Most mornings I have a routine. While I wait for my coffee to brew I pop into Trade Nations on my phone and collect some rent and maybe build some new businesses. When I sit down to drink my coffee, preferably with some sort of unhealthy baked good to go with it, I check in on my sim in The Sims Social and do a bit of exploring in Ravenskye City. If it’s not a particularly busy day I might even squeeze in a game of Triple Town before tackling my daily mountain of email. But it wasn’t always that way. I used to play CityVille every morning. I used to check on my DragonVale dragons while letting the coffee brew. But as new games come out I’m forced to make a decision. There’s only so much time in a day and in order to play a new social game I need to drop something else.

This isn’t really a problem with more traditional games, the ones that actually end. When I finish the latest Big Fish release I can move on to something else. I don’t need to keep playing it. But in the world of service-based social games keeping up with new releases proves quite a bit more troublesome. These games don’t end. And so you’re not exactly moving from one game to the next, you’re quitting one to start playing another, which you’ll likely quit as well sometime down the line.

The fact that social games don’t really end can be a great thing. When I see that there’s a new update for Trade Nations, I get a bit excited, anxious to see what new stuff I can upgrade my town with. It’s nice to be able to play a game that feels like it’s constantly growing and expanding. But at the same time, it can be stressful. I want to play everything that’s out there, or at least everything that’s good. But in order to truly enjoy a social game I need to invest some serious time and it’s simply not feasible to be juggling a half dozen or more games at once, playing them all each day or at least on a regular basis. My coffee break would stretch out into forever.

Of course, this is probably a bit more of a problem for me than most people. At any given time I’m already playing several games for work, which makes the time I have to play games for fun even more limited. But I imagine the problem is still pretty widespread. It’s simply impossible to keep up with everything.

My solution is to stick to the games I really enjoy, usually just two or three at a time. I play those games and only those games so that I can get as much out of them as possible. I really invest myself in them and try to convince friends to play along with me. But at the same time, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out. There are so many great games out on Facebook now that I actually want to play, but it’s just not possible. D&D Heroes of Neverwinter launched over a month ago and, despite eagerly anticipating it, I haven’t even started playing. And it’s because I know I won’t have the necessary time to invest in it.

The problem of having too many good games to play may be a strange thing to complain about, but it’s one that has become particularly troublesome for those of us that enjoy social games. I may want to try that big new release that all my friends are playing, but do I want to abandon my sim to do so? It’s a surprisingly tough decision. And one that I have a hard time making.

Title image courtesy doug88888