Gaming as a parent

Jan 22, 2020
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Death Stranding has arrived on PC and occupies an increasingly populous area on my personal gaming Venn diagram being both a primarily single-player narratively driven experience in a sprawling open world, as well as being a mile-wide 100+ hour marathon playthrough. This puts it neatly alongside a bunch of recent releases like RDR2 that I'd love to get to grips with but just can't in practice, primarily because of a small roommate of mine who tends to monopolize my time, energy, money, patience and exactly half of my chromosomes.

I don't regret this at all, becoming a father was the best and most transformative experience of my life, and my daughter brings me actual, real-life joy which just wasn't a major component of my life beforehand. It does however add to the challenge of finding time for myself and staying actively engaged in my lifelong hobby.

The themes of parenthood are creeping into more and more mainstream games, presumably as an effect of the maturation of the medium and its auteurs. Death Stranding is a great example concerned specifically with fatherhood but there are lots of recent examples; The Last Of Us and God of War on PS4 are prime examples but it's touched on by the Dishonored series and the first Red Dead Redemption too.

More and more people of all ages and genders are playing games, meaning more parents are facing the same challenges and bringing similar perspectives to gaming. Apart from having less time than before, I'm also a different person than I was the first time I had to decide how to handle the Little Sister population of Rapture. Having a little girl has made me way more critical of female representation and roles, physically and narratively. It's even become easier to make me cry, certain late game cut scenes of Death Stranding I've watched had me blubbing even without context so playing the whole thing will very likely wreck me.

So to the other mums and dads still trying to squeeze in Overwatch rounds between bottle feeds, how do you find it? What are your tips? Have your tastes changed? Have you let your MMO subscriptions lapse or am I showing my age with that question? For those with older kids, how have you gone about sharing the experience? Or maybe you were born into the master race and your parents helped you build your first PC?

I'd love to hear from you all, provided it's at a reasonable hour because I am so very, very tired.
 
Jan 17, 2020
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I recognize the difficulties of trying to find time to play games. Hell, I have difficulties finding time to do basic household chores. And gaming doesn't really feel fun when you do it knowing there's a pile of dishes in the sink and a heap of clothes, both dirty and clean, that need to be taken care of, among other things.

I haven't been able to play a new game because I just don't have the mental energy. Last time I made some time to play a game I restarted Skyrim.

My main tip: throw away as much stuff as you can so it can't become something you have to take care of. Unless it's something that makes taking care of stuff easier, like a dishwasher or a Roomba. It's absolutely worth investing in stuff that will save you time.

As for my tastes, they have sadly remained the same, meaning I still feel excited about the idea of playing 100+ hour RPGs, even though I know I'll never get around to them.

So far, my child believes the computer should be used only to show her sesame street videos. Any attempt in doing something else with it results in consecutive exclamations of "Elmo" that increase in volume until Elmo has been provided.

My only hope now lies with the upcoming retirement of my parents. With Corona still ongoing, they might get so bored they'll be willing to take our daughter off of our hands often enough for us to get some regular game time again.
 

Zloth

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Jan 13, 2020
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My only hope now lies with the upcoming retirement of my parents. With Corona still ongoing, they might get so bored they'll be willing to take our daughter off of our hands often enough for us to get some regular game time again.
They might get so bored that they reach out for new hobbies. Maybe a hobby that doesn't require a whole lot of physical activity and, if anything, is actually doing better in the Year of the Virus.

"But I don't whanna go to grammy & grammpa's house. They just sit there with funny hemmits on and make me get them mown tan dew!"
 

McStabStab

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Jan 13, 2020
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My son is coming up on 2 years old and my gaming has shifted in that I've abandoned the discord communities that I once was a part of. Now my co-op online gaming solely consists of late night sessions of Warzone with my IRL friends who all play on Xbox. I used to play PUBG and other games every night with strangers that I made friends with in those communities but now with a kid it's unrealistic to keep those gaming relationships alive.

I do play way more single player games cause if I need to get the kid up from his nap I can just pause and save, but I pretty much keep a rule that when he's awake I spend my time with him - no gaming allowed.

So it ends up being a trade-off, once he goes to bed (usually around 7:30-8p) my wife (a non gamer) and myself have the evening to ourselves. Do we get some chores done? Do I do some work from home that evening? Watch a show we both love? Or does she go off and read and watch her shows while I boot up the PC and drop with the boys or make some progress in RDR2? With that, since these sessions go late, I also have to factor in work the next day. How early do I need to get up? Will I be over tired from gaming until 1am?

Bottom line is, the kid and the family are first priority. I love gaming, but family always comes first.
 
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Jan 22, 2020
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@Pifanjr Don't remind me of my dirty dishes, I'm trying to talk to people online about video games. And your codependent relationship with Skyrim is way too real, sometimes an article on a new mod is enough to send me back.

I've been spared Elmo so far, but my sister has lent me her Disney+ login so I'm learning to hate the puppy dog pals at the moment. Good advice on removing unneccessary things from your life too, does anyone want to take two slightly used and completely annoying cats off my hands?

