Over at Wired, they have an article up by Clive Thompson about “gamer regret”: the feeling that you’ve spent too much time playing a game.

Perhaps, give the substance of the article, we might call it “gamer guilt”, the feeling that you could have been spending your time on “better things”. Whatever “better things” might mean.

Personally, I see no reason why anyone should feel either regretful or guilty about playing games, unless family, friends, and/or work are being neglected.

The problem, no doubt, comes from the fact that games are still fairly new. They don’t have a long tradition behind them, as do sports, reading, movies, hobbies, or plays (or even television).

Regardless, that feeling of “regret” (or “guilt”) isn’t new; only the activity is new. It’s just one more thing to take up our time, and that is the core of the matter.

No matter what, there’s always something else that needs to be done. I had this feeling often back in the days when I was still writing for the magazine and still running the games areas online for CompuServe, GEnie, et al.

I’d be playing a game, and thinking I ought to get online and check my email. Or read the boards. But then I’d be online and thinking I ought to be playing the game, because the review had to be done soon. No matter what, there was that sinking feeling something was being neglected, there was something else I should be doing.

Of course, my situation wasn’t typical, since I played games for a living. And really, few things were neglected (or at least, not for long). Still, I think you get the idea.

Games can soak up a lot of time. So can watching television or movies, or reading a book, or anything that engages our interest. It comes down to “not enough time for everything”, so we have to pick and choose.

And if some of us choose games, so what? If games didn’t exist, it would likely be TV taking up our (not my!) time. For that matter, it still absorbs plenty of hours from a lot of people.

No, I don’t think there’s any reason to be guilty about game hours. It’s just the modern world gives us so many different things to do, and we can’t do all of them. So make the best choices, and don’t let your conscience bother you. Unless, of course, you’re neglecting family/friends/work…

Gamer Regret on Wired