Raising a Gamer

4 Player Co-Op

If you follow me on Twitter you may know that my wife and I are expecting our second child in a little over a month. We are both extremely excited and utterly terrified at the prospect of two kids. Preparing for a newborn is akin to prepping for an impending natural disaster…just replace batteries with diapers. I remember how crazy those first few months were with our daughter, Mae. We were young parents on our own and had no real experience with kids. Even though it has been nearly 5 years since our first child was born, I hope I can remember the challenges and apply some of those lessons learned with Mae to baby #2. Today I propose something a little different than what normally appears in my series. I wanted to share a few gaming related tips I recall from my first go around at raising a gamer.

1. In your mad dash to get ready for baby, don’t forget to spend time with your significant other. Pregnancy is one of the toughest things a person can go through. Sometimes you need to take a step back and remember that this will be one of the most memorable times of your life. Laugh together, hold hands, and play games together. Don’t forget to take advantage of the short time you have left with each other before the baby comes. Might I suggest some Soul Caliber II? Nothing says I love you like spamming the same attack over and over ;)

2. New babies get all the attention right? If you are like me and you are having a second child, be sure to make sure to spend quality time with your first born. Mae and I have been pals since day one. I want her to know that I am not playing favorites, new babies just need a little bit more attention. Mae and I will still have our Saturday mornings and retro games.

3. Bonding time is important but also remember to take time for yourself! Been meaning to play that extremely graphic survival horror game? Well you may want to get it and any others from your backlog out of the way, because trust me, it is going to be a long time before you can easily go back to playing M rated games. I was able to clear a few Silent Hill games off of my list before Mae came along.

You don’t come here for scary Silent Hill pictures..so here’s a cat.

4. When the big day finally arrives it may be a good idea to bring along a handheld loaded with some sort of puzzle game. You won’t have much down time I promise, but those minutes you do have may end up feeling like hours. Mae was born via C-section, so I had to wait outside the operating room for about 40 minutes while my wife was prepped for surgery. So many things were rushing through my head in that short amount of time I thought I might have an anxiety attack. Tetris or Dr. Mario may have helped to keep my head clear.

A potential life saver

5. RPGs are your friend. It might be a good idea to pick up 2 or 3 before your little one gets here.  Been meaning to see what all the fuss was about for Chrono Trigger or Earthbound? I can remember those late nights rocking Mae to sleep for hours on end. Playing through Legend of Legaia was a nice way to pass the time while trying to get her to sleep. Final Fantasy lends itself to nocturnal gaming sessions pretty well, generally soothing music and all the captions you can stomach mean that baby can try to snooze while you beat up on poor defenseless Cactaur.

Cactuar just wants a hug!

Cactuar just wants a hug!

6. While it can be more challenging, gaming after kids is still possible. Hell, it’s even a great way to teach your little ones important lessons, but just like the rest of your life, it works best when there is a plan. Don’t hesitate to plan your gaming time like you would any other activity. Recent retro haul resulted in something you really want to play? Maybe add some game time to your calendar later in the week. Being a family is one of the greatest things out there, but it is still important to have a hobby or do something you enjoy once in a while. I have found that my limited ability to game makes the small amount of time I do have that much better. I enjoy games more now that I have kids because I can appreciate the game as a work of art or technical achievement, while still basking in the sense of youthful wonderment my daughter has when playing something for the first time.