Since there are a few programmers on the board I feel motivated to quote this short little passage. Then I thought about it a moment and I think the same might be a least a little true about gaming and creativity in general. I think there is a parallel anyway. The quote sounds a little exaggerated but the premise of it is sound. It is from "Hackers" by Steven Leary (I am in my technological kick for the moment).
It is talking about the old transistor computers and having programs written on cards with only limited time access to the computer to actually run your program...which is also slightly appropriate considering the time we have to make for our favorite hobbies while still dealing with real life.
The peak hour itself was tremendously intense, but during the hours before, and even during the hours afterward, a hacker attained a state of pure concentration. When you programmed a computer, you had to be aware of where all the thousands of bits of information were going from one instruction to the next, and be able to predict-and exploit-the effect of all that movement. When you had all that information glued to your cerebral being, it was almost as if your own mind had merged into the environment of the computer. Sometimes it took hours to build up to the point where you thoughts could contain that total picture, and when you did get to that point, it was such a shame to waste it that you tried to sustain it by marathon bursts, alternatively working on the computer or poring over the code that you wrote.... You would sustain that concentration by "wrapping around" to the next day.
Inevitably, that frame of mind spilled over to what random shards of existence the hackers had outside of computing.
Aaaaah, the nirvana of the "zone." Often pursued, rarely captured.