The podcast talks about reading and how the Internet-era and modern technology can interrupt the act of reading or even the desire to read traditional long-form texts such as novels. I’ve noticed this as a growing issue for my gaming hobby. My phone is usually near me while on my computer so any incoming alerts from texts, emails or other notifications can easily distract me and potentially breaking any immersion I might have in the game at that moment. Although I had most notifications switched down low or off completely on my old phone, I’ve just this week switched phones and it’ll take a while to calm down the storm of notifications that all the apps bombard me with. This change has made it very obvious how much of a distraction a smart phone can be.
The mobile phone is not the only source of such temptations to multi-task or otherwise not actively give a game my full attention. Having a browser open is easy and normal for me as I have a gaming laptop with a monitor attached – with two screens I can play a game with the browser on my other screen. That’s actually fairly common behaviour I read, indeed, with some games it’s pretty much a necessity. While I was writing a comment on Everquest 2 over at Inventory Full, I was reminded of how much I need a wiki to play later content in that game to do standard or simple things. If I’m having to constantly dip in and out of a list of instructions then that isn’t necessarily great for my immersion.
I’ve been through phases of watching Twitch channels, Youtube videos or having social media or Reddit open on the second screen. Playing Star Wars the Old Republic again has disciplined me to concentrate on my gaming more solidly. With its frequent cut scene dialogues and overlapping plots for class, planet and faction the game demands your attention more than other MMORPGs. I’m aware that the temptation to keep dipping out of the game to look at other stuff is still there, however. I think it’s rather good practice to focus purely on gaming as much as possible in order to get maximum enjoyment out of it.