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Balancing parenthood responsibility and gametime

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I have a 2 and a half year old son. Suffice to say this reduces my ability to be a gamer. In fact, until a few months ago, I hadn't logged any appreciable hours playing games on anything.
I am also a long-time gamer. I got my first computer, a Commodore VIC-20, in 1985 when I was 4. I programmed my first algorithm when I was 5 on my brother's Commodore 64. I broke my first computer when I was about 11 (tried to upgrade a 486SX/33 with one of those add-on turbo chips...). I owned all the 'loser consoles'. I had a NEW Atari 2600 when everyone else had an NES. I had a TurboGrafx 16 when everyone else had an SNES or Genesis. I had a TurboDuo and a TurboExpress... I imported a Japanese Saturn a year before it launched in the US and I had the awesome NeoGeo add-on card for it. I also imported a Sega Dreamcast from Japan... I was the North East Regional champion of King of Fighters 94, 95, 96 and 98. I was a #1 ranked Mech Warrior 2 and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter pilot. I was playing games online when you had to dial into a local BBS and play on a MUD like Legend of the Red Dragon. I've lost countless hours of sleep to video games.

Then, one day, I apparently grew up... I got married, bought a house and had a kid. Suddenly, game time disappeared. I would be lucky to get 1 hour of gaming a month.

I didn't realize how much I missed until I realized that I was watching youtube videos of people playing games.

Now, I'm not saying I would rather be playing games than raising my kid... but there's a certain something about having a little ME time.

I'm able to get my kid to sleep and in his own bed now at a reasonable time. I'm able to spend some time with my wife and watch a little TV. And now I've got my own office in the house with my desktop and Xbox hooked up to it. It's very liberating to be able to find even an hour to get some gaming in and release some stress.

However, there's a certain something that has happened with games that puts me at a huge disadvantage due to my schedule: unlocks. I'm consistently raped by people who have better weapons, better equipment and just more skilltime than I'm able to provide. I used to look down on people who would spend money to get unlocks, but I'm starting to understand why now... sometimes you need to pay to be competitive.

Luckily, before I had my kid, I found Texas Team Players for BF2. This was great because I was able to be supported by team-focused players rather than 'stat padders'. Now that BF3 is out, I'm lucky to have a place to spend those few hours a week. Despite all my friends playing BF3 on Xbox, I stuck to my guns and went PC (because I can't use a game controller worth a damn in an FPS, and those keyboard/mouse adapters aren't cheap).

Thank god for you guys, because without TPG and their BF3 server with TeamSpeak... I think I'd have just returned it and gotten the Xbox version.

So, here's to small amounts of time spent with people I hardly know... getting the shit blown out of me by guys who have unlocked the USAS12 with Frag rounds less than a month into the game.

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Video Games , Life , Real Life


    Mango_Attack's Avatar
    Amen. Unlocks are a bitch and I think it's a bit ridiculous the disadvantage some people are at. Considering the amount of time I have personally put into the game, I think the margin between fully unlocked and nothing unlocked is just outrageous. I'm barely rank 30, but I've put in over a day of playtime since its release. I also think vehicle unlocks are a little over the top. I'm probably not going to play with a jet enough to even unlock its potential to be worth the time. I suppose the idea is that you get more out of your game if you're constantly receiving new unlocks, but this shit is idiotic if people are falling behind the curve because they don't have the time to invest over a third of their life into a video game. (see: TeamPlayer Gaming - Players) In case you were wondering, we spend roughly one third of our life sleeping.
    Chapel's Avatar
    Last night I spent my two hours on a 1000 ticket Metro Server and just lobbed grenades down a hallway, trying to get my experience up so I could have some more weapons to unlock. It worked, but it was more of a grind than a game. I went from 29 kills with the M320 to 75.
    It was 'entertaining' but not terribly enjoyable. But now I've at least got the M249 for my Support character.
    maximusboomus's Avatar
    I hear you Chapel, but think of it this way: BF3 will last you allot longer so you wont need to buy more games! I reserve Monday evenings and Thursdays for gaming, (Although recently I've played a ton more due to my Wife being so tired with work). My Daughter falls asleep at 7:30PM, I make sure not to game when shes awake and running wild like some homunculus on kiddy crack.
    RagunCajun's Avatar
    Hello Chapel,

    Interesting to learn you are an old MW 2 player. I too was a player of the Mechwarrior series back in the day. Started with Netmech 95, and went through the long lineage of next versions too.

    I played in a Merc unit on the old (defunct) Kali servers, and our little clan did a lot of competition games too.

    I am also a father of a young son (5 years old), and it is tough sometimes to make that balance. I fear I do not do it as well as I ought, but my son doesn't mind, he watches and cheers me on.

    Cya in game

    Chapel's Avatar
    I don't get home until 730PM, so my kid doesn't go to bed until like 830ish. I also don't like to play games while my kid is awake because I don't think he's old enough to understand 'virtual violence' and I don't really want him seeing it either.

    I haven't logged a single hour of gaming this week. I've been busy catching up on TV with my wife and setting up my new home network (finally on 802.11n with WPA2 throughout. Formerly had a single 802.11g WPA device that was bringing the whole network into chaos)

    I have a holiday party tonight and I'm going to the Bruins tomorrow, so I'm now SO far behind others. The thing I don't get is that most people are already fully unlocked Colonels... so now what do they do?
    Chapel's Avatar
    My Mech Warrior 2 and Mech Warrior Mercenaries clan was called Rooker's Riders. We were tops in our league. I honestly can't recall the details of it all because soon after that I started a serious X-Wing vs TIE Fighter run with the Last Star Fighters League. There were days where I'd start an XvT campaign at like 3pm and not end until 4am...
    It was a full time thing that went beyond the game. There was fanfic for your character, constant IRC chats, league voting, inter-league campaigns, league vs league campaigns... it was insane.
    RagunCajun's Avatar
    I was in a Merc unit named "Drakes Guard" and used the callsign "Arne Muerto". We played thru the MEch series up and until Microsoft destroyed the franchise.