My friend recently told me that after finding out he had spent over 350 hours in Civilization V he decided to stop playing; naturally this got me thinking is 350 hours to much time? Is there something he could have done to better enrich his life in 350 hours? First let’s compute 350 hours to put it in perspective. A quick search on Wolfram Alpha says that 350 hours is:
14 days 14 hours
1.26 x 10^6 seconds
So in perspective it took my friend two weeks to build countless civilizations, sack Rome a half dozen times, nuke Egypt and make Alexander the Great cower in fear. Not an easy feat in 14.58 days. Another interesting question would be how much power was used to play Civ V for that long? Google says the average laptop uses between 15 and 120 watts, not very helpful for my purposes, however if we assume the laptop was at full tilt, 120 watts, my friend used around 42,000 watts. 42,000 watts is the average consumption of around 10 american households per hour. So if he decided not to conquer the world for 21000 minutes he could have powered half of my street for one hour. As much as I would love to keep computing 350 hours I think I should also talk about the physiological side of this question. Unfortunately in todays culture, especially in the mainstream media, playing video games is mostly viewed as a waste of time. The mentality is “Why are you playing video games when you could be playing outside and getting exercise?” One problem is that most people see all video games as GTA and Call of Duty but thankfully there is so much more to gaming than that. I hope people will see that gaming can be so much more than guns and violence. The Last of Us is I think a big step forward for gaming; it is the best example of how games can tell a story through environmental storytelling something no other medium can do. (Editors note: due to my tendency to ramble I see I have gotten a little of topic I will now resume trying to answer the original question) So, is 350 hours to much time? For me it all depends on having fun if my friend had fun playing Civ for 350 hours then I don’t see that as time wasted. Because in the end that is what playing video games is all about if you are not having fun go read a book and stop wasting your time!