Taking Your Time: What I Learned Spending a Year Playing Persona 5 Royal

In Persona 5 Royal, Joker's journey ends in March, and I've spent the last year playing each day in real time. I learned some unexpected lessons along the way.

Published: March 21, 2023 1:00 PM /


Joker in Prison in Persona 5 Royal

JRPGs, by their nature, are not short experiences. Persona 5 Royal itself easily clocks in at well over 100 hours. I just wrapped my first playthrough, a journey that started nearly one year ago on April 9, 2022. I had marked the calendar months in advance, anticipating playing this game in real-time with the in-game calendar while I kept up with episodes of Take Your Time -- a Persona 5 podcast hosted by Jonathon Dornbush and Tom Marks. 

I knew this adventure would be very silly and ridiculous, but I did not anticipate how much I would learn about not only my gaming habits, but my real-life relationships. After nearly 12 months and 168 hours of playtime, I understand why Persona 5 is so well-loved. For now, I set my PlayStation controller aside and think about what this experience has done for me over this past year. 

The Phantom Thieves in Persona 5 Royal

Taking Your Time: Wise Advice, Even With a Gaming Backlog 

If you're reading this website, it's likely you have some semblance of a gaming backlog that's always on your mind. It's hard not to: every day the gap between games you've played and games you haven't is growing. It can be alarming, but Persona 5 Royal showed me that taking your time with a single game, as opposed to cramming many games, is a good thing. 

I used to try and crush through games quickly. I was obsessed with being there for the conversation and being among the first to hit the end credits, whether that meant starting a game right at midnight when it released or setting my alarm for a 5 a.m. wake-up so I could squeeze in a few hours before work.

I still do this every now and again (I intend to sleep very little when The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases), and if I'm reviewing a game for TechRaptor, I know I'm operating under a deadline, but I'm less obsessed with being the first across the finish line when I'm playing for fun.

And in the stress of covering games for a job while also having a non-industry full-time day job, I forgot that games used to be a thing I played only for fun. Persona 5 Royal helped remind me that video games are joyful, and not a source of stress. Realizing that I can slow down helped me feel less FOMO when I opted to not get a new release (though I did cave and buy the Dead Space remake a few weeks after it came out). 

I still have my backlog, who doesn't? But I feel way less pressure to treat it like a list of tasks that needs to be completed. Instead, I've been reminded how fun these games really are, which motivated me to boot up Metroid Fusion on my Switch the other night, and finally check out why everyone loves Donkey Kong 64 so much. I used to think time spent playing one game was time I wasn't spending playing something else. Now I view any time I enjoy playing is time well spent, and that's a good thing. 

Persona 5 Royal Victory Screen

Persona 5 Royal Taught Me To Maximize My Time 

Like most people on the TechRaptor staff, I spend an above-average amount of time playing video games. Not as much as others, but I can get a dozen or so hours in each week between everything else I love doing -- reading, watching movies, taking walks, playing with my cats, and that 40 hours I spend at a desk.

So, time is a luxury. And what better way to learn how to maximize time than a game literally built around taking your time? Persona 5 Royal is all about the mundane stuff you do when not taking down demons in palaces: reading books, watching movies, hanging out with friends, going shopping, etc. P5 Royal makes you question every decision, because unlike my point about video games earlier, the time you spend doing one thing in P5 Royal is time not spent doing something else.

In real life now, I have a whole new appreciation for devices that can perform tasks for me, like washing machines and dishwashers. I can play a video game and get my clothes washed at the same time? Amazing. This relates to any job that I might hire out: plumber, electrician, even getting takeout from a restaurant. These people work incredibly hard to make all of our lives easier.

Hiring someone to install floors in the house I just bought might be more expensive than doing it myself, but it saves me the hours and headache of trying to figure it out for myself. Time is the only finite resource we're working with, and it should never be squandered. 

Joker & Ryuji in Persona 5 Royal

Don't Skimp On Relationships, Even When Playing a 100+ Hour JRPG 

The Persona 5 Royal confidants are the core of this game, more so than the palaces, the locales, and even the Personas themselves. It's incredible that nearly all of the confidants are optional, but very helpful the more you max out. As you balance your time through the months and spend a lot of time with one confidant, you may find you've been ignoring another.

Forming a strong bond with Ryuji is great, but what about Ann? Makoto? Did you spend your Sunday with Yoshida? Are you answering Yoshizawa's calls? Your friends are the very best thing about Persona 5 Royal, and the very same is true for real life. 

It's easy to drift apart with the people you've grown close to, especially as you age. The pandemic certainly didn't make it any easier, but technology like Discord and online gaming has made it easier than ever to stay connected. I don't see my friends in person as often as I'd like, but several times a week I'll hang out with them over Grand Theft Auto OnlineHalo, or Deep Rock Galactic.

Life is not a video game. I know this, and it's an important distinction to make. But that doesn't mean you can't gamify things to make your time on this planet more interesting. In Persona 5 Royal, dialogue options and hangouts can help progress a confidant line, and this past year we saw a similar relationship mechanic in Marvel's Midnight Suns.

I now look at my friendships and view them through the same lens. Which friendships have I maxed out? Which ones need care and attention? Which ones have I not paid attention to in a while? It helps me make better social decisions and maintain the relationships that are most important to me. 

And even when spending a year playing a fantastic JRPG, I found the time to hang out with my wife, my friends, my family, and even meet some new people along the way. Don't sacrifice your relationships for a game, a job, or anything else. It's certainly not worth it. 

In the words of Lady Ann:

Personal relationships are something to be treasured. That's why I'm not going to run away anymore. - Ann Takamaki

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Me holding a Nintendo Switch next to a Reggie Fils-Aime poster
| Staff Writer

Dan is a Boston-based writer who has been with TechRaptor since the end of 2020. He has been working in the online writing, editing and SEO space for nearly… More about Dan

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Release Date
April 4, 2017 (Calendar)
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