What a tangled web we weave...

I feel like I'm losing my right to be called a "gamer."  I find myself spending more and more time playing "social" games and games that are considered more "casual"- mainly because most of my game playing is done while I am nursing the baby and I don't have both hands free, or because every 30 seconds my older daughter needs me for something or wants to play.  I know that makes me sound like a bad parent, but the truth is that I don't get any big blocks of time to rest or relax.  I find myself spending more time doing things that I have to do and giving more time to teaching and interacting with my family than I do with gaming.  I know that I signed up to be a parent, but I didn't sign up to give 24 hours of my self away and never get to enjoy anything for me.  Some moms may be able to do that, but I do require a bit of time to recharge my batteries beyond just sleeping from time to time.  Gaming is my little outlet for stress and it is one of the only things that I do just for myself, which unfortunately seems to be harder for me to really get into for a very specific reason- the high level of interruption that children bring to the table.

Being a parent to a 3 year old is like watching constant commercials on TV- you can never focus on something long enough for your brain to really think deeply, and let's face it, most preschool stuff is boring as hell to the average adult brain (even though I recognize that it is important for small children to learn).  Their brains move a mile a minute and they switch gears like crazy.  Add a high energy level and their constant learning of various new skills and it leads to a mind that can't focus on anything, even when the child is napping or at school.  I find myself like that a lot when my daughter is at school.  I *want* to do something, to focus on something during the few hours she's off learning in preschool, but my mind just can't start up after being short circuited for so long.

This is what parenting feels like.

And it's kind of sad because I can't yet play games with my children. The youngest is only a bit over a month old, so that's not going to be for awhile.  My oldest daughter is very good at playing iPad games for preschoolers, but most of them are similarly disinteresting to me, or they're only one-player games.  I can hardly wait until she finally gets old enough to play DS games with me (I have saved one of the big blue original DSes for this reason), but it will be at least 3 more years, or until she learns how to read well.  I dream about the days when we can all play Smash Brothers together.  I would really enjoy playing 4-player game night with my kids...at least in theory.

As it is, I often have to bring my games into the bathroom to get any privacy, and even then, there's always a little hand knocking on the door and a small voice demanding to be let in.  So needless to say, it's very much like being shell-shocked- and it's one reason why it's hard for me to get time to compose my thoughts and actually write (last night was a bust because my infant was having trouble breathing through her nose due to a runny nose and so I spent all night playing official nose suction attendant and nursing her so she would get helpful antibodies from my breast milk).  But I've finally got some time to myself tonight, and after turning off all outside distractions (like the TV), I finally find myself wanting to write.

Here is how my 3DS looks with the new NYKO battery pack.

Right now, I'm really happy that there are not a lot of games that I am foaming at the mouth about being released.  Being on a fixed income while on maternity leave, I've only bought things that I absolutely needed or were at such an amazingly low price that I could not pass them by.  For example, on Black Friday, there was an amazing deal on the NYKO battery life extender pack for 3DS.  I have been debating about picking this up mainly because it adds to the bulk of the system and it was kind of expensive.  But the price for it went down to $4.99, so I figured it was a great buy and purchased it.

The installation was fairly easy (but be sure to read the instructions if you do purchase one of these for your own handheld because you can easily strip the screws on the unit if you're not gentle). And I am very impressed with the battery life.  The battery lasts at least 2-3 times longer than before needing to be charged. The other thing that surprised me is that the added bulk is very comfortable in the hands- it feels ergonomic and the semi-rubbery material that it is made out of is not slippery at all and increases the ease of gripping it.  I do believe it only comes in black, though.  I am much more comfortable playing my handheld without worrying that it is going to die at any time (although I am miffed that they didn't make a point of fixing this before releasing the system in the first place).  All in all, I highly recommend getting this battery pack if you have the funds to do so.  As far as I know, they do not have one for the larger 3DS system, though.


It's like "SAW" for people who like anime.

VIrtue's Last Reward is a new 3DS game that just came out, and I picked it up mainly because it's had only a limited release in the US (there was only one copy at the local Game Stop, so if you find it, you should probably pick it up as it is rare).  This is the sequel to the game "999" for DS, a game in which you are forced to play part of a sick game of wits against a monster who has decided to lock you and a bunch of other people on a sinking ship with a bracelet on your hand and a bomb that has been placed in your body that will detonate if you do the wrong thing.  There are many puzzles and visual novel elements in the game, and the sequel promises to one-up the last story with more puzzles, betrayal and psychological terror than before.  I have not had a chance to start the game yet, but from what I've read, the 3DS sequel is worth looking into if you're a fan of psychological thrillers and visual novel games.

And now, for a Brony Break.

I know that many of the people on GIO are fans of MLP:FiM, so I figured I'd also mention this new official comic book that has just been released and it is AWESOME.  Not only does it have a lot of fan nods (Derpy gets at least five or six panels), but the writing is a bit darker, yet also fun in the same smart, funny way that the show is well-known for.  I highly recommend picking up these comic books if you can- there are at least 8 different special covers that you can collect, including ones that were drawn by various famous artists.

Friendship is better when you have more friends!

And finally, I'm hoping to add some more friends to my Gameloft Pony game.  My username on Gameloft is Oni_no_Tenshi.  Part of the game is social, so I am always happy to send gifts and chests to others who are starting out in the game.


So, do any of you have an idea as to what you would like to get as a gamer this holiday season?

How will you plan on balancing your time during this busy time of year?

And finally, what, in your opinion, is the definition of a "real gamer"?