Gaming With A Newborn Is HARD: Praise Be The Pause Button

Taken a few days after we brought Jayce home. I thought I’d be able to get through some Mass Effect. HAHAHA.

“Enjoy your gaming time while you have it!”

“Kiss your uninterrupted cutscenes goodbye!”

“Good luck finishing even the shortest of games in a reasonable timeframe!”

…OKAY OKAY. Y’all were right.

There I was in early May 2021, a naïve, very pregnant woman, reading and believing these bullshit lies about newborns sleeping 15-17 hours a day. Meanwhile, the internet was telling me I was about to lose my ability to play video games, or at the very least, lose my ability to play for any stretch of time.

“How can that be?” I foolishly asked myself. “If a baby sleeps that often, shouldn’t I be able to get several hours in a day?”


Again, y’all were right.

Not that I haven’t been able to make it work, mind you. I’ve been able to finish two video games from start to finish since having this kid in late May, The Great Ace Attorney Adventures and Twelve Minutes, AND a piece of DLC, Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life. I gotta admit I’m impressed I was even able to make THAT happen, but I give thanks to a semi-predictable bedtime routine in the evening and what I like to call the “Ultimate Baby Station” that exists next to me on the couch during the day.

Seriously, that baby station has been a lifesaver. Every morning I go through the checklist in my head: Does he have a clean diaper? Check. Do I have a bottle at the ready? Check. Pacifier, toys, burp rags? Check, check, check. Water for me? CHECK. Then I plop his ass on my lap and he chills/sleeps while I get some much-needed gaming in during the day. Come nighttime, thanks to that predictable-ish bedtime I mentioned, I generally have three hours to myself which is oh LAWD so lovely.

The look of someone who hopes their kid will go to sleep after this feed.

I’m currently juggling a few different games right now, some I can talk about, some I can’t, but what I’m learning is that very few games aren’t, shall we say, optimized for playing with a child who needs 24/7 attention. Ace Attorney was *fantastic* in the sense it could be paused at any time and there’s an “Autoplay” option that allowed me to do literally nothing as the game unfolded in front of me. But two other games I’ve been playing co-operatively – one is The Ascent and the other is <redacted> – don’t allow Jayson or I to pause the game. Like, we can both press the pause button, but the game keeps on chuggin’ in the background. Come to think of it, we ran into a similar issue while playing Sea of Thieves! (The Child wanted to eat while we were sailing, and we had the misfortune of running into a gaggle of players who wanted nothing but death and destruction.) We’ve also been playing Pokémon Unite, which is obviously the WORST possible game to play with a newborn – online play and interruptions don’t mix.

Before having a kid I never quite appreciated how incredibly helpful and useful pause buttons were. I mean sure, it was nice to be able to pause when getting a snack or some *ahem* whiskey, but I never truly cherished of the functionality of a pause button. So here’s a GINORMOUS shout-out to every dev studio who implements the following:

  • Cutscenes that can be paused and resumed
  • The ability for an online game to pause when all players agree to do so
  • Autoplay features, primarily scrolling text and continuous dialogue


So yeah, I’m in an interesting position now that I gotta think about games logistically before I choose to play them. Like, “Is this online only? Will I be penalized if I suddenly have to walk away?” (I’m looking at you, Pokémon Unite!)

It really makes me appreciate that I’ve never had to worry about this before, especially when I think about my friends who navigate games with disabilities in mind.

I can’t help but wonder how the HELL I’m gonna get through some of the beefier games that are around the corner, like Lost Judgment. HNGHHH. It might take me ten years to finish it, but that’s just fine. (The truth is I’m low-key freaking out.)

Anyway, if you have a spawn of your own I’d love to hear how you’ve made your gaming sessions go down. Do you trade off with your partner? Do you find time to play when the kid is asleep? Let’s trade war stories!