I started 2017 with a 4 week old child. I took the first 3 months off to look after her, and the games I played were fever dreams, played at all hours with a child asleep on my chest or while my family slept in another room and I struggled with sleep deprivation. I played bits and pieces of lots of things. Here is a list.
Street Fighter V
I’m terrible at fighting games, but I did really enjoy learning how to play them with SFV. It’s a good game for playing just a few minutes of, although the load times are rather long on the ps4. This version of street fighter is wonderful, a beautiful implementation, and I hope to play it more in future.
I find Hearthstone to be a fairly weak card game compared to Magic and Netrunner, but it is simple, free to play, and plays well on a tablet. At night, with my tablet or phone resting on the bed, child asleep on my lap, I played many rounds of Hearthstone. I don’t feel like I have a good understanding of the game, still, having played on low brain power, but it killed a lot of time.
I didn’t play much of this but it’s a perfect parent game! Plays well with no sound, lets you save anywhere, turn based, pause functionality - a textbook example of a game designed for a busy parent.
Super Meat Boy
My dip in, dip out game to feel like I can still play real games. A classic.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
My 3DS absolutely shined during some months, but the loud click as it opened sometimes woke up my baby. This Donkey Kong is underrated and not talked about enough. It’s also very hard, in places, but I’m happy to say that I did complete it this year.
My favourite game of the year. Gone Home is a wonderful story - it’s well paced and it isn’t too long. I love the way that it’s told: each room reveals something new, sometimes in scene, sometimes in audio logs. Right up until the end, you’re not really sure what genre it is.
This popped up on PSPlus so I gave it a go. It’s very pretty and the puzzles are nice. Haven’t finished it yet.
One day, my wife went out with our child and without me for the first time. I had the house to myself for the first time, and I had nothing to do. I bought a packet of chocolate digestives, loaded up Cities, and lost the morning. It was wonderful - Cities is a beautiful game for losing yourself in. It is slow and methodical. You can’t really do the wrong thing - you just pick a thing, fix it up a bit, then pick something else. The soundtrack is gorgeous.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
I’ve written a longer piece about this. Horizon was my back to work present, and as such I played it very slowly, no longer having any free time to play. It was a good game for me - open world, full of big quests and small quests to suit the time I had. Shame it didn’t have the ability to save anywhere, but at least it had a pause function.
I have a few friends who play Stellaris every week, and they bought me it with the hope that I would be able to join them, but sadly I haven’t really got my evenings back yet. Stellaris feels a lot like Cities and occupies the same niche for me. I’m told that I’m playing it wrong, and I should never pause and play at top speed.
Before I start work each morning, I try to have a little free time. I work from home, so this is my commute. For a while, it was Factorio - every morning I would put in a few minutes working on my factory. I listened to Welcome To Night Vale as I played.
And I put time into this game! 130 hours, last count. This game taught me that I do, in fact, put a lot of time into games, here and there, and if I want to, I really can get through long games.
Tooth and Tail
What a concept, what a game! Tooth and Tail reminds me of the old Amiga games I used to play, in both look and feel. It’s a wonderful take on the RTS genre and I really want to play a lot more of it. I hope that it gets a competitive scene together.
Another great game to pick up and put down, Spelunky makes very few demands on your time and every game of it is disposable. It also really values your time - it even has a quick start button to get you straight into the game without having to hit the menu. Genius! This became a game I’d play when I had a spare 5 minutes at my PC.
No spoilers here because I’m only through 2 of the endings, but wow, what a game so far. After Factorio taught me how much time I had, Nier was the game I chose to spend it on, and so far, 23 hours in, I don’t regret it. Unfortunately, I can’t listen to any game of the year podcasts because I’m terrified of spoilers.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
I’ve had this for ages but never completed it, and I picked it up again after completing Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Like the other games, it occupied tiny spaces of my life, 3DS sat beside my bed, until I started my new job which offered me my first ever chance at a train-based commute. Since then I’ve played a mission whenever I’m on a train and I’m really enjoying it. Portable consoles really allow you to live with a game, and that’s a unique feeling. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Switch fares in this field in 2018.