The Dad Gaming Bootcamp: Apex Legends

a man and his son cheer in excitement while playing a video game.

This post was written by The Dad writer Matt Fisher.

Gaming Dads walk that fine line between accepting the mantle of adulthood and goofing around on the internet with their friends. This is why so many of us are drawn to the world’s second-favorite battle royale shooter, Apex Legends. It’s the fancy French mustard of free-to-play mayhem- where Fortnite has cabin building and people running around in horse costumes; Apex Legends has an impenetrable system of guns and attachments and playable characters who are mostly evil scientists or psychotic robots. Where Fortnite has weird Day-Glo environments and surprise Travis Scott concerts, Apex Legends has, well, weird Day-Glo environments and ten-story-tall dinosaur dogs. What can I say? Weird Day-Glo environments are fun.

The Dad Gaming League is hosting an Apex Tournament on December 11th, which I highly recommend to Apex Legends Dads everywhere. (Editor’s Note: While Apex is cross-platform, this event is for PC players only, and you can sign up here.) Now, the first rule of The Dad Gaming League is that you do not need to be very good at video games to take part in The Dad Gaming League, and Apex Legends is an especially fun game to be mediocre at. So grab a fresh case of Planters Pop n’ Pour because this one’s gonna be sweaty!  

The learning curve is a little tougher than most free-to-play games, so we’ve laid out a quick course in the basics below to get you over the hump and shooting your way to the top of the pack. Our advice is laid out from most general to most specific, but remember- Apex Legends is at its heart, a twitchy FPS shooter, so there’s no substitute for getting into the arena and getting a feel for the mechanics. So soak up a few tips here and fire up the old entertainment center, and we’ll meet you in the robot-corpse-strewn fields of King’s Canyon.

This Is How We Do It – The Basics

The year is apparently 2733, and since this is a battle royale shooter, you are jumping out of an airplane onto a giant island with sixty other souls to pick up armor and guns and use them to become the Apex Champion – the last player left alive. There are three island maps currently in the game’s rotation, each filled with mountains, valleys, and derelict buildings. In the standard game mode, you drop in a team of three, and working together with your teammates will mean the difference between instant death and death that’s like five or ten minutes away. As the combatants scramble around and fight, a shrinking concentric circle forces everyone to fight in closer and closer quarters until only one team remains.

Apex Legends has a very complex system of skins, emotes, and assorted doo-dads that, along with the completely nonsensical lore and character backstories, we will ignore here. If you’re the hoarding type, there are Legend Tokens, Apex Coins, gun charms, holo-sprays, personalized tomahawks, badges, stat trackers, kill quips, finishing moves, and much, much more. None of which actually affect gameplay, so we’re setting them aside. If you become a true Apex-head, there’s a universe of ludicrous sci-fi backstory and obsessive collecting for you to explore, but in the meantime, we’ve got heads to click on.

Me, Myself, and I – Picking Your Legend

One of the best aspects of Apex Legends is the character system. It incorporates elements of team-based FPS games where you play as a character with a unique set of special powers. In Apex Legends, the system is subtle; your powers will definitely affect the way you play and contribute to the team, but no matter which Legend you choose, 75% of what you’ll do, especially early as a player, is running and gunning. This makes it easy and fun to experiment with different Legends to see whose powers best accentuate your play-style. One character can set up shields; one can toss around poison traps, etc. 

For new players, the best options are the ones whose powers can create a lot of value for the squad without the development of new, specialized skills. Take a spin with Lifeline, who can heal her teammates, or Bloodhound, who can emit radar pings to locate nearby enemies. A little further up the skill tree are Pathfinder, the robot who can sling around with a grappling hook, and Crypto, who has a remote camera drone that he can send around the map. 

