Is parenthood the end of gaming?

So, you may have noticed the complete lack of updates around these parts. I’m going to tell you the same thing I tell all my friends who I never see anymore. Parenthood is time consuming. My son was born four years ago now and I haven’t slept since. Between him and my one year-old daughter gaming has become a distant memory.

Is parenthood the end of gaming? No, not really, but it does at least put a temporary halt on marathon gaming sessions. I can’t nurture a civilization to greatness, constructing cultural monuments to stand the test of time, and laying waste to my enemies, as time marches on into the wee small hours or until my eyes are bleeding. I can’t find the time to guide another lower league bunch of no hopers into the top flight and develop a generation of wonder kids into the next European champions. I definitely can’t scream a torrent of expletives as I tear a bunch of digital avatars representing strangers around the world into bloody bits of flying limbs and guts.

The sum total of my gaming in the last month consists of Nimble Bit on my phone (which is awesome btw, review forthcoming), watching my son play Ant Smasher (exactly what it sounds like), and a frustrating multiplayer game of Little Big Planet in which my son repeatedly finds interesting ways to get stuck in the scenery and then shouts at me to come back, “Come back!” over and over until I turn it off explaining that the PS3 needs a rest now because it’s tired.

It’s not that you can’t play a game with a four year-old; it’s just that they really suck at games, and I’m the world’s worst back seat gamer. I can watch ineptitude for about 3.2 seconds before I have to snatch the controller away and show how things are done properly. I also enter into a kind of fugue state when I’m gaming which is not compatible with parenting. This involves crossing the finishing line in first which temporarily breaks the spell long enough for me to turn around and find my baby eating a box of hankies.

Lack of sleep also tends to turn everything into a horribly frustrating trial. What was once an addictive, fun challenge is now no longer so appealing. When I get a rare calm moment I like to lie motionless while television’s warm glow washes over me. The thought of playing that game I really should go back to has somehow made its way into the chore pile in my head and is now labeled “to be avoided”.

I know this will change as my kids grow older and get better at games. I’m hungrily anticipating the day when they develop enough skill to make it really fun beating them. As they grow older still I may find the time for those long gaming sessions once again. I can’t help feeling our generation will be the first to really enjoy retirement. Forget about gardening or golf, as long as my mental faculties are still sharp enough for Civ I’ll have no trouble filling the days.

Parenthood is not the end of gaming, but it is causing a temporary break. I’ll try to do better, but it might be more realistic if I sign off by saying, see you when they start school.


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About Simon Hill

I'm addicted to gaming and have been since I was a wee boy. Worked in the industry as a tester, designer and producer. I'm now a full time freelance writer and editor.