A few years ago my first kid was born. That meant no more 8 hour binges on Destiny to do raids with friends. No more random multiplayer matches. No more Madden night with the guys – everything changes when you have kids. Your focus is more on your child and less on yourself, and later, when they start getting a little older, you start coming back around to your old hobbies and finding more time for gaming. That first few times your child sleeps in, you catch a nap – then you realize, hey, I can get in a few rounds of matchmaking too!
And sure enough, you’re able to finally get your gaming joy back and you’ve adapted to changes. But now it’s a little bit different. As you know, you can’t pause the game when you’re playing online. And if you’re like me, and you were doing raids in Destiny, then you know teamwork and being present is a mandatory thing. Except, now you’ve got kids and you might have to put the controller down for a minute if your kid needs a change, breaks a lamp, or drives the mother crazy to the point she’s passed out on a dinner table full of birthday cake ice cream.
Either way, your gaming style changes and your network of gamers might need to change too. That’s where Gaming Dads comes into play. It’s a group of guys who all have kids and know that our kids come first. If we need to step away from the controller for a few minutes, that’s OK. It’s expected and encouraged.
But what many people didn’t expect was for a tiny group of gamer dads to turn into this massive movement on Facebook where they’ve got 28,000 members. That’s right. 28,000 gamer geek Dads are out here throwing grenades at bad guys when their kids finally hit the hay or a family member has them for a bit.
Not only that, but this gamer related group has become so much more than just gaming. Dads jump in all the time to ask real life questions, ask for advice, talk about non-gaming topics, and shoot the sh*t for fun. It’s almost like a group for Dads in general, but it just so happens they all like to shoot a few rocket launchers for old time’s sake.
I reached out to the group, after being a member for a while, and wanted to know more about them. How did this all begin and how did they turn into such a massive group with almost 30k members. I struggle to find 5 friends in real life to game with, let alone having access to this many. It was like finding gold on the other end of a rainbow, except the gold was an Xbox and a few people to run a team with!
Here’s how one of the founders described the group. but said there’s so much more than this:
One day in March 2017, in a generic dads group on Facebook, a post appeared from a guy who claimed that that when a man becomes a father, he should ditch gaming. Many hundreds of replies later, I realized I wasn’t the only guy out there balancing gaming alongside the joys of parenthood. A quick search showed me that whilst one or two groups for dads who game did exist, they were very inactive.
I wanted to create a space for fathers to share their experiences as parents but also to become a community of gamers who understood that life comes first. A online oasis free from the toxic bickering you’d expect from the rest of the internet. Less than 4 weeks later we had our first 1,000 members. By the end of our first year we had over 10k members. Since then, the sheer amount of support and brotherhood we’ve developed never ceases to amaze us.
It’s been an absolute roller coaster of fantastic memories. Gaming Dads brings fathers together in a way that hasn’t been done before, the reason we now have the biggest group on Facebook for gaming fathers, run by a brilliant and dedicated team of dads from all around the world who I consider close and trusted friends. The workload is tough. But the results make it way beyond worth it.
I suppose there’s only two conditions – be a gamer and be a dad!