Gaming While Holding my Toddler

My little guy is 15 months old now, and there’s nothing he likes better than hanging out with Mommy. All. The. Time. Keeping my mental health up is just as important to me as taking care of my son is, because if I can’t function like a human being, I’m of no use to either of us. So sometimes I try to get a little gaming in at my desk (we’re talking 15-20m spurts usually) and I’ve had to get creative with how I play – and what I play.

See, my little one may WANT to be sitting there with me, but he doesn’t actually. What he wants is to wiggle around and get into everything. He is pretty much never still. I have to use one hand to hold him steady so he doesn’t go tumbling to the floor, leaving one hand free for gaming (typically on the mouse, if I’m within range of the keyboard the kid is going to eat it, bash it, or want to throw it).

That’s why I’ve taken to playing games like RimWorld, where things are fairly automated and require little interaction from me – I can also play it easily with one hand on my mouse.

A friend of mine mentioned that Hearthstone just came out with their latest update – a solo dungeon. The best part about this is that you’re not timed, so if you have to randomly AFK to say, pry a lemon leaf out of your kids mouth before they swallow it, you won’t lose your game. Games like this are absolutely perfect for me, they require only one hand to pick my cards, and I don’t have to give it my full complete attention. Lets face it, there’s only so much of me to go around. I’ve beaten three of the eight dungeon bosses so far, and it’s quite fun. I’m not particularly good at Hearthstone though, I love playing card games and I hate organizing or creating decks (and I know absolutely nothing about how to produce a game winning deck). Still, it passes the time.

Gwent is another card game I’ve been playing in a solo method – but you’re still timed there, so it’s not perfect. Cities: Skylines was another game brought up, but I find I need to interact with that one quite a bit, especially if the city isn’t very well established. Sims 4 was one I was attempting, but again there’s quite a bit of interaction required for that one.

I know that all of these stages right now are short phases in the grand scheme of things, and eventually I’ll be able to game with both hands again, but in the meantime, if you have suggestions for me please feel free to comment below! I think Civilization may be another one that I could potentially give a go, I played when llama bean was first born and then stepped away because there are just so many games out there.

Our kids are important, but again, if we cannot function or take a minute or two to ourselves here and there, we’re of no use to them. It’s important to take care of ourselves, and for me, that means squeezing in some gaming here and there so I can remember that I’m more than just a parent.


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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like you need mouse-controlled, singleplayer turn-based or pausable games.

    Anything in the Civilization type genre might work (e.g. Endless Legends, Fallen Enchantress if you like fantasy, Civ for contemporary historical/modern, etc.) but the one drawback is you’re probably going to have to be ok with a long drawn out campaign playing in 15-20 min spurts.

    Another possibility is point and click adventures – the recent remasters of old LucasArts games or anything from Wadjet Eye, or even the Sam and Max Hit the Road series if you haven’t tried them. Those are pausable at will, and you can still sorta kinda “play” them by thinking of puzzle solutions when not sitting at your computer.

    Yet another possibility are the idle clicker genre of games – I’m partial to Crusaders of the Lost Idols myself but there are lots of other popular ones out there. You just need to check in on them every so often, level up characters and skills, arrange a few things here and there, and then the game plays by itself until the next time you’re available to monitor its progress and make strategic decisions on what to do next.

    Hmm, that also reminds me of time-based browser games like Kingdom of Loathing or Fallen London if you want more interaction than a clicker. You use up a few turns clicking through stuff quickly, and then waiting for turns to build up is built into the game itself.

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