A Complete List Of Video Games I Played On Paternity Leave

A Complete List Of Video Games I Played On Paternity Leave

I had a baby a couple months ago, and I took a few weeks off work to hang out with her. Mostly that meant giving her bottles, changing her diapers, and holding her on my lap as I played video games, because it turns out there’s nothing babies hate more than NOT being held at any given moment.

Here, in no particular order, are the video games I played during leave, along with my thoughts and what I assume were my daughter’s thoughts at the time.

Dishonored 2

I played a ton of Arkane’s immersive sim back when it came out in 2016 but never finished it, so I figured I’d give it another chance. Just like the first time, I loved it until I got to the Royal Conservatory, which was annoying enough to make me put it on pause for a while.

My daughter’s review: “Either those witches can see through walls or you just suck at stealth games, daddy.”

Dark Souls 3

Just a great game—it’s always fun to jump into a Souls and re-familiarise yourself with the level design, play for an hour or so, and maybe kill a boss or two along the way.

My daughter’s review: “I may be only three weeks old but this generic medieval fantasy feels a little trite to me. Do we really need more games with knights and dragons? I prefer the Lovecraftian undertones of Bloodborne and am very much looking forward to seeing what Elden Ring has in store. Miyazaki AND George R.R. Martin? I mean, come on.”

Pillars of Eternity 2

I bounced off Pillars 2 when it first came out in 2018, mostly because I’d just played the superb Divinity: Original Sin 2. But the developers at Obsidian added a turn-based mode earlier this year that completely changes the way the game feels to play, very much for the better.

My daughter’s review: “I appreciate the evocative way this game builds a living, breathing world and fills it up with culture and history, but all those accents and proper nouns can get a little distracting. Also, I just pooped all over my onesie.”

Disco Elysium

This game captivated my attention right from the start and never let go. You can read my full review here.

My daughter’s review: “When I grow up, I also want to be ‘an absolute disaster of a human being.’”

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered

I was really into my latest playthrough of Final Fantasy VIII on Switch—and the remastered version is well done!—until I died to a cheap attack and lost an hour of progress, which is just not something I can tolerate in 2019.

My daughter’s review: “The Draw system is fundamentally broken and a tedious waste of time. Also, I just dropped my pacifier and I’m going to scream my head off until you put it back in my mouth.”

Death Stranding

I’m glad this game exists, but it’s not for me. Especially not right now. As soon as it told me I had to soothe a crying baby, I turned it off.

My daughter’s review: “How DARE you hang out with other babies.”

Destiny 2

Shadowkeep came out while I was on leave, so obviously I had to do that. I find myself less enamoured of Destiny these days than I have been in the past, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop jumping back in whenever they release new story content.

My daughter’s review: “Daddy, you’ve played more hours of this game than I’ve been alive. Reconsider your life choices.”

The Witcher 3 

When I first played The Witcher 3 I was on PS4, but since then I’ve built a gaming PC, and my lord, playing at 1440p/60+fps just makes such a big difference. I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with Geralt again in the swamps and hills of war-torn Velen.

My daughter’s review: “Cool game. But I just have one question: Why would a thriving media company purposefully sabotage one of its strongest assets, costing itself countless amounts of revenue and irrevocably damaging staff morale? I need a bottle.”


    • My baby is 6 months now but it’s the same. When he was a few weeks old, sure, between the sleeplessness, emotional, mental and physical exhaustion and the mountains of busywork a baby generates, sure, there were a few moments per day when I could just sit while holding him. However, in that position he had two modes only: asleep, which demanded absolute stillness and silence lest he woke up and I killed myself on the spot for interrupting those precious minutes of rest (if my partner didn’t manage to kill me first) or awake.

      On turn, awake baby had two modes: crying baby who needed to be tended to, or calm, yet intensely curious baby. In theory, gaming would be possible during this mode. In practice, baby would playfully try to grab at the controller or my hands, or wriggle free. It just could not happen. Whatever little gaming I have been able to do in the past 6 months happened only when my partner held him and there was nothing else that needed be done, incredibly rare ocassions. Oh, and in the nights after they have gone to sleep and I manage to stay awake for any significant amount of time.

      I honestly have no idea how Jason managed to fit as much gaming as I would get in a year without a baby.

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