Gaming with Children: Monday is the best day of the week

, | Game diaries

I’m here to piss on your day. Not intentionally, mind you, but a dose of reality is in order here. You see, I was once like you, single. Or maybe you got a girlfriend who lives on the other side of town and you just whispered “I love you, miss you, wish you were here.” And you dream about the day you’ll have a girl of your choosing, married, ring on the finger and a couple little rugrats running around. Stop dreaming. Feel that? It’s raining and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Let me tell you what you won’t be doing when your dreams come true; joining in on a ten man raid, going up against another Riot inspired OP champ, saving Arkham City, exploring the Sword Coast, blasting every Zed in sight, doing something badass in Skyrim…you get the idea. Enjoy yourself now, because lemme tell you, when you’re finally old enough to get married and have a bunch of kids or two, it’s all over. It’s all over! I can not stress that enough.

So, I’m gonna take you through a week in the life of a gamer with a wife and children. For the first entry we’ll start with, hmmm…how ’bout Monday?

After the jump, reality beckons

Kids have a way of making everything take longer to do than it has too. They magically consume copious amounts of this abstract concept we call time. They don’t just brush their teeth, they’ve got to make faces in the mirror for five minutes. They don’t put their jackets on when it’s time to go somewhere, they have to root around their blackhole of a toy chest for a Barbie doll to take with them that has been missing in action for months. Married with children is oil in the water pot of gaming fun. I love being married. I love my kids. But boy can it be frustrating trying to meet their demands and still find a little smidgen of time to play a game. Gaming, for me, is how I relax after a stressful day. So, as an admitted gaming whore, I find a way to game. Addicts are like that.

Note: all names have been changed to protect the innocent. That would be me. Okay, not so innocent. The names have been changed to protect my marriage. The names of my kids have been changed to what I wanted to name them (when a woman has to deal with a kid growing inside their bellies for nine months, do not think for a second that you have much of a say). My oldest daughter, Magdelene, has started preschool. Abigail is the 14 month old apple of my eye (I guess you can see why I didn’t get to name any of my kids, but nicknames would have covered them).

And then there’s my wife, Wife, a.k.a. ball and chain, friend, thorn in my side, lover, word that rhymes with itch, sweety-pie…you get the idea. Sometimes it’s a love/hate kinda thing. Marriage isn’t easy, it’s something you have to work on, a lot. And if you’re smiling to yourself thinking, “It’s gonna be different for me. I won’t let it happen like that,” well all I can say is ignorance truly is bliss. Now you might wanna whip out your umbrella.


Monday is the best day of the week. No, seriously. When you finish reading the weekend entry, come back to read that first sentence, it’ll all make sense. Monday is my time to get back into gaming nirvana, the shackles of familia responsibility are loosened.

The morning starts out with me waking up a little later than I should, with a League of Legends hangover (which means staying up way too late, on a school night no less). I get my oldest daughter ready for school, than myself. I fly out the door and walk to the train station (I commute to New York City). On my walk today, I call my League O’ Legends (LoL) buddy, where we either bask in the glory of the previous night’s conquest on the Fields of Justice, or we try to strategize how to take down a fed Trynadere if we’ve lost.

My train time is almost exactly 40 minutes. My laptop’s battery lasts for 30-40 minutes, so I’m covered.

So I’ve settled into a comfy seat on the train. I have a work I.D. slung around my neck that has my train pass on one side. In this way when the conductor comes round asking for tickets, I can safely ignore them, as they see the ticket and move on. I don’t need to be disturbed mid-turn.

I grab my laptop out and boot her up. Now sometimes I use the time to write (either the novella I’m working on or an article like this), but that would really be all too productive. Instead I boot up Out of the Park Baseball today. I’m playing it single player with the actual 2010 season as the Yankees. Yeah, a season late, but I like to play each match in its entirety (just for my Yankees, the evil empire). I usually start off with a little scouting, trying to bring some depth to the bullpen, manage any DL entries, move a player up from AAA, the usual pre-game stuff. When I’ve finished canoodling, I hit the button that magically transforms my surroundings into a dugout and there I am, looking out at Yankee Stadium on a Saturday night.

