Eating Time, Feeling Wonderful

So according to my stats tracker, the games subpage of my website is coming up to a couple of pretty crazy numbers. After about a year of having an official “games” presence, it’s approaching 500,000 “unique” hits (I’m rather unclear on how accurate that’s likely to be) and, freakishly, almost 1,000,000 hits in general. That is… a lot of hits. As I’ve said before, it was with crazed excitement that I used to greet 1,000 hits in a month. And in truth it’s a little sad that I suppose in some ways that’s no longer so much the case.

Anyway, the 1,000,000 thing made me want to do some math. So I imagined that each hit represented, on average, say 1 minute of someone’s time. I don’t know how accurate that is – I assume that sometimes people play the games for a while and sometimes they click away immediately, repelled for one reason or another. Still, let’s say the hit count represents 1,000,000 minutes. Well, that amounts to 694 days, or around about two years.

Two years.

Can it really be possible that two years of people’s time has been spent playing games that I’ve been making? How does one make sense of that? And, well, should I feel guilty in some way? What on earth does it mean? I imagine myself eating this time, somehow. It reminds me vaguely of the novel Momo, with the grey men who take people’s time…

On the other hand, given that presumably some (hopefully large!) fraction of the people involved in making up those two years had a nice time – some smiled and shook their heads, some laughed, and I know at least one cried. To that extent, this reminds me of an amorphous but powerful ambition I’ve had form when I was quite young. I used to read novels lying in the bath – still one of my favourite things ever. And sometimes I would lie there, having this amazing time, and think: I want to make this possible for other people. I wanted someone to read my novel in the bath and feel fantastic.

Well, I didn’t write that novel, but maybe these games are kind of what I was looking for anyway. The idea that you could produce a thing that other people consider time well spent. The idea that some chunk of those two composite years were full of happiness, some moments of the same well-being I felt reading a novel. And if that’s true…

Well then how wonderful that is.

2 April 2012
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