Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Co-Op Play: How New Moms Can Balance Gaming & Life

A decade ago, I wrote about how the first generation to grow up with video games was now grown up and starting to raise their own families. And while video games have become even more advanced,  more widespread, and more mainstream, the tension between day to day life and pursuing a hobby is still here. While women make up the largest majority of video game players, there are precious few guides or resources for new moms looking to balance gaming, and the double standard between men and women remains, as Keza McDonald writes for the Guardian:
[W]e don’t expect dads to give up all their hobbies and redirect their energies into sewing bunting or father-baby yoga. Mums shouldn’t have to either... During the first three months of my son’s life, playing video games was one of the only things I could realistically do for myself. They are relatively cheap and you don’t have to spend two hours trying to leave the house.
It’s hard to find the time, though, and this is about the only area of parenting where a cursory Google didn’t throw up 50 articles giving me totally conflicting advice on what I should be doing. So I thought I’d fill that gap.
One suggestion McDonald gives is to make sure the games you pick can be started and put down easily:
Say goodbye to online multiplayer games. Just accept that you are not going to be doing any four-hour Destiny raids at any point in the next year. Anything that requires you to turn up at a certain place, at a certain time, is out (FYI: this also applies to real life appointments). 
Any game you play now will need a pause button, and must not overly tax your tired brain. I found games with gentle, predictable rhythms extremely comforting, so I spent a lot of time with the fantasy farming game Stardew Valley in the middle of the night. I also rediscovered the space ship sim Faster Than Light on my iPad, and enjoyed zoning out with Amplitude, a trippy music game that I’d already spent about 100 hours mastering and could therefore play on autopilot.

Readers, do you have any tips to share on being a new mom and a gamer?

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