For the gaming parents

(BitCultures may receive a commission if you purchase some items in this article)

The Essentials

Becoming a parent can be a daunting proposition. Sure, there’s plenty of excitement. But there’s also a great deal of fear and uncertainty. Will I raise my child all right? Will my child be born without any complications? Will I have enough time to continue my gaming passion? The essentials, of course. 

My daughter hits the 18 month threshold during the first week of March, and I absolutely love being a father. There isn’t much more that I’d rather be. Still, gaming is not only a passion – it serves as a vocation, too. I’m a writer at heart, and BitCultures is my outlet. With all of that said, I thought I’d write a primer about my gaming setup and the things I find necessary to function as a parenting gamer.  

It needs to be said, however, that all children are not alike. I have the blessing of an agreeable daughter who sleeps fully through the night and takes 2-3 hours worth of naps. A fussy baby or one that refuses to nap would change some of what I may say. Do what works for you. Here are my daddy gaming essentials:

The Pregnant Months

As a father, it’s clearly much easier to function on a daily basis while waiting for your child. While my wife was pregnant, she required a lot of rest and checked out around 7:00 PM each night. We lost two pregnancies before Adelaide, so we wanted to make sure no outside forces could possibly cause any more problems as much as possible. During my wife’s nine months of pregnancy, my gaming schedule was relatively uninterrupted. My evening gaming consisted of a possible 3-5 hours if I chose to dedicate that time (since this is not my day job, I try to clock as close to a work day when able). 

Not much was required here outside of my normal habits. 

The First Year

Getting used to the daily trials and tribulations of raising a newborn can be tough. Whether it’s setting your alarm for every three hours during the night to make sure the baby is fed (in this case, my wife was maternity leave and chose to breastfeed, meaning I was delegated to diaper duty) or settling your crying child, the hours and effects on your physical and mental state is real. During the newborn months, I spent a lot of time making sure wife and baby were both happy and healthy, so my gaming time was, again, limited to evenings. This was okay; I still was able to get enough gaming in. 

As Adelaide continued to grow, my gaming world was able to expand. Through the early months, when I wasn’t actively playing with or holding Addy (and could keep her in front of me in her seat she often slept in), I could snag an hour or two of gaming. This, of course, was a sporadic period of time, but as she grew, so too did my time to play. With that said, the only piece I used during the first six months of fatherhood in this way was this baby/toddler chair:

The Napping Months

Once my precious Adelaide began napping regularly (starting at the end of this summer), regular gaming intervals began to arise. She typically napped for 45-90 minutes a session – between the times of 10-11 AM and again between 2-3PM. During those summer naps, I rocked a steady diet of – for the most part – MLB 19 The Show. Now, Addy takes one large nap that lasts 2-4 hours. She may go down at, say, 11:00 AM and not wake up until 2 or 3 PM. This has both been a blessing and a curse, as my attention span for long periods of gaming has diminished the longer away I’ve been from gaming marathons.

The Items

Nintendo Switch Lite

I’m not going to lie: I love my Switch Lite. I was sure that the handheld version of the Switch would be miserable. It had a smaller screen, and I haven’t been impressed with my regular Switch, anyway. Still, I hated using my Switch as a portable console; it was uncomfortable, and the battery died so often. After purchasing my new gaming laptop, I used my reward points to knock out about $50 of the Switch Lite price. My expectations were low, but I have to say that I’ve been blown away by the Lite. I’ve been playing through Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE on my Lite, and I’ve noticed a brighter screen and potentially faster load times. Add to that better buttons and a more comfortable hold, and you’ve got yourself a real replacement to the 3DS. 

I use my Switch Lite for those times when my wife and I are watching and playing with Addy. Addy is at the age now where she likes to play and explore on her own or cuddle with one of us. If she’s playing with my wife – we often take turns or play together – the ease of the Nintendo Switch Lite is wonderful. I can turn it on and off in a flash; it’s like my modern day Vita. I can always keep my eyes on Adelaide. I just hope it continues to build upon its already solid J/RPG foundation.

Zevia Zero Calorie Energy – Kola

I’ll be honest – my biggest vice in life is energy drinks. I like coffee, but nothing satisfies me like a good energy drink. I’m a fan of Mountain Dew Kickstarts (particularly the Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch flavors), but the cleanness of Zevia entices me. You can snag a 12 pack of 12 oz cans from Amazon for approximately $18, which makes it a competitive pricing for a stevia based product. It uses a cleaner caffeine and no artificial sweeteners, and it provides me with some of the best energy and focus of its competitors.

A Few Great Games

My evenings of gaming provide the widest window of uninterrupted gaming of my day. Once my wife and child go to bed (around 8-9 PM), I have the remainder of the evening to myself. Most recently, I blew through and platinumed both Control and DBZ: Kakarot. I’m currently working on the HD Remaster of Vanquish as well as a few embargoed reviews. Trails of Cold Steel III held me over for a really long time, too. 

A Dog

One of the best parts of my evening gaming sessions is my doggo, Gunner. He’s a Lab Retriever rescue, and, while he has severe anxiety due to his previous situation, he is an extremely loving, loyal, and intelligent pup. On a good night, he’ll snuggle in behind me and wrap his head around my back and onto my lap. This isn’t required, of course, but it’s something I look forward to at the end of a long day.