Gaming As A New Father

Allen gets sentimental this week.

The first week of fatherhood felt like a war that I was losing. Every single facet of my life from sleeping to eating to going the bathroom revolved around my new son, and free time was a thing of the past. Being a person with many, many hobbies, the lack of free time was probably the most difficult part of the transition to fatherhood (aside from lack of sleep). I started to consider the possibility that I might not have time to pursue all my hobbies. As for video games, I had no intention of giving up them up entirely, but I knew that my playing habits would have to change. Fortunately by the second week of fatherhood, my wife and I had found a routine that allowed for limited free time for each of us.

As a new father, I took my first step back into the world of gaming with Pokémon Sun. Truth be told, I’ve never preferred handheld gaming to console gaming. Handhelds are great for trips (or when the power goes out), and that’s mainly why I purchased a New 3DS XL. In any case, Pokémon Sun was exactly what I needed at the time. I could stop the game at any point to change a dirty diaper or to help my wife with something. What’s more, I loved the streamlined design of Pokémon Sun because I could jump in and out of the game with ease. Eventually, I was able to take longer breaks and return to console gaming, but I think I’ll play handheld games much more often in the future.

When the opportunity presents itself, I generally don’t play a game for more than an hour out of guilt. I know that while I’m relaxing on the couch and hiding down mimics in Prey, my wife is upstairs feeding, cleaning, and changing the baby. She understands that gaming is important to me, but I try to limit my playtime, which affects the games I’m able to play. Open world titles like Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and even Breath of the Wild require a much larger time commitment than, say, a Mario title. Right now, I’m struggling with the desire to finish Breath of the Wild so that I can play something else. I know the game has much more to offer, but there are plenty of other titles practically begging to be played. In the future, I’ll definitely favor games with shorter campaigns instead of the usual open-world behemoths that I tend to enjoy.

Aside from limited time, the financial obligations of raising a child has also affected my gaming habits. In the past, I wouldn’t think twice about spending $60 for a new game that I wanted to play. Now, I balk at the idea of paying full price for a game (except for Prey because, damn it, it’s an Arkane Studios game). Perhaps, it’s always been a little crazy to pay $60 for a brand new video game when there are so many other options. With Steam and other online digital stores, there are a multitude of Indie titles and heavily discounted AAA titles to choose from, and that’s not even considering the games that I already own. For now, I plan to only purchase a few must-play titles a year at full price (I'm coming for you, Shadow of War).

Despite having less time for video games, my passion for them has increased. Gaming seems less like a habit and more like a privilege since I never know when I’ll be able to play. If you read this article, you might be convinced that fatherhood is a massive inconvenience for a gamer, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to raising a life that I created (some could argue that's the ultimate game), I'm excited to pivot; to try new types of games, to replay the games that I already own, and to one day crush my son in Mario Kart 8.

Here's a picture of me and my beautiful boy.

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Allen Brasch is an aspiring writer who loves good science fiction, fantasy, and horror. When Allen's not writing or gaming, he's talking about all things geeky on his podcast, Devil May Play.