I can just barely squeeze in two games within the 40 minute commute. Barely, I say, because as long as we’ve got 9 innings for each game, I’m good to go. Today, we’ve got extra innings, a.k.a. free baseball. Now this presents a problem. In the past, I simply put my laptop into sleep mode, only to have the battery die before I can get to work and plug it in, and the game is lost (no saving during a game).

SIDEBAR ALERT: Yeah, thanks buddy for not allowing me to save mid-game. This isn’t directed solely at OotP Baseball, but to a whole bunch of other games that do this. Again, I’m gaming on the go, I’ve got minutes here, minutes there. For me, the worst offender was Dawn of War 2’s campaign. Nothing like slogging your way through a poorly scripted map, but then you hit the end boss fight. These boss’ can be tough to kill, and if you lose your whole team, you’ve gotta start the whole map again. Talk about extra grindy. And when gaming on the go, you might as well not play at all. When you’ve got kids, you never know when you’ll have to suddenly set a game aside for a few hours before you can get back to it. I can not tell you how many of those maps I had to replay simply because I just didn’t have the time to finish.

So, I get off the train and find a quiet spot to sit and finish the game. Mind you, I’m not on the concourse level where people wait for their trains to be called, because there I’d fit right in. No, that would require me going up some crowded stairs with an open laptop, no thanks. I’m alone on a grungy train platform hoping A-Rod will homer in the twelfth. Thankfully this is New York City, no one gives anybody a bad look.

If I’ve won, I’m beaming with happiness among a bunch of grumpy New Yorkers who chug down coffee like mad while pushing their way onto the subway. All I’m doing is thinking over the game, of how Posada jacked one into the stands, how the rookie made that catch, the stealing, the bunts, the general good coaching job I’ve done (that’s why I like to play the games out, I love the drama on the ballfield). I ride the subway imagining myself at a post-game presser where I’m pleased with our performance, but try to appear humble by pointing out some things we didn’t do well that we’ve got to improve upon before the post season is upon us.

If I’ve lost, I’m one miserable fuck.

Work zips bye nice and sweet. I could game on my breaks, but Monday’s are reserved for balancing the financial budget that got shot to shit over the weekend. That’s how you spend some of your free time when you have a family, making sure all the pieces fit.

On the train ride home I sleep. I’ll need the rest for tonight’s battles.

After dinner I get the kitchen cleaned up and help the wife get the kids into bed. Now here is where things work in my favor. My wife has to get up before the crack of dawn for work, so she and the kids go down about eight thirty, way too early for me to go to bed and the wife knows this, so she’s cool with me staying up (I don’t have to hear about cuddle time and all that). At this point I recede to the den, all is quiet.

This is daddy time.

I’m home with an internet connection and there is only one game I will play for the next couple of hours — League of Legends. It’s a great player vs. player ‘defense of the ancients’ match up. This is one of the few multiplayer games I am good at. Okay, maybe the only one. I hook up with my buddy and we enter a 3v3 match. So we get a random player to round out the team and hope that he’s good. He’s not. Oh, well, can’t win ’em all. Let’s play another match and hope we get a better player. We don’t. Unfortunately, you always want to go to bed on a high note. I’ve lost 2 games in a row now because of these noobsauced noobies who don’t understand how to play there particular champion. So, even though it’s midnight, I push for one more game. My buddy bails on me, he needs his beauty sleep. Bitch. Another lose. Okay, just one more. And then one — oh, fuck it — tired of being the meat in a noob sandwich, I’m going to bed at 1:30 a.m. in the morning, lovely.

Up next: Tuesday…what the hell else did you expect?

J.P. Lucas works, pays bills, eats, and sleeps. He changes diapers. Lots of diapers. And he does whatever his wife tells him to do. It’s safer that way.