Sunday 19 May 2013

Gaming as a dad

There are certain life events that change how a gamer approaches the hobby, and I think many gamers nearing their 30s can look back at their gaming careers and identify a sort of ‘gamers lifecycle’.  The particulars may be different for each person, but you always end up a different gamer to how you started. My personal timeline goes something like this;

Myself Christmas 1996 with R-TYPE for
Sega Master System II
Starting when I was a kid I had almost all the time I could want to dedicate to the hobby (homework, chores, and social life permitting). If I found that I didn't like a particular game I had plenty of time to move onto something else. And as such I played anything and everything. RPGs, JRPGs, RTS, FPS, turn based, point-and-click, text adventure, platformers, fighting games, simulation.... We would trade games between friends, and going to someones house after school would often include breaking out a game console or a PC. The number of games I played was large. And 80+ hour RPGs stood among the favourite games in my collection.

As I moved onto university my approach to gaming changed. The demands of university meant that gaming took  back seat. Especially towards the end of my degree, opportunities for serious gaming  had to be squeezed between essays and assignments. I began to maximise my gaming by concentrating on the genres I enjoyed the most, but which also provided the most accessible 'pickup and play' gameplay. RTS and sandbox titles started to dominate my gaming time, while RPGs and turn based titles were played during intersemester and Christmas break. This is also the point where I got interested in retro gaming, as old sega master system and MSDOS titles were both accessible from a gameplay perspective, but also cheaply obtainable.

Leaving university and entering the workforce marked the next shift in my gaming career. With a full time job, a long time girlfriend (now fiancé), running a good home, a social life, and other projects and interests, the time that I can dedicate to gaming is limited to about 4-10 hours a week. RPGs have been dropped almost entirely from my gaming line up. Retro gaming is now a very large part of my gaming life. Games like Quake and Doom are regular go-to titles, and my collection of classic consoles and games it's getting large. Indie games have also become a big part of my gaming environment, both through Stream and Android. I still have a strong interest in current gaming however, and keep buying all the core titles that I want to be playing. As a result I have a massive back catalogue of unplayed titles in my collection.

In November I am going to become a father. It's an exciting time, and my life is set to change in ways that I can't even imagine. And inevitably my gaming career is also set to move into a new direction. And that is essentially what this blog is about - an account of how my gaming life integrates with my new family life. Is anyone on the internet interested in the topic? I don't know. Do I plan to monetise? No, not at the moment. This is a blog in the true sense of the term - a web log of my experience of gaming as a father. It it's also a place where I can post my thoughts of gaming in general, and a means for me to stay a part of a hobby and community which I have been a part of since I was a child.

 - Masarius

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