I must admit I’m one of those people who can’t play video games for long stretches of time. After a while of playtime, I start feeling anxious and uncomfortable and I have to do something else before I lose my mind. That said, that doesn’t mean I don’t play video games for longs periods of time every now and then. Maybe I want to finish a review so that I can post an article, maybe I need to stay away from the outside world for a few hours, maybe I want to make a dent in my pile of shame or maybe I just need to catch up with specific series before a new iteration in that particular series comes out.
Nevertheless, take into account that there’s such thing as playing games too much. Playing video games for long periods of time might make hallucinate and there are other risks (such as permanent health conditions,) so while overnights are fun every once in a while, I wouldn’t recommend spending too much time in one sitting in front of a screen. Personally, playing three hours is already too much and while I understand this number tends to vary from person to person, your healthy is always the priority.
Choose the game (or games) wisely
Unless you’re planning on jumping from game to game in the same session, choosing a single game’s important. There are a lot of games we commonly associate with spending too much time, such as MMOs (World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI,) RPGs (Dragon Quest VIII, Skyrym,) sandbox games (GTA: San Andreas, Minecraft) MOBAs (Dota 2, League of Legends) and so on. So if the idea is spending a few hours playing a game, you should select a game that offers that.
“I’ve never played World of Warcraft, but I can change than the next time I have a free weekend.”
Make sure you have some free time
Regardless of the game you choose, make sure you don’t have short-term responsibilities. So you shouldn’t start playing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowing a day before an important exam or before you’re supposed to pick up your girlfriend. This is why playing during the weekends or on holidays is important.
Choose the time of the day wisely
I guess this depends on the person who’s playing games. Some people prefer playing games early in the morning some prefer playing after a long day. Whatever time of the day you end up choosing, make sure you’re free and that you’ll be free for a few hours.
Comfortable chair or couch
I can’t stress this enough. When you’re doing something for hours, you should feel comfortable. Otherwise, you’ll start feeling back pains or your articulations will feel sore, so please don’t underestimate a comfortable chair or couch before sitting there for hours.
Avoid distractions (phone, social networks)
Playing games for a long time is the perfect excuse to disconnect from the “outside” world for a while. While turning everything off is probably a bad idea, at leat avoid looking at your phone for a while. Who cares if your best friend posted photos of her new baby? Who cares if your Facebook friends are drinking mimosas and you weren’t invited (those bastards!)? Who wants to watch another cat video? Well actually, save the cat video for later…
This is another important point: you should definitely take breaks every now and then. At least once every hour or so. Breaks are important because they give you the energy to keep going and you can use those breaks to go to the bathroom, eat something, play with your pet and so on.
Stretch your body and run around a bit
Doing some sort of light exercise always helps, especially if you’re going to sit down a long stretches of time. I’m an active person, so when I don’t do exercise for a few hours, I start to feel really uncomfortable. I understand that’s not the case for everyone, but exercise is good for you regardless of your situation.
Eat healthy and avoid caffeine
The problem with having too much caffeine is that it totally ruins your sleep cycle and you run the risk of staying up long after you finished playing games. So eat healthy (fruits and smoothies are perfect for these sort of gaming marathons) and it won’t be difficult to continue your regular schedule after playing games.
Play with someone else
Playing with someone else is a terrific idea as well. After playing the same thing for a long time, you’ll notice you’re making mistakes or that you’re not paying as much attention as you used to (at least if it’s a fast-paced game that relies on your reflexes.) This is only natural, but when you’re playing with someone else, you can take turns and still feel engaged with whatever it’s you’re playing.
Don’t sacrifice anything
Although playing video games is fun and all, please don’t sacrifice anything for a silly gaming marathon. Some things in our life are much more important than playing games (family, friends, pets, significant other, school, job and so on and so forth.) Establish priorities and wait for the perfect time to play that long game.