Jump Around – Dropping In

This being a battle royale shooter, a round of Apex Legends begins with you and your squad jumping out of a plane onto the island map. Choosing how and where you land will color your whole play experience. Very generally, there are two schools of thought here. A good philosophy for beginners is to try to drop somewhere out of the way, where few other people are headed, and you’ll have a minute or two to get your bearings and gear up before you’re face-to-face with other players. Whatever you do, land near your teammates and be ready to back them up as soon as you all hit the ground. 

Here’s a pro-tip, though: glide to the ground right next to your teammates, but break off just before you land so that you’re within easy reach of the squad, but not directly shoulder to shoulder. The first thing you and the team will do is to begin rooting around for guns and armor, and by creating a little bit of separation, you ensure that you and your squad won’t all be rooting around in the exact same containers and loot piles. There’s such a thing as etiquette, even in 2377.

The other philosophy, favored by thrill-seekers everywhere, is to “hot-drop,” or to intentionally drop into a loot-rich area that will be crowded with fighters right from the get-go. Look for light beacons shining into the sky or just follow the smoke trails of other players as they drop to the map. 

This creates an entirely different style of play: a frantic scramble of running around, looting, punching, and shooting that will either leave you well-equipped and with a kill or two under your belt, or more likely dead and gone a minute into your game. For dads on a time crunch, the hot drop is often a fun option- ensuring that you’ll see some action even in a very short game. Otherwise, you may find yourself creeping around the map, trying to find a shootout for ten minutes while your family waits in the driveway, only to get sniped out of the blue after a long and excitement-free round.

If I Had No Loot – The Gear Of Apex Legends

The only way to hold your own in Apex Legends is to gear up, and the game distinguishes itself on the breadth and complexity of the stuff you need to acquire to stay alive. Initially, you’ll pick up everything you need right off the ground or from conspicuous containers strewn all around the map. As the game progresses, though, the only way to acquire higher-level gear is to take down other players and loot the gear that they leave behind.

First are the wearable elements: armor, helmets, and backpacks. Armor and helmets will increase the amount of damage you can take in a gunfight, and backpacks increase the number of shield batteries, first-aid kits, and grenades you can carry. These items (along with gun attachments) are color-coded by quality: you’ll want to move from white to blue to purple to gold as you play through the round. 

Then, of course, there are guns. Apex Legends Season 7 features 24 weapons, each with unique damage, stats, and attachments. Players can carry two guns at a time. You’ll gain expertise with the weapon system over time, but everything is color-coded to keep things comprehensible, even for new players. Thus, when you pick up a shotgun, the onscreen icon is red, and shotgun ammo boxes in the world are red as well. Same for pistols and SMGs (brown), energy weapons (green), etc.

A good baseline strategy is to prepare yourself for ranged firefights as well as close-up scraps. I like to grab a shotgun for up-close work and keep something with a better scope for finding enemies further away. 

Speaking of scopes, there is a whole ecosystem of gun attachments (barrel stabilizers, extended magazines, etc.) that can mean the difference between life and death in a hectic firefight. As with so much in Apex Legends, there’s a lot here that will reward players who want to pore over the stats, but there are pretty clear onscreen guideposts to help non-experts make smart decisions. One thing to look for- when you put your crosshairs over any kind of gear, a big explanatory text box appears. For gun attachments, another box below this one will appear if the attachment works with one of the guns you’re holding, making it easy to see if you need the attachment or already have a better one equipped. Get used to looking for this bottom box to make it easier to scan over gear for what you want to snag. And remember, just as with armor, gold beats purple which beats blue which beats white.

Let Me Clear My Throat – Comms

Teamwork will give you the edge in Apex Legends, which makes communication paramount. The most fun way to play is with friends on headsets, but even if you’re solo queuing, take the time to get on mic. Especially as you start out, more experienced players will be happy that they’re paired with someone who’s paying attention, and hashing out strategy while it happens is a great way to gain expertise. 

