I have a compulsive personality, I like finishing things, and I enjoy computer games. I have developed a simple set of rules to avoid blowing all my time gaming.

  1. I test games written by friends. I only have 3 friends who have written games. Howard wrote Spectre and Gridz, but was distracted running an ISP for a while. Andrew wrote Battle-Girl but we're no longer in touch. Peter wrote Greebles, but doesn't currently appear to have any plans for further game development. So I haven't spent much time on friends' games in several years, although beta testing gets pretty involved. I also played several Delta Tao games, and might even try Return to Dark Castle.
  2. I play coin-op games. The sad thing here is that for years as a kid, I wished I could afford to spend a lot of time playing arcade games, but didn't have lots of money to blow on it. Now that blowing a roll of quarters isn't a big deal, I don't have much interest or time, and don't live near any arcades.
  3. I play Marathon; I played through Marathon 1-3, and Halo 1 (really Marathon 4). Last week I bought an Xbox 360 (my first gaming console ever) to play Halo 2 & 3 -- I'm waiting for Lyman's extra 20gb Xbox hard drive and VGA cable so I can get started with Halo 2. Unfortunately I'm not good at FPS games, so it will probably take me a long time to work my way through Halo 2 and then Halo 3. My intention is to sell the Xbox after Halo 3, assuming it has any resale value at that point.
  4. I don't sweat the small stuff. When Luxor came out, I spent a few hours playing the demo, then deleted it. On the Xbox, I'm playing demos and freebies (which tend to come with 1-3 sample levels -- pretty anemic) while I wait for the hard drive so I can play Halo 2. Halo 2 was only released for Xbox, not 360, so it needs to download patches from Xbox Live and store them on a hard drive; the 256mb flash card that came with mine is inadequate.

These rules keep me from sinking my life into video games. Also general lack of time, especially as a parent.