My Addiction: Time Management… Games!

OK, it’s confession time. No, this is not why Time’s Fugitive is late, but… okay, it might have contributed to it, earlier on. It is one reason why I don’t watch TV. Or if I do, it’s looking up from my computer, where I’m writing, emailing, on HootSuite, or…

It all started with an intrepid waitress named Flo

I admit it. Playing games. I’m addicted. Ironically, to time management games.

For the uninitiated, these usually feature a character doing a job like waitressing or running a small farm, and you have to run the character through all sorts of tasks that must be done quickly, and in a specific order. In the Diner Dash series, and also Emily’s Delicious, another of my favorites, you work at different restaurants. You have to hand out menus, take orders, sometimes fix food, take it to the customers, collect money, and so on. There are different types of customers who have differing patience levels, and if they leave early, you loose points/money (in the game, not real money). If you don’t make enough money in the allotted time, you fail the level. As the levels go on, difficulty and complexity of the tasks increases.  There is a story that goes along with it, usually told in cut scenes between levels or major game segments. They’re fairly pedestrian – after all, it’s about the game play – but some of them are cute. What my husband finds most ironic about my addiction to these games is that they’re about people doing jobs I would be horrible at!

In the Farm Frenzy series, you play as Scarlet, who has farms all over the place - and in time!

It was way too easy to get caught up in this. It all started several years ago, when MSN Games offered Diner Dash 2 for free. Yes, it was online-only – as in, a tiny screen in a web browser window. And there are commercials between levels. But free! And legal! I was hooked. Eventually, I finished out the game, only to find that… it wasn’t finished. MSN only offered nine levels on the free, online game, then wanted to sell you a downloadable game. For $19.95, which I couldn’t justify.

Then I found, where they offer the full, downloadble versions of dozens of games, FREE. Like the MSN trial online version, these have commercials between levels, but they don’t bother me. (With the commercials, I know the developers are being paid, and that’s something I have a vested interest in.) Sure enough, they had Diner Dash – and if I wanted it without commercials, it’s only 6.99 on Gamehouse.  There are many to choose from. Not just time management games, but hidden objects, puzzles, arcade games. All designed to be played in short bursts (hence the name casual games, as opposed to something long-term, like Everquest or WoW).

"It's good to work toward my dream," Emily says. Ummm.... yeah. Now I need to go work on mine.

I don’t stop writing to watch TV. But I do, sometimes, stop to play a round of Farm Frenzy–gotta make that cheese! Which invariably becomes two rounds. Or three. Or… well, you get it.

So there is my big time management challenge… time management games. I’ve been good lately, but it’s involved a great deal of restraint. I don’t let myself play games until after I’ve done a set amount of work on my writing, done my workout for the day, taken care of paperwork or whatever else needs to be done around the house, checked and responded to email and so on. But sometimes I do slip up and play before the work is done. Then I get back to the work, and it’s that much longer before it’s finished. I admit, I had to get in a round of Delicious: Emily’s Tea Garden before writing this blog – and now it’s 10:30 PM. But the writing got done first!

So tell me. Do you like casual games, and if so, which ones? Or are you more into the more involved games, or… not at all – maybe your addiction is something else, like TV? Is it an effort for you to stay away from your addiction until you get things done? Please share, and tell me I’m not alone! I’ll stop back later… after I’ve served some customers!

15 Responses to \

  1. I have never played these and wondered what the draw was. It looks interesting. The only game I get pulled into too easily is Words with Friends. I have always loved Scrabble, and I love making words and am competitive. There is one opponent in particular who is so good that I spent ridiculous amounts of time coming up with words that will score high points in hopes that I can beat her.

  2. LOL having to beat someone else would certainly be a challenge that keeps people coming back – that’s why I don’t even try multi-user games! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Oh I can totally get addicted to all those timewasters! I was very into Farmville for the longest time. LOVE Diner Dash. I dropped them all though, because I would play them instead of working. Bad Melinda, Bad! Now I just play WoW in the evenings. But I understand the fascination, for sure!

  4. Pat – Somehow I manage to avoid TV without much problem! Though I do often watch when my husband has it on, while I’m doing social media or replying to email or such that doesn’t require the kind of concentration writing does.

    Melinda – it does take a lot of discipline to work instead of play – sometimes more than others! I’ve been good lately, but I’m also through the hardest part of the revision.

    Coleen – it’s like smoking, the best way to quit is to never start LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I don’t do computer or video games. I’m not sure why, but I have never liked them. The games I like are board games, card games, and social (drinking) games. My dad recently taught me how to play poker, and that is really fun! We don’t actually play for money because that would be too much for me. But I do see how it could be addicting. Everyone has a vice. Mine is coffee. Ok, and shoes.

  6. I was hooked on playing Texas Hold ’em poker on my phone for awhile until my husband suggested I might be playing online without realizing it. I stopped immediately as I was losing all the time. I didn’t know much about online playing at the time. Fortunately I wasn’t connected. TV is a time sucker for me.

  7. Emma, good for you! Although coffee and shoes can get expensive. Hmmm, I guess there’s a downside to anything!

    Catherine, my husband got into online poker a while back, but he eventually got tired of all the ads trying to get him to bet money so he quit. But boy was he up late for many nights!

  8. You’re right, this is ironic!
    I love games on xbox: role-playing games, sports games, and kinect. And I play quite a lot of board games with the kids.
    Videogames are a huge time-waster, but I figure I’d wasting time watching TV anyway… 🙂

  9. LOL Fabio – that’s my rationalization too. If I didn’t play games, I’d watch TV. So maybe it all evens out. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. No . I. Don’t. Play. These. Games. She says as she clears her kid’s smurfs’ crops for them so they don’t wither. LOL But seriously, a couple of years ago a friend got me to play Farmville for a while on FB and it got terribly time consuming. When I started writing all games stopped cold turkey. Since then, much of my television has fallen behind as well. Where I used to sit down and give it my full attention, now I glance at it from over my computer screen. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of loading a few games onto my ipad one day to keep my kid content when we were out. Well crap. Now they are totally addicted to the Smurf Village and I am mother to avid little blue farmers. Of course they don’t think out their timing vs. planting very well, so on occasion I will save the crops. Other times there is a massive loss. But their farm level is so low I can take care of everything in a matter of minutes, so it’s all good. Of course, it’s a different story for the rest of my family. They are all totally addicted to all kinds of games. I guess it’s a good thing daddy can get a lot of them for free. Bonus!

  11. LOL Debra! That’s why I never clicked on anything Farmville, MafiaWars, or Vampire Wars – I know I would get sucked in! The single-player nature of the games I play helps me limit the time I spend on them – sometimes!

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