I am the Nintendo generation; I am the kid who started playing games in the arcades and grew with each new console. As I grew older Mario went from a handful of pixels to a well defined 3D character. I shot ducks will a hand gun and tried to shoot that stupid dog as it snickered at me when I missed. My parents weren’t gamers but they somehow they willingly supported my childhood addiction. I wasn’t defined by my games though; I played outside, played baseball, and the things of a normal kid. I can probably contribute that to the fact I had a little brother. It just was never the same when I had to take turns playing a game, which was always a good time to go outside and play. But gaming had an early foot hold in my life and it grew roots.
I can say that somehow I missed a lot of the so called cult classics that really demanded attention like the Final Fantasy and Zelda. Looking back now and understanding what those games meant to other people, I guess really was only a casual gamer. But there is no doubt about it though; I was a gamer as a child, birthday parties of gaming and all.
But now I am an adult, no, now I am a dad, a father, a provider for my wife and children… and yet also a gamer. Today’s gaming is a completely different animal; with games like Skyrim, Minecraft, and Destiny requiring a huge investments of time. Then when you add the online requirements, the only way to succeed and enjoy the success of a game is to invest large quantities of time and energy. For a while there I had started playing online competitively on Halo 4. For those who don’t know Halo is a first person shooter. It’s pretty basic, red team against blue team or everyone shoots everyone else. To say that I play well at this would be a pretty good accounting of my skill. On the average I finished top three of the standings every time, but this was in singles matches. That meant me against everyone else. Where the fun and entertainment value is playing games like Halo is team play. The entertainment value is so high that there are currently tournament that pay millions of dollars to the winning team. But in order to be part of that I would have to invest time and energy into playing with other people on a regular basis.
So before I was married this was an easy call. In fact I would say gaming probably kept me out of trouble a time or two, instead of going out drinking I made the call to stay in and beat up on some people. But now that I am married and have children it’s not an easy call. During the week when I get home from work its dinner, then an hour with the kids before they are off to bed, and then its choice time. The choice is do I spend the small amount of time prior to bed with my wife or with random strangers spread across the country. The weekends bare no better option either. In our house we try to stray away from letting the kids watch too much violence, including daddy’s video games. So that in its self limits my available time. But even then it becomes a choice to play with the kids or play a video game.
Some of you are saying well that’s an easy choice, a father always picks his children. To that I say, ba hum bug. As a father I can honestly say that there were days that I choose the selfish option, that I choose to feed my own addiction rather than spend time with my children.
So where does that leave me now? Where does it leave a dad that wants only the best for his kids, only the best for his wife, and wants to play some video games too?
It leaves me making the right choices now. It leaves me knowing that sometimes I am going to have to give up my selfish wants for the needs of my family. My wife needs some time with her husband and my children need their father’s attention. Have I given up on gaming, NO! I just made myself more aware of those around me. Now I choose mostly single player games that I can pause or coming back to later and now when I need some multiplayer action, I ask my sons to step in and play.
So is becoming a parent game over for a gamer? No, but being a good father and strong husband is worth far more points and the prize is even more amazing.
The choice between a game and marriage is an easy one…. Choose right.
How do you make time for gaming? Did you give up gaming for family? What are games that can’t be played in your house? Comment and Share
Its Dangerous to go alone, Take this.