Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The New Dad Gamer: Bonding with Player 3

Before Nathan was born, I had a very narrow idea of what having a kid was like. I imagined playing Super Mario Bros. with my little guy, teaching him how to solve a Zelda puzzle, decorating his room with plush Metroids and Pikechus etc...

I was only part right. Spoiler alert, babies don't play video games. If you give a baby a Joy-Con, It will likely end up in his/her mouth. Which is not where they belong. However, there are plenty of ways the junior can join in the fun.

Involve them in your hobby.

There's one major way I've seen parents involve their infants in the love of gaming. Cosplay!
Now, all kids are different. some hate having things on their heads, some are extremely shy, some drool on EVERYTHING. But there's solutions for all of these things. Here's some amazingly cute examples from Classic Game Fest.

This halloween, I dressed my son up like Mario and my wife as Princess Peach. So, even though he had absolutely no idea who he was, or why there's a fuzzy thing attached to his nose, he had a blast. Playing with other kids, getting all the attention in the world, winning the costume contest (because, obviously we won). The best part though, is that in a few years we can show him this picture and he'll love the fact that we dressed him up as one of his favorite characters.

Make it part of their childhood.

For the first few years of your child's life, you get to choose what your kid wears, sees, hears, plays with. So, buy them video game toys! Just be aware that most toys are NOT baby approved. Here's my son chewing on Yoshi's face.

Plan for the future.

Another idea I implemented early on was songs. Every night before bed I sing my son a lullaby. Which lullaby?

Epona's Lullaby of course. He may not know it now, but when he's old enough to play Zelda, he'll have an immediate emotional connection to one of the most iconic video games of all time. You're welcome, son.

Respect the game.

One of the best lessons you can teach your children is the importance of hard work, and the rewards it grants you. My life has been a series of these lessons, and it was hard work and endurance that got me where I am today. I never let me love of video games suck all the time away from what was truly important. Teach them that games a reward for hard work. That fun is valuable, but not the end-all be-all. Give them an opportunity to work hard and earn something, so they have an appreciation for it.
Video games can be an effective and valuable outlet for emotional struggle. They can teach us about social issues, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, love, politics, etc... But just like all hobbies, they have their proper place in our lives.

Got any tips of parents? Cosplay pics? Share them in the comments below!


  1. Nice one Dan. We definitely involve our kids in what we love. This past classic game fest, our son was dressed as yoshi and our daughter was a goomba! Haha, watching them on the classic game feat stage was awesome! He's already excited to be king dedede for this upcoming cgf. You know we taught him early on about how great gaming music is. He loves the gerudo village theme, can recognize different game songs, and is only learning more. In fact, this is his playlist that we put on all the time. https://open.spotify.com/user/lcatano96/playlist/7mmnteLOKb5gwp264XCTO5
    It's great to share this with our children. Wait til Nathan gets older Dan, but enjoy every minute of it!

    1. yes! I can't wait till he's old enough to really understand it. Your kiddos were so great last year! definitely looking forward to seeing a little Dedede running around!

  2. Congrats on winning the costume contest!! I love their costumes!! Haha, I remember bribing our daughter with a kit kat so she would wear her goomba costume. It worked beautifully! Right now our son is playing Pokken and he's kicking some Pokémon patootie! He rarely loses, but when he does, he doesn't let that bother him! I think it's definitely helpful in real life situations. :)