Yes, I am father of the year

Yes, I am father of the year

27 July 2012 | 1:34 pm

At times, being a parent can really get in the way of some of the important things in life… like Diablo 3.

Can anyone else remember the first time they played a video game? For me, it was 1982, and I was at Ray Loveridge’s house on the way to school. That particular day he had a brand new Atari 2600 console. Twenty minutes of River Raid later and I was hooked.

I’ve remained hooked to gaming for the past 30 years. I don’t know why I haven’t outgrown it, to be honest. Plenty of people seem to, and I have spent time in the past feeling somewhat guilty because I still enjoy it so much. But to me, it remains as fun as it did all those years ago.

So why get into all this? Because a little over a year ago I became a father, and found that being a gamer and a dad is a rather challenging act.

Gaming can be quite a time sink, and unfortunately when you let the world know that you and your wife are expecting, you don’t hear people say something like, “Having a baby has freed up so much spare time!” In fact, one of the great disappointments about parenthood is that just about every tired cliché is true.

My child is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. But I’m still the same person I was before my son was born. Being a dad doesn’t make me forget all the things I liked doing beforehand. Most of the time, the best part of my day is coming home to my family and pitching in with the million daily chores that need doing when bringing up a one-year-old. But there are times I could quite happily lock my son in his room and spend the entire evening playing World of Warcraft instead.

There are even times when I’m with my son, normally when the complex negotiations around dinner and bedtime are underway, when I would prefer to be gaming. I have tried to merge the two together, with mixed results. When my son was about two months old, I was babysitting him while my wife had an hour of well-deserved freedom. Newbie Daddy thought it wouldn’t be a problem to play the latest Mortal Kombat on the 360, with my son next to me in his bouncer. It wasn’t long before my character performed the first fatality in the game by ripping his opponent’s skull and spine out of his back. It was then I glanced over and realised he was staring at the screen. Feeling more than a little guilty, and envisaging my son in years of therapy, I somewhat sheepishly stopped.

The odd hiccup aside, a year later I’m relieved to find that gaming is still a part of my life, and that I have an understanding wife and a wonderful son. But I’m also glad that he has grandparents who were happy to take him for a few days when Diablo 3 came out…

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