Starting and stopping your hobbies | Beahm Me Up

My lifelong relationship with video games has been, well, hit and miss.

Since childhood, my interest in playing video games has kind of come in spurts. I’d start playing, and play constantly in my free time for a few weeks or so. Then I would just stop for no reason, and not pick up a controller again for ages.

I think because of that, I didn’t really branch out into different games much. I played Nintendo games, and that was about it. If games I knew I loved could barely hold my interest for long, why bother spending the time, money and energy checking out new games I wasn’t sure I’d like?

Until very recently, I had never even finished a Zelda video game. Despite that, I consider it my favorite game franchise. The only game I remember completing 100 percent was “Paper Mario” on the N64. Granted, a lot of games I’d play weren’t really games that could be “completed,” like “The Sims” franchise or “Zoo Tycoon” or “Harvest Moon.”

Around the end of 2017 it occurred to me that I hadn’t played any video games in a long time, and I hadn’t played any Zelda games since probably my last year in college (2013). Not long after that, I popped “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” into my red Nintendo Wii for the first time in ages and began to play.

I went into it expecting my interest to wane sometime around the halfway point, as per my usual. I do have a short attention span, sometimes. Instead, in a relatively short time, I was battling Demise in an alternate realm of clouds and lightning, and with a final skyward strike from my Master Sword, he was defeated and I was victorious. I’d saved the world, and reunited my people with the land below the clouds.

Quite pleased with myself, I switched discs, and started playing “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.” I don’t know why I didn’t play this one first; from my previous experience with both games, I knew I liked this one better. It was darker, I liked the art style better and hey, Wolf Link. I love wolves! And shadow creatures! And Midna!

Anyway, before too long, Zelda and I (yes, kids, Zelda is the princess; the hero of the story is Link) were riding Epona, my trusty steed, around a field, working together to defeat Ganondorf. Once again, the world was saved.

Now what?

I didn’t have my N64 Zelda games anymore, lost in moving half a dozen times in fewer years than that. My other Wii games didn’t interest me at the time. But wouldn’t you know it, that was about the same time my tax return came in. And I was home, sick as a dog, for days with nothing else to do. So I got a Nintendo Switch, the first time I ever bought a gaming console for myself, as my previous consoles were Christmas presents from years ago. But “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” the reason why I was suddenly desperate to get the Switch, was on back order.

My brother had been binge-playing “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” on his X-Box for a while, which had caught my interest, and lo and behold, there was a Switch version. Sure, let’s try it.

I racked up more than 100 hours of game time in a very short time. I have a lot going on in my life; I don’t have a lot of free time lately. I was rather impressed, even if my first two days owning “Skyrim” I was home sick with no energy to even climb the stairs. I played that game for months straight. A few different games, with different play styles. I started as a Breton who fought with a mace and destruction magic. Then I played a Redguard conjuration mage who utilized Dremora lords and a conjured sword in both hands. I played a Nord who fought with an ax and, when pressed, frost magic. Oddly I never really played an archery-heavy character (it’s odd because I am an archer in real life). When “Breath of the Wild” did come about a week after ordering it, the game sat unopened for a very long time because I’m a one-game-at-a-time player and was too into “Skyrim” to switch focus.

Slowly, my interest in constantly playing “Skyrim” waned, and about a month ago I picked up “Breath of the Wild,” finally. I haven’t been able to play as much. With the weather turning better, and event season starting for the Society for Creative Anachronism, I’ve had less time to spare. I love video games, but they don’t quite compare to actually shooting your own bow, or trying to hit your friends in the head with a wooden sword (we wear armor, don’t worry).

But despite my now divided attention, I do still play video games regularly. In fact, when I get home tonight, I’ll probably pick up “Breath of the Wild” again. I’ve only got one more divine beast left to activate, after all, and then, well, I don’t know where the story will take me. (No spoilers, please.)

I guess the point of the story is, just because I’d given up in the past when I got distracted, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy playing video games. Just because I’ve played few games compared to more serious “gamers” doesn’t mean I am not, too, a gamer. Casual or hardcore players are still players. It’s about having fun, right?

So if you’ve got something like that in your life, an interest you don’t pick up very often, or dedicate your time to constantly, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to enjoy it when you do it. Don’t let passing interest keep you from enjoying that interest. What is the point of any hobby if you’re not having fun? And what’s the point of free time if you don’t do something you enjoy with it? Whether it’s watching TV, playing soccer, hiking, collecting stamps or just watching clouds get born, do what you enjoy. Have fun in life!

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