All your time are belong to us!
So, you found out you’re going to be a dad! First of all, I’d like to say congratulations! There is nothing more rewarding than raising a child and watching them learn and follow your lead. It’s a daunting task and you will be challenged at every turn, but nothing will challenge you more than finding the time you used to have to perform your basic daily duties. The daily duties I speak of are just what I feel every father will absolutely need to maintain in order to live a happy life and still raise an upstanding member of society. Relationships still need to be kept, work still needs to be done, bills still need to be paid, and games still need to be played. Yes those games aren’t going to play themselves and it’s up to you to somehow find time to finish off that dungeon or level up that Titan.
I remember fondly of the morning my wife rudely woke me up after passing out on the couch in my game room after an all night session of Red Dead Redemption. It was about 6 o’clock in the morning and I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Was there a leak? Did an intruder get into the house? After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes I noticed a pregnancy test in her non-gamer (not my choice) hands. Yep, she was pregnant. I was excited, but also extremely scared. For the first time in a long time I wasn’t thinking about what beer I needed to stock in my fridge, where we were going to meet friends for dinner, or what my next mission was in Red Dead Redemption. Those thoughts were quickly replaced with what needed to be done to the extra bedroom, is my house totally safe enough for a baby, and did I remember to save my game before I passed out?
My daughter is five now, and I also have a newborn baby who will be making his way to the house soon, so I can safely say I’m pretty well versed in juggling parenthood and gaming. I would like to share some of the tricks I’ve learned through the seemingly fast five years I’ve been a dad and also a gamer. Hopefully some dads out there can benefit from these steps and also remain involved with their child’s development.
Step 1: Nap Time
Luckily for new dads; newborn babies nap more than you do on your days off work. Several naps throughout the day will grant you valuable game time, but you need to make sure to take full advantage of it. The consoles of today have the ability to go into rest mode and boot up right where you left off. No need to load up a new game and find the location of where you last were. Just a nice quick press of the PS or Xbox button and you’re exactly where you left off. This is extremely handy as when your baby starts to cry you won’t have to cry with it. Simply put your game into rest mode and continue a few hours later when your baby is going down for another nap. It’s like this mode was designed just for fathers of newborns!
Step 2: Facebook Groups
There are several Facebook groups for fathers who still partake in video games. One in particular is Video Game Dads. These groups are here to help dads find other dads that are in the same situation. Here you can start friendships that will lead to exchanges in gamertags and other advice on finding time to game. Additionally, these guys set up times to play online and also posts tips on what games to play if time is limited. These groups aren’t just limited to game talk either as some dads offer advice on what baby monitors they use and how to soothe a teething infant.
Step 3: Reddit
Reddit is a great tool to use if you’re a fan of Destiny or The Division. No game is more difficult than an online multiplayer game when time is limited. A quick search on Reddit will enable you to link up with gamers across the world that are looking for a partner to take down some bad guys. You will find out real quick that you’re unable to meet up with your buddies at your leisure. Fortunately, Reddit users who are looking for help are often mature gamers and not 5 year olds that berate you when you miss a shot. Also, Reddit users will often add you as a friend, and it’s always good to have a nice big friends list when looking for a partner.
Step 4: Emulators & Retron 5
If you’re more of a retro gamer and enjoy the vintage classics of yesteryear, make sure to take advantage of save-states. As with the aforementioned “rest-mode” in modern consoles, save states will grant you the ability to save your game at any time and continue where you left off at your leisure. Luckily the Retron 5 has built in save states, which can also help you in the more difficult spots in a game. A quick press of a button and your right where you left off before you died. Almost all emulators have built in save states as well, so get to playing those classics you never finished as a kid.
Step 5: Nintendo
Good ol’ Nintendo. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I fell off Nintendo’s bandwagon in the early years of the Nintendo 64. I was a teenager then and Playstation just seemed to have more to offer a more mature gamer. I missed out on classics such as Ocarina of Time (now one of my favorite games) all the way up to the Metroid Prime series on the Gamecube. I have my daughter to thank when it come to getting back into the big “N”. I started to notice she was taking interest in my games at the early age of two. I proceed with caution while introducing her to my PS3 controller. I wasn’t too sure she should even be watching TV at such an early age but she really seemed to enjoy seeing Rayman react to her pushing forward on the analogue stick. The only problem was that there were too many buttons on Sony’s controller, so I decided to bust out my trusty old Nintendo NES and its two-button controller. She was immediately hooked and started sifting through my carts until she found “The Little Mermaid” (don’t ask why I had that cart in my collection). So after playing a few classics she eventually wanted to play Super Mario Brothers. To my surprise, she fared really well at it. So after convincing my wife that she was a natural it was only fitting that we purchase a Wii U & 2DS. Needless to say she takes after her father and wants to play each and every game she can get her 5-year-old hands on. The point of this step is just to inform dads that it’s ok for you to introduce kids to games at an early age. Just be careful what game you let them play. Before you know it they’ll be your player two, enjoying the hobby with you for years to come.
I’m sure there are plenty more steps on not giving up your hobby, but hopefully by reading this, a dad can take a little comfort in knowing not all is lost. There are thousands of dads out there and each one has felt the fear of losing their all-important way of relieving stress after a bad day at work. Gaming is like a best buddy you never knew you had. It’s there for you, you just need to know when to rely on it.