Most individuals start off their day with a shower, a coffee, or by heading to the gym. For me, my day starts off by logging into my favorite action role-playing game, Genshin Impact. Every day, I log in to receive my daily rewards and complete my daily quests. Doing so ensures that bit by bit, I progress in the game; because in the end, the small things really do add up. This progress is further supplemented with events and story quests available each patch. For instance, this past Tuesday, version 2.2 of the game was released, unlocking a new area on the world map with new story quests to boot.
“Tsurumi Island” was the latest island to be added to the “Inazuma” region, which takes heavy influence from its real world counterpart Japan. In typical Genshin Impact fashion, with each patch comes new puzzles, new game mechanics, and new bits of lore for the player to discover. As a die hard fan of The Legend of Zelda series as a whole, and with a particular love for its puzzles as well as its take on the open-world genre, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I was more than happy to oblige and binge every aspect of this new area. I spent far more hours on exploring this new content than I would like to admit, but I would remiss to say I did not absolutely adore every minute of it. The feeling of completing a difficult puzzle, of defeating a difficult boss, of learning more about the in-game universe, is simply indescribable. It is almost as if the player is unraveling the secrets of the universe they are playing in alongside the main character. In fact, it is precisely this unique feeling and experience that enables a player to feel truly immersed in the Genshin Impact universe, and thusly, allows a player to spend countless hours getting lost in the game.
A similar experience had occurred to me earlier this week during my first clear of the roguelike action dungeon crawler, Hades. I was simply aiming to learn more about the game and its mechanics in order to one day clear it in one run, as intended. Somewhere, between learning about new mobs and their attack patterns, between learning about new abilities and when to use them, and between learning more about the characters and where their goals lie, over six hours had passed. Yet again, I had found myself absolutely immersed in a video game, which by the end of it had left myself wondering, where did the time go?
From an outside perspective, spending hours and hours playing video games may seem like a waste of time, but to those of us who choose to do so, often times that sentiment is farthest from the truth. Personally, I am of the belief that it is through these adventures and through these experiences that I am afforded the opportunity to expand my world view; by learning about characters, their goals, their hardships, and how the developers intended for them to overcome their hardships. Do these stories take inspiration from mythology? From the developers own experiences? Regardless of the source, it is these experiences crafted through countless hours of immersion which creates a sense of camaraderie within a game’s community. This camaraderie, which allows for individuals to come together to discuss the game, the game’s lore, create fan art, and protest when the game they love goes in a direction they don’t, is ultimately what I believe continues to fuel my love of video games, and is what will inevitably have me asking yet again, where did the time go?