Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Is it possible to maintain a video game habit with a full-time job, a baby, and other hobbies? This is my post looking back on this after 21 months of life with a baby.


I wrote previously about how an infant affects video games and the result was that the effect wasn't massive. For a quick summary in case you don't click on the link:
  • I've enjoyed games since I can remember
  • I lean towards strategy, RPGs, and RTS but do enjoy others (Action, FPS, etc.)
  • Most games were still pretty easy to play with a newborn

21 Month Update

I'd say things are pretty much the same. The biggest difference I've noticed is that I don't get as excited about open-world games as I used to, and similarly don't play ones that require extreme focus, fast reaction time, etc. as much. Part of that is probably the baby. Part of that is probably just general aging.

Once the baby hit ~12 months old, he was pretty independent. He likes to sit quietly with his toys, read his books (he can't really read...more look at the pictures and name all the colors he sees, practice flipping pages, etc.), and generally be left alone as long as we're sitting next to him. That works great since I switched to a gaming laptop a few years back. Kids also go to sleep pretty early so it leaves a good bit of time to play at night.

Basically...while my typical schedule used to involve an even mix of tv and video games, now it's no tv, slightly less video game time, and more time with the kid.

That's all anecdotal. For some actual data on how much I play, I can pull times from Steam on some of the games I've played since his birth. Examples are:
  • Total War: Warhammer - 202 hours
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Morder - 11 hours
  • Renowned Explorers: International Society - 53 hours
  • The Political Machine - 18 hours
  • Democracy 3 - 32 hours
  • Fallout 4 - 51 hours
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - 22 hours
  • Divinity: Original Sin - 60 hours
These are all games that I started playing after his birth, so I know the times are post-baby. I don't have good tracking for games I started playing before then and have continued playing, but I'm certain I'm well over 100 hours since his birth in Europa Universalis IV and Civilization 5. I've also completed GTA V once and Dragon Age: Inquisition twice since his birth. Unfortunately, I did not track my total game time for the 21 months before birth for a comparison plot.

As far as content goes, there aren't really any issues that I've run into. Strategy games seem fine in general, and things like GTA and Fallout that might be inappropriate can be played when he's not sitting in my lap or next to me.

There have also been non-baby distractions that have cut into my video game time. The primary one is that I run three websites now instead of one. The other two are CityProjections which is a site focused on climate data and fun things you can pull from it, and SomeSolvedProblems which is a site that consists of solutions to problems that I found interesting. CityProjections in particular has probably taken the most overall time of all of these since the learning curve for getting it going was massive. Another lesser one is that when he was ~12 months old I realized he liked it when I played guitar, so I started playing guitar while he plays with his toys pretty regularly.

Does his mother still have hobbies?

His mother is harder for me to track because she doesn't have such clearly defined hobbies. She definitely has less free time than she did before, but she is also preparing heavily for graduate school and working more hours since she seems to enjoy her work more now than she did previously. I will try to figure out a way to capture hers well and write a future post on it.


Overall, the baby has not severely impacted my video game hobby from what I can tell, I still clearly play a lot of games based on the data available, and overall...hobbies in general have not been affected by the baby. We might have lucked out in that our baby is really good-natured and enjoys entertaining himself as long as we're around.


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