I used to be all about the challenge. Back in the day, when defeating Mike Tyson was considered a lofty accomplishment, I conquered that beast and wore my victory like a badge of honor. Braving through Mega Man 2 and defeating Dr. Wiley encouraged me to give myself a well-deserved pat on the back. I made it a personal goal to get through both Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden 2. The same with the original Devil May Cry 3. These were some of the toughest games around, and defeated them. At this point though, I’m not sure if I could do it anymore. Why? Because I got married.
Take a game like Dark Souls, for instance. Very good action RPG with a bruising difficulty level. Many moons ago, I would have stayed awake many a night until that game was complete. To this day, I have yet to beat that game. My gaming tastes are still the same. I still play a lot of the things that I used to. The challenge of getting through them will always be enticing. However, I just really don’t have the time anymore.
I’m married. I have kids. I can’t stay up all night playing Call of Duty. The wife and kids need my attention in the afternoon, and I gotta get up early for work in morning. I guess I also won’t be playing through Bloodborne today, because my 1 year old doesn’t need to see things like demons and bloodshed on the TV, no matter how awesome the game is. Times have changed. I’ve got responsibilities, man, and with those responsibilities comes a need to change up some of those gaming habits. I know there are other men and women out there that have struggled to make the transition from gamer to married gamer. Fear not: I am here to help. Here are some tips for surviving the transition and keeping your gaming life relevant.
Survival Tip 1: Play more games that others will want to play
Time to put Call of Duty aside for a bit and play something that everyone will enjoy. Games like Smash Bros and Just Dance can be good for get-togethers with friends, while games like Disney Infinity can be great family-friendly choices to get your kids into gaming. If you have a backlog of older console games, you can relieve some of that past wonder with your young ones, as a lot were pretty kid friendly back in the day. More recent story driven games like Until Dawn can be good to sit through with the husband or wife when the kids are asleep. The point is, there is usually something available for everyone, and thinking of others may be the best way to get some regular gaming in even if the game is not always something in your top 10 favorites.
Survival Tip 2: Play on Easy
These days, the time needed to conquer higher difficulties and challenges requires a commitment that you may not be able manage anymore. It might be time to swallow your pride and go the easy route this time. Playing a game on easy will help you get through it quicker, and can be especially important if you are really interested in the story and are short on time. Maybe sometime later you’ll have more time that you can devote to hard mode if you really want, but for now, just get through it, because little Timmy needs a diaper change.
Survival Tip 3: Get Into Portable Gaming
It is very possible that your gaming console is tied up to the family/living room. This means lots of sharing, because the TV will rarely be available to you until everyone has gone to bed (and so should you). Having a portable console, like the 3ds or Vita, might be a good option while you wait for your TV to become free. A lot of portable games may lack the graphics and options of console games, but many are just as good, especially RPGs. Plus, if you have long commutes to and from work, or long lunch breaks, you can pull out your handheld and pick up where you left off. Portable gaming makes finding time a lot easier, and with cell phones being viable options as well, you’ll always have some gaming on the go.
Survival Tip 4: Buy Less Games
Seriously, stop buying 2-3 games every month. First of all, you save yourself a little bit of extra cash if you aren’t buying every new release. Second, your married life full of responsibilities doesn’t allow for heavy gaming time anymore (we’ve already established this). Even less so if you have kids. So, why buy a bunch of games that you may not be able to truly play until months later? Take your time, finish what you have, and by the time you’ve finished up some of the backlog, the other stuff you wanted will probably be cheaper. See, it pays to be patient.
Survival tip 5: Get An Extra Console
Family using up your console in the living room? Got an extra room and some cash to burn? It might be a good time to get another console. Yeah, this probably the most expensive option to take, but if you actually have the time (and money) to do some gaming, and space is available, this can be a good route to take. The rest of the family can watch Frozen for the 1000th time while you chill out in your own personal space for a bit and play Rainbow Six with your buddies. Boom. Everybody wins. Of course, you may want to talk with the wife/husband first before splurging on a 2nd Xbox. Which brings up the last point…
Survival Tip 6: Be Prepared to Negotiate
Just in case all of those other tips aren’t to your liking, using the powers of negotiation may be the ultimate tactic. Be warned: this step will probably bring the most success, but not without significant cost. Having your Saturday gaming night with your clan may require you to sacrifice Friday nights watching the kids, participating in a reading club, or having couples night with your significant other’s annoying friends. Do you think you can do it? How much are you willing to give up?