Do empty nesters / retirees really get more gaming time?

We have a two-year-old and a four-year-old. And one way I cope with the incredible reduction in my personal time – due to the unbelievably compelling presence of these two little people, who I love being with (they’re only young once), but whose 24/7 demands are nonetheless quite an adjustment – is to ponder the long-distant empty nest.

So my question is for Qt3 gamers who were gamers before becoming parents, and who were gamers while being parents of young kids / kids in the house, and who are still gamers now, after the kids have grown up and left. Not sure there are any such people here, but if there are, please speak up:

Do you in fact have a lot more game time again, now that your kids have grown up?

I hope the answer is “yes” – it will give my frustrated gamer (who has permanently given up on keeping the backlog to a constant size, let alone shrinking it) something to look forward to :-)

I don’t have enough time to game, and I don’t have kids. Heck, I’m not even married.

Did the RepoMan RumpusRoom not materialize? Time to get busy!

2 and 4 are far more needy ages than later years. Mine are 6, 9, and 11, and yes the gaming time does expand.

Aah, Morkilus, will I never live that down? Too Much Fucking Information. In any case, yes, I do now live in a house with a downstairs that is kid-outlockable, but the problem is I still can’t game during the day ever, or even many nights (the evenings are the only time my wife and I get to spend together!). So yes, it’s better than it was before we had a downstairs, but it’s still not like back in the pre-kid day.

RickH, good to hear that it starts mellowing out progressively as the kids get older. It’s already mellowing out a bit, in fact…

Repoman, I wrote up a lengthy post but threw it out deciding it wasn’t appropriate seeing how I don’t have my own children. But I do want to say you should look forward to introducing your children to things like boardgames and other video-games that you all can enjoy. For example I’ve been following Bill Abner’s writing for a long time and he’s successfully turned her into board gaming nerd - except I’m sure she’s not a nerd. Likewise Bill Harris’s son is much younger, but even at the age he’s at they truly enjoy gaming together. This may not do much to help a backlog, but gives you the ability to play games and have family time at once. And the better they get, the more fun it becomes. Then when you’re depressed about them getting old and embarrassed to be around “dorky Dad” you’ll have more time to hit that super classic backlog.

teach them to farm gold for you at young age!!!

My boys are 20 and 22. And yes, I got my gaming time back. Starting about the time they start driving you trade in your not having any spare time for a whole lot of worrying about them.

Three boys ages 11, 9 and 8. I’m pretty much super busy right now and don’t have nearly the amount of time to game as I used to have, but I can count on at least two or three hours of free time after they go to sleep.

The thing is, that’s time I don’t always use for gaming so it varies a lot week to week.

That said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s super rewarding to be coaching them in sports throughout the year and seeing them grow up.

Also you’ll appreciate your free time more.

As the kids get older and more independent you feel really time rich, even though you have less free than in the old single days. You will have learned to make do with less. Plus if you manage to pay off your mortgage, suddenly you feel money rich and time rich.

I had to stop trying to play every cool game that was released and scaled my gaming back to just my favourite genre (Turn Based Strategy) plus a couple of the best games released each year outside of TBS. Also, learn to not sink time into games that aren’t totally awesome. You don’t have enough time to grind. If a game stops being excellent, move on.


Dude, don’t worry, we are on it. Our oldest is four and loves playing Stratego. Well, it’s not really using strategy, just picking the pieces that are fun to move… but still, she is totally into it. Blokus is also fun. Candyland is too boring already.

My wife got me a $30 gift certificate to the local comic shop, which just happens to have some games. I got us Munchkin Quest. My wife is psyched to play it with me, with our daughter kibbitzing and maybe taking sides. Should be awesome. I am also really getting into reading Tintin to her – well, she insists on being Tintin and Snowy, and is doing a great job with the voicing :-)

So yes, that is a huge huge win and will bring us all years of joy. Don’t get me wrong: it’s totally all good! I am looking forward to when my two-year-old boy gets into zombie video game territory. I’m hoping to get some Dead Rising 3 on with him. (Actually, the way my daughter waved that two-headed zombie baby doll around in Archie McPhee yesterday, she might beat him to it… and my wife did get me one of these for my birthday:


Kael: aargh. All I will have to do to build up worry is to remember my own teenage years. Gah, what a tradeoff.

You’ve got a few stages to look forward to in regards to gaming (and sport) with your kids. Your current stage is 1) You can beat your kids in everything and have to go easy on them. Then comes 2) A short golden period when you can compete on equal terms and try your hardest. Then (far too quickly) comes 3) Your kids overtake you, and regard your skills as pathetic.

I certainly hope so, but my wife might have other ideas.

The amount of free time does grow once the kids start to spend more time with their friends. It’s a gradual change so you get time to adjust at each level. We’re at the early teenager stage with our two kids. At this point driving them to their hobbies eats up a lot of time.

Just yesterday I played Carcassonne with my daughter – at her prompting, I’m proud to say. The alternative she offered was the Moomintroll board game (which is not bad, actually, but takes more time than we had available).

4 and 8 and the answer is yes.
The oldest likes boardgames and is about to move form Catan Junior to the real Settlers of Catan - we also play together, which is much more fun now, that they like my games instead of insisting on me helping them through Disney Princesses.
When your four year old princess says “I want to shoot zombies” (Plants vs. Zombies) you know you made the right decision.

I get quite some gaming time in the evening and if I wasn’t a moneygrubbing bastard with extra freelance assignments on top of my real job as well as other interests, I think that I could get to play all games I really wanted.
Of course I do get a lot of extra home time because I don’t spend every weekend in bars (and back then my weekend sometimes started wednesday)…

Looking around me: YES!

Singles or couples without kids don’t understand why you have trouble finding free time to do something for yourself. Why the weekend sometimes is the busiest time of your week and not in a good way.

Its a good thing I didn’t know upfront how much it would cost me, both in money and time :D. That said I would not change it now even if I could. It costs a lot , but you get back more for it.

But sometimes I do admit being a bit jealous of people who can so much time, they even spend it on being bored. I haven’t been bored in eight years now.

Its a good thing there are these boards and podcasts about gaming. (Three moves Ahead and Gamers with Jobs anyone?) Feels like I’m still in the loop and “out there” :D