Mixing Video Games With A New Baby

By David Layzelle

There’s nothing like your partner announcing that “we’re having a baby” to send a fella into medley of mixed emotions and thoughts; will it be a boy or girl? Should you sign it up for Harvard or will the local Comprehensive suffice?  Is green poop normal? Will it interfere with my completing Far Cry 5?  You know, really important stuff.

Babies Aren’t So Bad

There are myriad questions that you and your partner will have to negotiate during pregnancy and into the first years of their delicate life, and as a team you will deal with them.  However, since its usually bad form to discuss whether a baby will cut down on your private gaming, time – and will definitely cut down on your gaming time if you ask it – so you need to be able to be your normal, supportive self, but still find time to get your fix of FPS’s, RPG’s, MMO’s RTS’s or whatever is your personal gaming poison happens to be.  With a baby around, life will change and your ability to game along with it, but with a bit of creativity, you can still get you fix.

Look for Opportunities

It’s a fact of life that babies are prone to keeping their own hours, and one of the most exciting things about having a new baby is wondering how many hours of unbroken sleep you can get in a session.  Its normally not many, so that becomes an opportunity to ease in a little gaming time as you take turns to feed and change nappies.  You can maximise this by volunteering to do the work, knowing that you will have a good twenty minutes to indulge your gaming needs and get kudos from your partner for doing extra duties with the baby.

Similarly, you can elect to do some babysitting while your partner goes out of a well-deserved rest with her friends in an evening. As soon as the door shuts, you can set up your favourite system and get down to some serious gaming.  Of course, you will need to have the baby somewhere in sight, just for safety, but with that done, you could look forward to several hours gameplay.

Pick Your Console Carefully

Obviously, success at your gaming experience while holding a young child will be highly dependent upon your equipment.  Console gaming with an Xbox or PlayStation is probably easiest to do one handed, while PC gaming is likely to be the hardest to achieve because of the need to use all those fingers.

Playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush on your phone is possible, but a larger tablet needs two hands for the ultimate gaming experience. However, never forget that a dozing baby can be hoisted over one shoulder, leaving two hands for controls, with a slight crick in your neck.  Obviously, Wii’s are completely impractical as all that swinging your arms around is going to wake the baby, and you’ll probably have to refrain from multiplayer games too, but apart from those two constraints, almost anything is on if you are flexible enough.

Having a baby is rewarding in many ways, but then so is defeating one of the giants on Shadow of the Colossus – especially as it is due for upgrade on the PS4 – or KO’ing Mike Tyson in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out! on the NES; it’s all a matter of perspective. Don’t fear the new baby, embrace it, and remember, you could be helping to set it on a noble path of gaming too!

Taken from the August 2017 issue of Geek Parenting, out now!

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