Can gaming and kids co-exist?

A lot of people I know have become parents this year, and life certainly changes dramatically when you have a child.

Whether you like it or not, you have to make a lot of changes to accommodate your new addition to the family, and that often includes giving up a lot of your favorite past-times. (This is why I often joke to new parents, “Life as you know it has ended” when there’s the pitter patter of little feet around the house).

I’m bringing all this up because the following headline caught my attention: “If you have kids, you can forget about playing games.”

And indeed, I often wondered how much having a kid can affect your gaming schedule, if not completely wipe it off the table. As Dan Robson of CVG  notes, he found he could indeed forget about playing games whenever he wants now that he’s got a daughter.

Referring to the Lollipop Chainsaw game, which went live the day Robson’s daughter was born, he writes, “Slashing at zombies on the big screen at home, just for fun? That was the first thing to go.”

Playing games at night after everyone else is asleep was all right, but he has to be up and awake when the baby’s crying at 6 in the morning, and steal sleep wherever he can “Would I really give up one of those hours [of sleep] to make a tiny bit of progress in Mass Effect 3?” he asked rhetorically.

At the same time, if you have insomnia from getting up in the middle of the night to be there for your child, games could be a good way to whittle away the late hours as well if you can’t get back to sleep yourself.

Robson mentioned that with his little PlayStation Vita he can play games while commuting to work with “Vita’s luxurious screen and comfortable dual thumbsticks [that] make it feel as good as on a real console.” He’s also looking forward to when his daughter’s able to play games along with him. 

I’m not exactly sure when it’s an appropriate age for kids to start playing with games, they’re sure to start playing around with the joystick at an early age, just to whack it around. Forget playing a game, at an early age just smacking it around can keep a kid amused for hours, like popping bubblewrap. 

While Robson can’t play games whenever he wants anymore, he does feel he’ll be playing games with his daughter when she grows up a bit. He also feels gaming will be a positive influence with his daughter: “I know, first hand, that games cannot corrupt a child’s mind.”

And for those who suffered a generation gap back in the 80’s with gaming, imagine how cool it would have been if your parents liked games, and made family time around the console? One of Robson’s friend was warned to keep his daughter away from games because kids can easily get to the point where they’ll want to play 24 hours a day, but in this case, having a family that can play games and enjoy it together could be a very positive thing.