“The stats panel on Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s enthralling new video game set in the old West, tells me I’ve spent about 16 hours planted at my Xbox over the last two weeks. It also says that I’ve finished just 60 percent of the game, so I can expect to be plugging away for two more weeks at my current pace. All told, Red Dead Redemption will consume at least a month of my leisure time, and—unless I get bored of it, which is unlikely—probably a lot more.
By some measures, this is not a lot of time; the average American spends many more hours worshipping his television, and I personally squander an obscene number of hours a day on the Web. What’s more, I circumscribe my game-playing to odd, otherwise unproductive moments during the day. Red Dead Redemption hasn’t adversely affected my work or my social life. It is also—and this is no small thing—absorbingly fun; playing the game has been the most consistently entertaining thing I’ve done in many months, and if you subscribe to the theory that pleasure is the purpose of life (a theory of which I’m enormously fond), you might argue I should be playing RDR more often.”