Best Games for New Parents?

Hey y’all!

I’m a young dad with a 10-month-old son. He’s rambunctious and great, but sometimes, I need another game in my life beyond “Stack up things to be knocked down” and “Pull baby away from opening that cabinet.” Mobile games are a godsend- I’ve actually really been liking some licensed games, like that Star Wars Candy-Crush clone, and Power Rangers: Legacy Wars; and over on my 3DS, Dragon Quest 7’s short quests have been a regular source of RPG fun on the nights I crawl into bed with some energy to spare.

So, are any of you folks parents with young kids? What games are you playing- and are there any games that you’ve found that you can share with your babies or toddlers?

Oh boy. The wonders of children. With two little ones and another incoming I get in what I can. When my first one was that young and bottle feeding anything on the 3ds was perfect. Citizens of earth was a go to and the 3ds was great for just closing when I needed to. Now when the little ones are watching I tend to gravitate towards things like rare replay. Started yooka laylee last week and my two boys love watching the characters and environments.

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This is why I wish everything was on the Switch; it lets me play meaningful games on a device that’s easily accessible while my child is waltzing around the house. (She’s 8 months, crawling like a fiend. Any day now she’s gonna be walking). My kid is constantly trying to eat my phone, and while she’s clearly aware that her fingers can manipulate a touch screen, so far we’ve avoided letting her go off the deep end with a mobile device. Wish I had better recommendations for games to play together!


Portable games, yes. Good for feeding times. Short sessions. Picross 3D: Round 2 is probably perfect for ten-fifteen min bursts. Anything that only requires one hand, too. Build yourself up to be a Super Mario Run expert.

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Any NES classic you can get on the 3DS will do well. Pokemon is pretty relaxing and if the kid is into it when they get older you can join in with them.

My 22 month old loves watching us play Zelda and Puyo Puyo Tetris, but you’ll find kids this young have fairly short attention spans. My daughter will watch my wife or I play Zelda for about 10 minutes, and then wander off in search of more interesting stuff to do.

Edit: I should point out that every kid is different. My daughter is a very independent player, so your mileage may definitely vary. I’d also recommend anything that is easy to sleep/pause, as others have said, because kids will always get up to some nefarious shit if your attention is diverted for a hot second.

My 4 year old nephew really digs this train track game I got from It’s pay what you want. I paid $3 and I feel I got my monies worth.

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I couldn’t believe how quickly my son got that you can swipe on a phone to make the screen move. That interface is so immediate.

I bet, actually, there’s some great games for babies to slap on iPad- but like you said, we’re also a family that wants to limit our child’s screen time on touch devices, esp. by himself. And I guess that’s a trick to games-- we want to share our love of games with our children, but also, our kids need to explore so much right now, especially in the real world.

So, maybe that’s where playing catch comes in…

PS. Good luck! Crawing is a paradigm shift. After ours started scooting around, he quickly developed a love of opening cabinets, drawers, and shutting doors behind him, haha.

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I’ve got a 3 1/2 month old daughter and my time for gaming has all but disappeared. The little I get is on mobile these days. But I’ve been using it to revisit some old iPhone games that I missed such as Broken Age, Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery, Kami, Civilization: Revolution, etc. So I recommend going for any of those mobile games you missed, as now’s your time to revisit them.

Any console gaming is always a trade off between that and sleep. And sleep is winning. I find myself really put off by long loading times or needless actions. Mass Effect Andromeda is a big one for that. Why do I have to go to my ship to read email when I have a computer on my arm and an AI in my head?

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Two of my friends with small children both have told me independently that their kids really like watching them play Zelda, too. One friend’s daughter especially liked Windwaker- they’d go from island to island, cutting grass and talking to people. She didn’t like the combat at all-- just travelling and talking to new people. I think my baby needs to develop his attention span a little more, but… I might try taking him to Hyrule in the future, too!

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Figured I’d bump this old thread rather than make a new one, because I’ve had parental gaming on the brain, lately. As most of us know or have at least been told, the Switch is a godsend, but I wanted to share some other discoveries I’ve had lately, too: the joys of one-handed games and asynchronous multiplayer.

One-handed games are just what they sound like. Phone games you can play in portrait mode using a single thumb while the other hand is occupied (either holding my 6-month old in my lap, or holding my 4-year old’s hand while he falls asleep). The recently released Animal Crossing fits the bill, as does a game I discovered last week called Beat Street. Beat Street is cool, but the F2P grind in it is seriously oppressive right off the bat. I find myself watching ads for coins almost as much as actually playing the game. Previous favorites that fit this category have been Card Crawl, Card Thief, and Reigns, but honestly, pretty much anything other than scrolling through Twitter or Facebook feels pretty good. Lots of clickers technically fit this category, but they generally don’t hold my interest for more than a day or two.

Asynchronous multiplayer games are almost the only way my partner and I can play games together anymore, and there are some great ones on mobile, mostly ports of board games. Currently we constantly have games going of Ascension, Paperback, and Potion Explosion (this one has the added benefit of also being one-handed). It usually takes a few days to get through a whole match, but it’s a great way to share a gaming experience together when we often don’t have the energy at the end of a long day to set up a board game or deal with the stress of a real-time video game.

So does anyone else out there have any tips on any great one-handed or asynchronous gems? Or parental gaming in general?

For a one-handed game, there’s Underhand (Android link but it’s also on iOS). It’s a free, deck-building game where you run a cult trying to raise ancient gods. Great presentation, no ads, easy to get into.

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