How Video Games Prepared Us For Fatherhood

If you ever saw the movie, The Last Starfighter or read the book Armada by Ernest Cline you got to see how video games prepared those characters for future life events. Heck, I even wrote an article where I made funny video game titles that could make you a better parent. Recently an interaction on Twitter with a few fellow dads made me realize that video games we played back in the day were prepping us for our most important role, being a parent. Here are a few games that I played from childhood that has helped me prepare for fatherhood. Let me know a few games that helped your parenting skills in the comment section below. 


Any parent looking to pack the car or van for a family trip will see that all of those countless hours of playing Tetris finally paid off. You already know that your family packed way too much so every space needs to be utilized. Pros of packing the family car layout all of the luggage and boxes to make a plan. As you pan over the abundance of parcels your mind sees a black screen and all of those items turn into color coded blocks.

Your game plan is now set. As you pack the car you start hearing Korobeiniki playing in your head. Not only does your family marvel at your skills of packing the van, but you didn’t even break a sweat. Well if you are like me and live where it is warm you are always sweating, but at least the car is all set for your trip. 


Now you might think with Frogger I am going with safely navigating crossing the street with your kids. You could make that connection, but Frogger has helped me in another area of fatherhood. When your kids are toddlers a once clean floor can be turned into a disaster area in the blink of an eye. So while your kids are having the best time of their lives bringing out all of their toys you need to navigate the floor without stepping on anything.

This is where Frogger has come into play. I do have to say that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows when my kids were that age. I had the equivalent of Frogger getting hit by the truck when I tried to sidestep my kid’s toys and answer my phone and broke one of my pinkie toes when I rammed by foot on a door frame. There was no pressing the reset button that day my friends. 


This is one of my favorite video games from Atari 2600 console. For those who don’t know about this tame I will give a quick synopsis. In this game you play as Pitfall Harry. You are tasked with collecting all the treasures in a jungle within 20 minutes. The world consists of 256 screens which are horizontally connected. Each screen has one or more hazards. There are quicksand traps, tarpits, rolling logs, crocodiles, snakes, scorpions, campfires, and swinging vines.

Now this can be similar to Frogger, but the thing about Pitfall is that you have a timer. You need to get things done in a set amount of time. Pitfall helps the parent that needs to run errands, go grocery shopping and drop off the kids at school within a certain time frame. Just like Harry needs to collect artifacts while avoiding hazards you are doing the same thing while knocking things off your to do list. 

Metal Gear Solid 

Conspiracy. Action. Mystery. All of these things were part of 1998’s Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation. As you were playing as Solid Snake trying to take down a regime there were traps you had to avoid. You had to hide in the shadows. You can’t be detected by cameras in certain levels. There are henchmen right around the corner. Stealth is your best friend in this game. This is just like parenting. Stealth is your best friend here as well.

From sneaking a treat from the pantry or waking up early to get some work done you tip-toe around the house to avoid being detected. Whether you are making your way through your house or playing as Snake sneaking around an enemy’s compound you need to go undetected. Just make sure your watch doesn’t go off in the video game or in real life. If it does you will surely make your presence known. There is no DARPA Chief this time to help you out. 

13 thoughts on “How Video Games Prepared Us For Fatherhood”

  1. Great read art. I have to agree with you on Metal Gear Solid for sure. I loved that game and do exactly now as a father as you mentioned. Sneaking, stealth and tiptoeing are all part and parcel with parenting.
    I even put my old tetris skills to good use when packing the shopping at the tills, all evenly distributed, the mrs calls it OCD but I call it reminiscing 😂.

    Thank you for bringing back some memories with this post.

    • Thank you sir! I appreciate it. Haha. I know what you mean. My fam says I have OCD, but I am with you sir.

    • YES!!!! Such a great game. One of the best for N64!

  2. This is a great list of games! I totally loved Pitfall & spent hours playing it! Missile Command would be a good one. We can see what’s about to happen & it’s up to us to either stop it or let it explode. Teach a lesson or let them learn a lesson.

    • That is fantastic. Missile Command is legit. Using problem solving skills!

    • That is awesome Creed. That skill comes in handy in larger crowds.

  3. Even though I was already a father when it came out. Skyrim has taught me one great lesson. You can become over-encumbered when you carry too many things. Just in life, you have to drop those small things that don’t matter or are of no value so you can keep moving.

    • Well said Greg! Great way of looking at it.


Leave a Comment