@McStabStab The work/life/games balance is the quintessential problem isn't it? My partner is a non-gamer too so I can relate to having that extra scheduling difficulty, its so important to have time together after having a kid so that your own relationship stays vital and so you can enjoy your time apart guilt-free.

You sound like a dedicated dad, congrats on making it to two. I feel like birthdays up to about age three or four are really about marking your milestones as a parent so make sure you and your wife treat each other to something special for the occasion. You've earned it, and you'll need the happy memories once they discover emotional manipulation and faking illness. Tiny sociopaths.
 
Jan 17, 2020
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@Pifanjr Don't remind me of my dirty dishes, I'm trying to talk to people online about video games. And your codependent relationship with Skyrim is way too real, sometimes an article on a new mod is enough to send me back.
It was actually my wife who suggested we start playing again. I'm lucky to have been blessed with a wife who enjoys video games, though she's nowhere near as experienced as I am, mostly because she gets completely obsessed with a single game whereas I rarely play anything for longer than a week or two.

I think she has well over 1000 hours in Civ V and several hundred in Skyrim, whereas I think I just got up to 300 in Skyrim and that's the highest in my Steam list (though I suspect I might have played more of a few games outside of Steam).

I've been spared Elmo so far, but my sister has lent me her Disney+ login so I'm learning to hate the puppy dog pals at the moment.
I'll take Elmo over Paw Patrol any time. Not only does Sesame Street have pretty decent songs, Paw Patrol has some fucked up subtext to it.

Good advice on removing unneccessary things from your life too, does anyone want to take two slightly used and completely annoying cats off my hands?
I'd love to, but our house is pretty full already, especially since we started keeping our cats inside. It's been real shitty with the hot weather, as we have to lock them in the hallway just so we can open the door, but we're planning on building them a catio. If we ever get around to it...

you'll need the happy memories once they discover emotional manipulation and faking illness. Tiny sociopaths.
I'm really not looking forward to the part where they have the smarts but no moral compass yet. Kids can be little demons.
 
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McStabStab

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@McStabStab The work/life/games balance is the quintessential problem isn't it? My partner is a non-gamer too so I can relate to having that extra scheduling difficulty, its so important to have time together after having a kid so that your own relationship stays vital and so you can enjoy your time apart guilt-free.

You sound like a dedicated dad, congrats on making it to two. I feel like birthdays up to about age three or four are really about marking your milestones as a parent so make sure you and your wife treat each other to something special for the occasion. You've earned it, and you'll need the happy memories once they discover emotional manipulation and faking illness. Tiny sociopaths.
Cheers bud, appreciate the kind words from a fellow dad!
 
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Jan 15, 2020
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My wife and I are gamers and so is my son. So gaming is just a daily occurance in our house. Our son knows that chores and work come first. Just gotta create a good balance in the home and since we are all gamers, its pretty balanced between gaming and... gaming!
 
May 3, 2020
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I only get to game in the late evenings, after the children go to bed. And then, I have to listen out in case they call out (nightmare/hunger/dropped toy/etc), I miss being able to game while wearing my headset over both ears, rather than just one. There is an overhead of worry, once you have children around.
 
Dec 15, 2019
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As for my tastes, they have sadly remained the same, meaning I still feel excited about the idea of playing 100+ hour RPGs, even though I know I'll never get around to them.
I hear ya. Between TW3 and Cyberpunk 2077 I've procreated, and a myriad of games have come and been left half-finished since my boy was born. I've built a decent 1440p gaming rig in anticipation of Cyberpunk 2077 but I can't see myself finishing it before the next CD Projekt game comes out and it makes me sick to think of all the quality games I'll miss in the meantime.

So I don't think about it, and instead look forward to the time when my boy is old enough to play with his old man :)
 
Jan 22, 2020
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I only get to game in the late evenings, after the children go to bed. And then, I have to listen out in case they call out (nightmare/hunger/dropped toy/etc), I miss being able to game while wearing my headset over both ears, rather than just one. There is an overhead of worry, once you have children around.
Gaming with headphones half-off is very familiar to me, we're always on duty right? It really hurts immersion though, one of the reasons I still haven't finished TW3.
 
Feb 5, 2020
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Gaming as a parent is always rough, but it's worth it for my husband and I. We've played WoW since the beginning, Diablo, Warcraft, and soooo many mobile games. Call off Duty and PUBG mobile have been lifesavers in getting a break from life.

While our children range from 1-11 now, we've had them invested from the beginning. If children are going to get screen time, it might as well be interactive instead of endlessly watching Iron Mulan on Disney+. Skylanders are still broken out on a regular basis, as is Infinity. If you get them some console games, they'll hang out playing their game while you play yours. All of our children have mobile devices as well.

My only warning is don't buy cheaper, low memory devices. The $100-$200 range laptops used to be fine for Warcraft, but these days wait for a $600 on sale for $300 and save up for a present.

My $.02.
 
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