In my gaming prime, I would complete computer games within the first few days or so of purchasing them. Now as a parent of two, I have found it takes me at least a year and a half!
Atari to Commodore Amiga, Master System to Super NES, Game Cube to PC, Xbox to PlayStation; growing up I played them all as my brother & I’s love for gaming evolved, nearly as frequently as the release of new consoles in the 1980’s & 90’s!
After leaving home in 2000, my consoles moved with me and nights staying up late with housemates playing GTA, COD, FIFA, PES, Assassins Creed & Tiger Woods were a common occurrence & a highlight of my youth.
No surprises however, that as soon as I grew into my mid 20’s, life & responsibilities began to take over and by the time I became a parent in my thirties, my time for gaming became minimal, eventually non existent.
Then, the lockdown happened!
As I’m sure some of you may be able to relate, this allowed me to dust down my PS4 to rediscover my passion for gaming, as I reached for the console to escape from the limitations & intensity, a global pandemic caused.
With working & home schooling ever present in the house, adding to our boy growing at an ever increasing rate as he transitions from baby to toddler, the control pad became a great way to fill the creative, strategic void I craved, as well as an escapism from the stresses of life.
Now I am not saying I turned to the console for hours of endless game-play like I did in my misspent youth.
The days of purchasing a game, only to complete it within a day or two later, to then revisit the store for a trade in are long gone.
However, I have enjoyed recapturing the essence of a game and the escapism that reverting back into casual gaming has brought. I was also surprised by the sense of achievement I gained through the 100% completion of Marvel Spider-Man, much to the mockery of my pupils, whom tell me they completed their version of the game in under 3 days, where it took me 18 months!
I also took pleasure in the fact, that I was able to have some self control over my game-play and that I was not allowing myself to be consumed for long duration’s, which is a concern for today’s parents, over how much time children can spend playing ‘today’s’ games.
That’s an article for another day!
On average, I get to squeeze in at least an hour of game-play a week.
This does mean I pace myself gently as I progress through one mission at a time on any one game per play. And where it used to take me 18 hours to complete a game, it now takes me 18 months, as I now allow myself to get immersed in the virtual worlds, that are far more expansive than the games I ever played through the 80’s-90’s-00’s.
As I questioned whether my reinvestment into gaming again, was the start of my midlife crisis or whether I was wasting my time with such a guilty pleasure, I came across some articles that gave me reassurance.
Dr Pete Etchells recently wrote in BBC Science Magazine:
“Far from being a meaningless waste of time, or lower form of entertainment, games, as we have come to realise, offer us an unparalleled creative experience. They allow us to forge new worlds and new friendships, explore complex concepts like loss, sorrow and love, and get lost travelling in far-off lands – all from the comfort and safety of our own homes.
Despite everything we’ve been through, for many there’s still a lingering sentiment that playing video games is a guilty pleasure – especially so if you’re a grown up. But play is one of the most fundamentally important activities that we can take part in.It’s not just the preserve of childhood, and as we continue to live life in lockdown, finding new ways to play – and not feeling guilty about them – is one of the best things that we can do to nurture our own wellbeing.”
You can read the full article @https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.sciencefocus.com/comment/dont-feel-guilty-about-playing-video-games-during-lockdown/amp/
So gaming after all, can nurture our own wellbeing as we fulfil new adventures to escape the pressures of the real world, while reconnecting with friends online.
And apparently there are many more benefits to this pastime!
For instance did you know, that gaming supposedly can increase your manual dexterity as well as increase your brains gray matter!
I came across this article which lists 9 benefits of gaming for both kids & adults via Geico.com @
I have been back to work now for a good few months and have maintained embracing the hobby of gaming; enjoying the escape in the process!
It has also given me a new way to connect with friends that have also rediscovered an old passion, as we play co-operatives and exchange tips & opinions.
So if your considering bringing a little bit of gaming back into your life, I would personally recommend it!
If you’ve found yourself questioning whether you should ‘grow up’ and felt guilty that you’ve turned to gaming often over this period, I would suggest don’t be too hard on yourself as many like you, also enjoy this as a recreational activity!
However, if your game-play is resulting in you spending hours in a virtual world, while neglecting your responsibilities in the real world & being in the present, then you may want to consider managing this better to take the benefits we have shared above.
I would love to hear your views about gaming as a parent!
Do you game frequently? Do you enjoy it?
Have you ever allowed gaming to become an addition?
What games are you currently playing?What’s your favourite retro game?
Or do you just consider this activity a complete waste of time?
For the record, I’m currently near completing Chapter 5 of the amazing Red Dead Redemption II.
And it’s only taken me 16 (sixteen) months!
Shane @ DMT
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