Gamers all grow up sometime right? Gaming has been a hugely important part of my life for over two decades. I knew eventually life would catch up with me. Having a job and family and eventually moving on from my hobby to pursue a career and other ambitions. The reality is you never have to give anything up at all.
So what’s it like to be a gamer dad? Amazing.
I became a dad to twin boys last June. The first year really was a blur. I’ve used gaming as my primary way to unwind and manage my stress and anxiety levels. Obviously I cannot game as much as I used to, possibly less than some because I did have twins.
Despite being sleep deprived, massive understatement here, and constantly on the go with cycles of naps, bottles, diapers and playtime I still found time here and there to game. Babies do sleep a lot and it does give you some time to get things done or to simply take an hour for yourself for many of those longer stressful days, never feel guilty about taking some “me” time.
My gaming habits have changed. No longer can I invest hundreds of hours at a time on a binge. I can’t play “Skyrim” or “GTA V” or “Witcher 3” for four to six hours or more stretches. I love those games and always have but my schedule only allows for short sessions during nap and after they go to bed.
Like most adults, I have a day job too and that generally means I cannot stay up 2 a.m. on a regular basis especially when I know my kids will be up around 6-7 a.m.
These days I value shorter experiences games where I can play for an hour or two and make progress. I did purchase “Witcher 3,” had it pre-ordered months in advance, and it’s easy to get lost in a world as large as the one CD Projekt Red created. With my schedule, job, wife and kids taking priority while I did find time to breeze through the main story there is a lot more content there I will likely never see for possibly many years.
Mobile gaming is a godsend because majority of those experiences are made for short sessions over hours long sessions. Many other games like “Warframe” and story based games like “Life is Strange” allow me to enjoy my shorter sessions and still get my gaming in to maintain sanity.
There’s a lot of criticism I’ve seen recently over some games being too short. I value those experiences now. Hop on play a chamber or two of “Portal” on my Shield Portable then maybe a mission or two in “Warframe” all before nap time is done.
I still love games and likely always will. But time management is just one part of being an adult. You’re constantly juggling priorities. Babies don’t stay babies forever. I long for the day when I can share my hobbies and things I love with my kids. Until then, keep things short and to the point.
I love being a gamer. I love being a dad. There is room for both of those things in my life but the dad part has to come first. I just hum the Mario theme to them while changing them and then say the Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare when I’m done.
I have a Mario themed nursery for them, plush toys, they love plush coin blocks I got them that make the coin noise. When they were younger, they liked to chew on the legs of a plush facehugger I bought many years ago.
You don’t need to stop enjoying the things you love. It’s a part of you. It’s so amazing to share that part of your life with others. That’s the best part of being a gamer dad.