I’m at a point in my life where time is of the essence. Dad of two, fiancé, household cook to name a few and all while working a full-time job – it certainly keeps me on my toes. I’m lucky to get a couple of hours to myself, cue the worlds smallest violin. Yet when I look in the mirror all I see is that 14 year old version of myself, albeit the hair on the top of my head is slowly moving toward my chins, who’s only care in the world is getting home from school and finishing Final Fantasy 7. This is my dilemma, just how do I find time to get my gaming fix and be a grown up.
In an average week my PlayStation 4 and Xbox one will barely get a look in, they just sit dormant living in the hope of being powered up. Hell the most use they get is when my ten month old decides it’s fun to eject the disc that I have lazily left in the tray. My bedside draw has become a resting place for handhelds, RIP PSVita. Much like the elephant graveyard in Lion King it’s that shadowy place which we must not go near.
Just over a year ago I decided to pre-order the Nintendo Switch with Zelda breath of the wild in a final hurrah to my gaming days. I wasn’t entirely convinced looking at the previews but there was definitely something about the Switch that grabbed my interest. After missing out on a NES mini previously I didn’t want to fall into that trap again, especially with the recent trend of scalpers hiking up prices. To my surprise I was really impressed with the Switch and so it joined the family. Zelda was a massive breath of fresh air, yes it is basically four divine beasts and a final boss but the journey is what really makes it special. The Switch allowed me to have that home console experience from the comfort of my bed once the family was sorted for the day. 120 hours flew by and I found myself going back to continue exploring the beautiful world Nintendo had created even before the any of the DLC was released.
A year on and my Switch collection is 10 physical carts strong with as many digital downloads. The most surprising thing is that they are all great games and I’m ok with Nintendo repackaging Wii U titles because we all pretty much missed out on those. All in all I have easily clocked up 500+ hours on the Switch with the likes of Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Mario Kart. My one true hobby is well and truly back and in an achievable format.
Recently to my utter delight my eldest son, now 4, is showing interest in gaming which gives me the opportunity to share all of those great experiences I have had over the years with him. I feel a kind of debt to the developers to make sure this is done right though, starting him off with some of the all time classics. Sonic the hedgehog 2 and Banjo are his current favourites, he may not be great but we all have to start somewhere.
My collection of games to play is still growing rapidly. Many of which will never fulfill their destiny in life and grace my console but I’m ok with this. The collection alone is part and parcel of what I’m becoming as a gamer dad and will ensure that my boys have the greatest library of games to play.
This is the first time in years that I have had the drive to put down in words what being a gamer means to me. I now understand the reflection looking back at me.