One Does not simply play video games for 30 minutes

Gaming For Busy Parents – How to Fit Gaming Into Your Busy Schedual

Babies are amazing! Being sleep deprived with a puke stain on your shoulder, and a baby finally sleeping after hours of bouncing and cooing, you’re probably not agreeing. But while your little frogger naps in his sleeper, you’re trying to figure out how the hell to get back into gaming.

You’re not someone who can get their gaming fix by just playing Candy Crush, Slotomania, Flappy Bird etc.

It’s tough, when you grow up, get married, and start a family. We have to accept sacrificing many of the things we did for fun as young adults. One of the many things sacrificed, and often not picked up again, is video games. It’s just hard to justify it when you lead such a busy life full of responsibilities, and errands. Especially when it’s often seen as a childish hobby by many coworkers (I think this view is slowly dying, but for some workplaces it’s still very real).

This article isn’t meant to bring you back to gaming, at least, not in the way you use to. I’m assuming anyone reading this, is someone who used to be an avid or even hardcore gamer for the better part of their lives before “settling down”. You’re not someone who can get their gaming fix by just playing Candy Crush, Slotomania, Flappy Bird etc. I’m also guessing that the above picture’s statement strikes a chord with you, and this is probably exactly why you can’t fit gaming into your busy schedule.

You CAN game for 30 minutes at a time, and I’m going to give you some tips as to how!

Unfortunately you’re going to have to cope with making some changes in your choice games. No, don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that you can fit gaming into your day by playing Bejeweled or any other free-to-play on Facebook. There are many ways to get the most out of your 30 minutes, so let’s look at them.

First of all, you’re going to have to change the difficulty settings! I can see the cringing faces already! I know, it’s not easy to boot up a game for the first time, and shamefully put that courser over “pussy”. But if you want to really get the feeling of progression in a game in only 30 minutes, you’ll have to settle for at least normal, if not less. Sorry.

I myself have taken the belly shot to my ego, and started playing new games on easy. It’s allowed me to actually beat AAA titles, even if it does take me a lot longer than my childless friends.

The next step, and this is a big one for people like me, is to stop trying to 100% games. You’re a dad, or a mom now, and simply are going to have to settle for just completing the game. Skip the side quests, don’t check corners, don’t talk to EVERY NPC, don’t customize your avatar, and don’t waist time grinding! Grinding actually brings me to my next point.

 

Grinding in a final fantasy game was never fun

Games that require absurd amounts of grinding are going to have to get booted off your “to play” list.

 It saddens me to say, but I just can’t burden myself with an epic RPG, that not only requires a significant investment in the story line, but also WAY too much time leveling up shit, just so I can get to the next part.

 As much as I love FF7, I just don’t enjoy running up and down a beach battling giant worms ’till I master all my Materia, for hours. It’s the rest of the game that I enjoy!

 Grinding is just a way of making the game feel longer without giving you actual game play.This is the next important tip to keep in mind when deciding what games you play.

 How much time, on average, in a 30 minute session, do you actually spend playing the game. Answering this question will pretty much eliminate most RPG’s, and any other game that features long cut scenes, and plenty of dialogue.

You want to make sure that the game you sit down to play, get’s to actual game play fairly quickly. You also want the option for skip-able cut scenes.

“Don’t rule out FPS’s completely, as they can be great for pick-up-and-go gaming when your kids are asleep.”

Ask yourself if the game can be paused, and at what times? This is huge, because if you have a new born, you need to be able to pause at anytime.

Unfortunately this is why many FPS’s get dropped when we have kids. COD sounds ideal to most of the criteria, but considering most of us primarily use games like Halo, BF, and TF2, for the online play, this means every time our family needs us, we’re pretty much surrendering the current match.

Don’t rule out FPS’s completely, as they can be great for pick-up-and-go gaming when your kids are asleep. Just know that “pause-ability”, so to speak, is what can extend that 30 minute session to an hour or more. The wife (or hubby) will nag less if you can just pause at any second, jump off the couch and attend to what needs tended to.

So what games are out there that fit these criteria, AND doesn’t make me feel like a “casual gamer”, you might ask? Well for starters, many AAA titles are still going to be okay. You’re just going to have to stick to playing through campaigns more often, and usually ditch the multiplayer.

Mario Bros.

Playing the classics.

You will quickly find that many classics fit all the criteria for a pick-up-and-go game, and this is why I’ve transitioned into playing more retro titles myself. If you happen to have an old Sega, or Nintendo in the basement, bust it out! Or if you have a Wii or WiiU go on the store and download Mario Bros!

Not only will you get a game that is all game play, pause-able, quick to pick up, and a ton of fun, you’ll also get a Big-Gulp of nostalgia too! Drink it!

Only the beginning.

This is the beginning of a series, where I explore great games in search of titles that are suitable for busy parents who used to be avid gamers. I’ve already found many games that work great for my life, and I’d like to share them with all of you! Until then,

Cheers!

~Dan


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