Ah, college, a time where you can finally be free from your family, where you learn to take care of yourself and to be independent. For the gamer entering college there can be problems, like how to balance a new and heavier workload and still find time to enjoy your games. Don’t try to fool yourself, it is a challenge to keep up with the near-constant release of new games (usually around the time your next essay is due) and managing to get those games on a tighter budget.
Gaming on a college budget
Freshman year can be a magical time. Not only are you finally on your own, but, if you spent your graduation money wisely you may find your bank account nice and fat. Depending on the cost of textbooks, supplies, food and other necessities a $60 sticker on a new game can seem intimidating. With most colleges not looking to hire first semester students, extra money is a true rarity and the lure of new games is like a cruel joke.
Thankfully, discount and used games are plentiful. Last fall, when feeling the sting of low cash but in need of entertainment, I was able to find a used copy of “Dead Space” for about $20 at a local Gamestop. That winter I picked up a copy of “Mass effect” for the same price.
So, upon entering college, let older games satisfy your gaming itch for a while and don’t forget the opportunity of online shopping to expand your search. Another recommendation I would make in controlling your video game desires is computer gaming.
Yeah I know, it is usually more expensive to play on a computer; especially including the price of hardware. Fortunately, thanks to Steam, an array of discounted games can be found right at your desk including a number of indie titles which are usually cheaper than other games and can be quite enjoyable to play through. The wonders of Steam aside, I don’t suggest overlooking console systems like Xbox live, Playstation Network, or Wii shop.
If you bring your beloved console to college, buying a few cheap games here and there can take the sting of prices off you while letting you enjoy a new game. If you’re really dedicated, get a job on campus and spend wisely when it comes to new games.
Game time vs. Work time
Forget what you see in every college movie; most nights will be spent getting work done and hoping you’ll be in bed before 2 A.M. rather than getting three more achievements. But when you do get a chance, it’s nice to take a breather and game to blow off some steam. Balancing work and gaming can prove difficult, however. My big point here is: NEVER SKIP CLASS FOR GAMES. It’s true some majors don’t have as heavy a workload as others, but nothing can really validate skipping class to game.
So yes, always go to your classes, but don’t book yourself a ticket for a guilt trip if you play a game for a while when there’s nothing else going on. Some of the chances you play may be sort of random, and you just decide to start up a game on the fly like I do when I find free time. Or maybe you can set yourself a schedule (I’ll do work for about three hours, play for an hour, and then continue!) though that strategy can be tough if you find yourself at a good point in the game, more power to you if you can pull it off. College scheduling can be a magic thing; maybe you only have morning classes, maybe night. See how playing around with your college schedule and just how much you need for homework and what you can use to play games in, though I recommend avoiding all nighters, they drain you and usually don’t prove very productive in the long run. See what works for you and use your own style of studying and gaming to best balance the two.
Gaming can be a difficult lifestyle to maintain. Staying current requires a fair amount of time and money, both of which can be lost when one enters the dorm room. When you get to college, don’t feel like you have to give up part of your life that you truly enjoy, simply make yourself a better manager of your time. So when you go off to college, enjoy it, experience what your school has to offer, do well, be safe, and pwn someone for the Mercwithamouth.