Are you a gamer? Has a newborn invaded your house and put the brakes on your gaming time? Stay calm – we have the answer!
You've probably developed strategies to successfully deal with interfering housemates, non-gaming partners or surprise family visits that inevitably disrupt your valuable gaming time. But nothing, and I repeat, nothing, will threaten your passion for playing video games like a newborn baby.
Marathon sessions will become a thing of the past, having your mates over for FIFA nights nothing more than a distant memory, and choosing when and where you'll play will now be dictated entirely by a pooing, spewing, wailing, four-kilo skin-covered bag of air.
But all is not lost. Like an animal in nature, you must learn to adapt to your environment in order to survive. Here are ten tried and tested ways to help you evolve and become the ultimate parent gamer.
1. Unpredictability and opportunity. Learn to understand and conform to these words. This is very important.
2. Bank it! It's essential to get points in the bank. Let your partner sleep in, offer to change the nappy whenever it needs doing, be the primary operator at feeding times – all this 'work' will pay dividends when you ask, “Do you mind if I play a game for a bit?
3. Invest in a quality headset. Practically every noise will wake the baby up, so investing in a decent headset is essential. But remember; continually getting your partner out of bed because of a crying baby you cannot hear will not accrue points. Only wear them when you're given the green light to play.
4. Are you a one-television house? You'll need two, or buy something like the GAEMES Vanguard. Trust me, any spare time your partner has to unwind in front of the TV will not want to be spent watching you work your way through a season in FIFA.
5. The safety zone. Cordon off an area of the lounge where the baby can play/roll unrestricted. Preferably build the baby enclosure within your peripheral vision, so you can promptly flick your eyes from screen to child without losing concentration.
6. The papoose. This is an essential bit of kit and worth its weight in gold. I completed about 20 hours of GTA V with my son strapped to my chest. If they wake up, simply march on the spot or sway from side to side; it adds an additional challenge to the game you're playing.
7. Game selection. Choose a game that will deliver satisfaction in short, concise bursts. Think about sports sims, racers and shooters – avoid RPGs.
8. The lock up. Ensure that all of your gaming equipment is securely stowed behind lockable cupboards. Once the child becomes mobile, errant leads prove irresistible to little hands searching for things to pull. Always keep your controllers out of reach.
9. The dawn patrol. Offer to get up and do the pre-dawn feed. It will earn you aforementioned points in the bank, and there really isn't a better time to play a game undisturbed than in that 4am to 6am bracket. I used this early window to complete The Last of Us in its entirety.
10. Roll with it. Remember how everyone keeps telling you that it gets easier? It doesn't. It just gets different. But with each new phase in child development comes a new opportunity for gaming. Learn to adapt to every changing situation, and you'll always find time to play.