I love my games, but as much as I like to play and collect them, I think its important to take five from gaming. I know there are those out there who might not do this, so I'll lay down a few ideas of why sometimes, its important to take a break and create some distance from it.
There's so much more stuff we can do in games these days, that it becomes harder to take yourself away from games for a while. This is especially the case for popular MMOs, where the leech of fun can potential suck your real life away. After the death of a korean gamer on an MMO (no offence to MMOs), I'm surprised that developers haven't sought to encourage gamers into having breaks, and reward them in the game somehow, once they return. Surely this would curb the problem of too much play.
Perhaps in a response to that death, the Chinese government now seek to take this kind of 'timed gaming' action, supposedly to protect chinese gamers (but perhaps just another 1984 style switch to control the people). While I like the root of the idea, I'd prefer that game developers took these measures, because they are less likely to be draconian and mean about it. Strangely I'm yet to hear Blizzard etc taking such action, so that chinese gamers don't have to suffer, at the hands of their government again (like they don't suffer enough already, just look at all those people losing their land, as the arm of progress sweeps them aside for the 2008 Olympics, etc).
The vision in our minds of gamers chilling in their living rooms or bedrooms is a just one, but we are still having fun, regardless how it my look to outsiders. Sometimes, its healthy for mind and body to buck that trend. Its a damn big world of life out there, like Ferris Bueller (of Ferris Buellers Day Off flick) once said 'if you don't stop and look up once in a while, you might miss it'. Its up to you really, but that's sound advice, even for a gamer.
Time outs for younger gamers might be easier to enforce for parents, but for adults perhaps we'd be too stubborn to take them, let alone admit we need them. An adults perrogative, right?
So, what do I do besides gaming? I like to chill with my friends, draw, read and write, anything from gaming in a group, to doing some paint balling, going to the flicks, even trips to the pub or a good groove out clubbing and chase females. All these things help round me as a person, as much as my gaming. Gaming is a big part of me that's cherished, but its not all I'm about. I can talk shit about politics and events that shape the world (sounds boring I know, but if you like stuff like Metal Gear Solid and conspiracy stuff, you need only look at the real world to find enough, outside of gaming), history is full of it.
So ask yourself gamers, do you take enough time out from gaming? Does gaming shape your life totally, or do other factors help shape it and who you are? When you meet someone for the first time, do you always talk about games or hold it back on that info as a 'need to know, when you know me better'? What's important here is for you to remember who you are, and what they need to know first.
Next time, a game consumes you too much, save your game and switch off. Shower, chuck on some fresh clothes, stretch your legs and venture outside into the real world. Its optional if you take your DS with you or not, to that bus ride or cafe? And never know who you'll meet along the way. Clarity and space are a good thing, and may possibly make you a better gamer than you might expect (this is interesting to do, especially when you get stuck on a game). I can suggest or say anything, but ultimately, the choice is always yours, to make or break.
Old Father Time, only grants everyone so many coins of time to spend, so think twice and be careful what you spend them on. More imporatantly, be happy in your choices.