Play on, ye marathoners. Play on! (And tell me, how the hell do you do it?)

Image by Flickr user Ben Andreas Harding
Image by Flickr user Ben Andreas Harding

I don’t know how you do it — you wonderful gamers who can play and play and play with nary a break (except for snacks and the calls of nature, that is). What be yer secret? she said in a pirate accent for no good reason. How do you sit for so long, immersed in as virtual world doing virtual things? No sarcasm there, I’m serious. Marathoning games is something I want to do, but simply can’t. Or won’t. Or something.

I’ve come to realize that my gaming attention span lasts about two hours. I can sit comfortably doing this, that, and the other in any given game for about two hours before I need a break. And as far as I can remember, it’s been a habit for a long time.

A common complaint among adult gamers, myself included, is that they don’t have enough time to play. And they look back upon their childhoods with a tear upon their collective cheeks in remembrance of those halcyon days when they could play video game from sun up to sun down. I don’t know about you guys, but my parents had fits any time we sat in front of the TV, controller in hand, for the better part of the day. When I was little, I recall playing games in snippets — early in the morning before Saturday morning cartoons, before dinner time, or for a few minutes before going to bed.

Come to think if it, two hours might just be the limit of my attention spans concerning all things. Movies, reading, family visits, handiwork, cooking, gardening, TV watching, gaming. When I get upwards of two hours in just about any activity, I get antsy and/or bored and/or bleary.

Also writing. How long have I been typing? And editing? And staring blankly out the window? And typing some more?

Perhaps to need to seek out an apothecary.

Anyway gaming. Marathon gaming, seriously, what is the secret? Is it simply a matter of intention or is there something deeper that happens during stretches of multi-hour gaming? Is it like meditation? Finding zen? Reaching a higher plane of consciousness?? Cause here’s the thing. I’d really like to play The Witcher 3. But first, I’ve got to get through The Witcher and The Witcher 2. I started The Witcher a few months back but have stalled. It’s an intensive and complex game that requires at least a couple hours to make for a decent and progressive session. I’m thinking, though, that if I can get on the magical path of marathoning, that I’d have as good chance of completing both games prior to The Witcher 3‘s release.

Or maybe I’m deluding myself.

Also, I must be reaching that two hour mark because I’m running out of stea…


If you tend towards game marathoning, care to pass as long any tips? When you have all the time in the world to play, to what games do you turn?


Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play and United We Game.

7 thoughts on “Play on, ye marathoners. Play on! (And tell me, how the hell do you do it?)”

  1. I tend to marathon games when its something i’ve just been given, i haven’t got a job but i feel really busy anyway trying to keep a channel and a blog running while also being active on twitter.

    1. I get that — playing a game when it’s new and during a stretch of free time is awesome. But even outside of daily life, there are so many things vying for our attention. I’ll definitely set aside games when I have a blog post due or some other commitment. Staying busy is great, but I just have to find that magical un-busy time and use it for gaming! (Haha, if only…)

  2. The longest gaming sessions now that I’m married and have a real job are usually no more than 2 to 4 hrs tops. But I remember days in high school and college that I played pretty much every waking minute. Not really sure if I miss those days or not…but a few times a year i get together with two of my brothers and we marathon a souls game by playing for two or three days. It’s fun a few times a year but I couldn’t do that much gaming every week

    1. With a house and family here as well, I can’t imagine going back to my own period of “unlimited” gaming either. Most weekends I just hope to find a spare hour to play, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. It’s cool though that you get the chance for some planned marathoning with your brothers — if I lived closer to my siblings, I imagine that might be something we’d do as well. Although my husband and I have done that on the rare occasion (mos recently with LEGO Marvel Superheroes) and it’s fun to blast through a gaming session together.

  3. It’s funny, but I’m probably the opposite of you. If I don’t have a solid 2+ hours to devote to gaming, I don’t bother. I have to have lots of time to get into it, which is why I have pretty much given up playing games on week nights — not enough hours!

    1. Now that’s the way to go (planning for long gaming sessions)! I can’t remember the last time I had time to game on a weeknight. Too many commitments (sigh). But oh, when that time window opens up, I’m there with controller in hand. And like you said, some games demand large time chunks or there’s no reason to bother. That’s why I like having a variety games in progress — plenty to choose from depending on it I have 30 minutes to spare or 300. Of course, that doesn’t help with my completion rate… ☺

  4. When it comes to marathoning games (when I’m not doing it for my video game challenges) it depends on the game for me. If it’s a game I really can’t put down because of plot, characters, or gameplay it becomes really easy for me to play for hours. If it’s a game I’m mildly interested in, but can’t seem to sit for more than two hours to play, then I keep coming back when the mood strikes me to play. One game I know I’ll be marathoning non-stop is Dragon Age: Inquisition when it comes out! 🙂

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