play video games, both the television and the video game system must be on and thus using electricity, and it's not like video games come cheap. When we play video games, we could be doing things just as entertaining, like reading books, which usaes up considerably less energy. So yes, I can easily see where one would get the idea that it's hypocritical to play video games and to say that I'm trying to live simply and frugally.

On the other hand, here's how I justify it. For one thing, Rachel and I are not one of the modern breeds of gamers, the casual gamers, who'll buy the newest video game systems and maybe a few sports or rhythm games and that's all they'll play. We don't buy video games systems unless there are a good number of games for them that we want to play, for one thing. Our most up-to-date system, an XBox 360, was a gift from my father, after he foolishly bought it for a single game that turned out to not be much fun. He gave it to us, knowing we'd use it. The rest of our systems are older ones.

Secondly, we both tend to play role-playing games more than any other kind of game. Most role-playing games offer between 20-40 hours of gameplay. Assuming they cost $70 a game, that comes out to a cost of $1.75 and $3.5 per hour of entertainment. I, for one, have a tendency to try to master games, which usually involves hours of level-building my characters and searching for hidden things and doing everything I can. It's been my experience that this at least double the amount of gameplay time. So that's now between $0.87 and $1.75 per hour of entertainment.

And that's only assuming we play through a game once. It's not unheard of for us to start a 3rd, 4th, 5th playthrough of a game.

And considering we often buy our games second-hand and thus a bit cheaper than breand-new, the cost for an hour of entertainment is now only pennies.

It may not be simple, but it certainly is frugal!

The trick is to know what you like, to know your price limits, and to shop around. Much like finding a good bargain for anything. We don't feel the need to "keep up with the Joneses" by buying the newest systems and games just because they're the newest systems and games.

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