For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting, GamerDad is a site right up our personal alley; lots of insightful editorials, clever writers, and original points of view. Not precisely a site just about parentage, any more than we are a site about employment, their monicker is, like ours, a statement of perspective. With that in mind, it only seemed logical that we come together and introduce our respective communities to one another. To that end we have invited GamerDad's Dave Long - former Evil Avatar and Computer Games Magazine writer - to switch articles with us today. Which means my usual Maximum Verbosity can be found today on Gamerdad while we're proud to share here with you, Dave's Longshot.
If you haven't visited GamerDad before, I encourage you to add it to your daily cycle. But first, read on for Dave's thoughts.
Time is our enemy
Writing for GamerDad as well as Computer Games Magazine means I spend a lot of time playing console and computer games. On average, I probably spend three or more hours in front of a game each day. I'm a lucky man because I've been able to turn my favorite hobby into a way to make a few bucks on the side and net a few free games along the way too. The readers of sites like GamerDad and Gamers With Jobs usually don't have this luxury. Though I'm lucky enough to get some extra time to play because it's also a "job", the one thing that ties us together is the lack of time we have available to play games.
As a father of three small boys, a lot of my time between the hours of 8AM and 9PM is spent either at work or caring for my children. Before the Stork arrived, gaming time flowed like water from the faucet. I'd spend the requisite eight hours driving a desk or ringing up sales and when I got home, it was time to save the Earth from marauding aliens in X-Com or conquering it in Civilization II. I'd spend many of my weekday hours playing games, often til early morning. Being in front of the PC when 4AM rolled around was not uncommon. Life was good, or so I thought.
When the kids came along, gaming time was cut down. Especially in those first couple months after each birth and especially once there were two or three little ones, I just wasn't able to spend as much time playing as maybe I wanted to or at least had been able to before the crying began. It wasn't so bad that I left gaming behind or anything. But unless I was "working" on a game, I wasn't spending much extra time gaming. At 9PM if I was lucky I got to the PC and by 12AM I was nodding and bonking my head on the tube. Friends of mine that have been through the child rearing years often relate similar stories of toothpicks to hold open eyelids and Wile E. Coyote style tricks to keep them from falling asleep at the wheel of their 1967 Grand Prix car in Grand Prix Legends.
The thing is, work and to a lesser extend kids, are an inescapable part of life. Both things are important to me. Work because it pays the bills and keeps me from being a total waste to society and kids because they give me some hope for the future and well, I love having them around too. Games are just a diversion and losing that overlong period of daily self-indulgence was probably a good thing.
I appreciate games more today than I ever did before the kids came along. My daily game time is still usually spent between 9PM and 1AM on weekdays. Weekends I usually don't find a whole lot of time for gaming because of family obligations and the need to spend time with the little guys. But the runts are now also becoming a source for game time. As they've reached toddler and older, we spend a ton of time together in front of The Legend of Zelda or Super Smash Brothers Melee, often creating a lot of great memories along the way. Videogames have become an integral part of my family experience and I wouldn't have it any other way. Once again, that makes me appreciate the privilege of playing them even more despite the limited time available for gaming. Thankfully, the "work" reviewing and previewing games as well as writing this column continues so I can sometimes sneak in some extra time here and there as "work" requires. Heh.
One of the coolest things about gaming is the community that has sprung up around it. It forms smaller sub-groups of people that have like interests. GamerDad includes those folks that are still hardcore gamers but happen to have some kids at home. Through our reviews, we give you all the info you need as a hardcore gamer to decide if you should be running to the store to buy a game or should be burning all the copies they have on the shelf to save the uninformed. In addition to those hardcore reviews by published writers in print, we provide the bits that might be inappropriate for your kids so that gamerdads can decide if junior should be playing too. We're definitely not all about edutainment or Lego games. Far from it. We figure that maybe we can educate some of the less hardcore while at the same time reaching those folks that eat, sleep and drink games even if they don't have as much time for them as they used to.
And that's where those of us at both sites cross over. We're all strapped for time. We want to play games more often but maybe only get that couple hours or less a day to smack some bad guys around (or good guys if you're so inclined!) We also want to read words from and exchange ideas with like-minded folks. GamerDad and Gamers With Jobs provide the havens for these discussions. We're all finding a brief respite from the real world in a virtual one, however brief it might be.
--David J. Long