Hey Folks, welcome to 8bitreview’s “Father Gamer,” a new segment on being a good father while maintaining your status as a good gamer. Speaking as a parent of a 5-month old, I can say parenthood is the most rewarding thing I have ever done…but that doesn’t mean I’m done with virtual accolades. Friends and family will tell you that you need to say goodbye to various things that make you happy, including gaming. I am here to tell you these people are scaremongers who are trying to project their poor decision-making and perpetual unhappiness on you. Not only is gaming possible, it will make you a happier person and thus a better parent.
During a time period when you’re on an island of shitty diapers and surrounded by a sea of exhaustion, it’s tempting to let gaming fall by the wayside. It is important to maintain any activity that keeps you feeling connected to your friends and feeling jazzed. You may think simply staring at your baby is all you need to be happy…and you would be completely and utterly wrong.
A lot needs to change when you become a parent, including the types of games you play and when you play them. As a parent, you are constantly on call; because of this I vehemently discourage playing first person shooters or fighters online. Nothing is more frustrating than playing Soul Caliber 5 against a spammer while your baby is in the thralls of a meltdown. What once was a mental “just five more minutes,” mutates into an “am I really going to ignore my screaming progeny so this prepubescent punk doesn’t think I rage quit?” To anyone but a gamer, this is a no brainer. Alas, most of us have been putting off responsibility until the next rack, level, stage, save or match, for a decade or more. Online games should only be played if your significant other is covering for you. I have tried playing online during my child’s naps, when she is supposedly down for the night, or when I assume my wife doesn’t need me, it never works out and is wildly frustrating for everyone involved.
The most important piece of wisdom I can impart to new parents is to communicate with your significant other. Make them understand that your hobby serves a valuable function and allows you a brief mental vacation. Having a child doesn’t mean you have to neglect your needs and view your hobbies as being immature, you just need to attack them in a smart way.
In the next Father Gamer post, I will explore the easiest times to play and introduce you to a couple products no gaming parent should be without.