That said, Apex Legends also has a best-in-class ping system for communicating with teammates without speaking. The right shoulder button (or center mouse button) pings whatever your crosshair is pointing at, highlighting it for all your teammates. You can use this system to suggest gear that your teammates might want to grab, point out open doors and containers that indicate nearby enemies, suggest locations to move towards, and of course to shout when you see the bad guys. Ping early and often, because the best way to win firefights is to have your whole squad shooting in the same direction.

Mama Said Knock You Out – Dying In Apex Legends

When the bullets start to fly, you will inevitably catch more than a few of them. The mechanics around dying and resurrecting teammates are unique to Apex Legends and worth understanding right from the get-go. 

If an enemy manages to bring down all of your shields and all of your health, you’ll be “knocked down,” leaving you technically alive but unable to shoot at anyone. You will be able to crawl around, hide behind your knockdown shield (another color-coded bit of gear to pick up in your travels), and frantically ping at the enemy standing over you while your teammates come to save the day. If they can get to you, you can be revived on the spot, with minimal health but all your gear intact. Because a knocked-down enemy is harmless, it’s often smart strategy to leave a knocked-down player alive to draw their teammates in on a doomed rescue mission.

If you lay a bit more damage onto a knocked-down player (or carry out one of your fancy finishing moves), they become really, very nearly dead. All of their gear becomes lootable, and their teammates must pick up their “beacon” and carry it to a respawn location where they can call for another ship to drop the teammate out of the sky, now stripped of gear and guns. This is a long, labor-intensive process visible for a half-mile in every direction that will generally get the whole team ambushed and killed, so it’s pretty common for even good-hearted teammates to let you rest in peace.

Don’t Sweat The Technique – Use A Little Strategy

As described above, Apex Legends gameplay can be incredibly deep if you put in the time, but Respawn has built-in plenty of guide rails to keep even newer players in the hunt. The way to distinguish yourself and reach a Top Ten finish is to use your head. 

The baseline proposition of battle in Apex Legends is that you’ll win firefights where you have a numerical and strategic advantage. In all other cases, you’re leaving yourself in the hands of fate. Until you become very skilled with the controls and weapons, for instance, one-on-one fights will be a mess of jumping around in a circle and panic firing where your survival odds are very low. You should always be looking for situations where your squad is synced up and get the drop on enemies, arranging 2v1 and 3v1 fights. 

The best way to do this is by placing some value on simply staying alive. Call Of Duty-style shooters with infinite respawns have led a generation of gamers to place more value on bravery than smarts. But remember- in Apex Legends, you’ve only got one precious life per round. Keep your head on a swivel and use that one life well. While other players are rushing around killing each other, you’re moving up the leaderboard just by standing there. 

It’s easy to get keyed up in a battle royale game and let adrenaline carry you forward blindly to your doom. Think carefully about what you’re trying to accomplish in any given moment and move deliberately from place to place. Have a specific strategic goal in mind and an eye out for nearby enemies.

For instance, at the outset, it’s well worth your time and attention to search around for good gear. Once you’re in the blues and purples, though, and you’ve found the best gear that’s just lying around, staring into dumpsters leaves you at a tactical disadvantage, so it’s time to switch your attention from shopping to fighting. I can’t count the number of times that my squad has fully looted our landing zone and moved to an adjacent area in search of a firefight. When no one immediately presents themselves, we blindly start opening containers again just in time to get jumped.

Move deliberately, keep a low profile, and stay on the hunt for stray enemies and squads who aren’t keeping a lookout. To me, this is the real value that differentiates Apex Legends from Fortnite and the rest- even for new players, it’s very good at creating situations where you can use your noodle a bit and act as an operator. It activates that same dorky Dad gene that makes you raise a silent fist like a Marine on recon when you need the family to stop at the cereal display in the supermarket. And there’s no better crew for dorky video game heroics than the Dad Gaming squad. Make sure to register for the December 11th event, lay in get your Pop ‘n Pour in-reach, and we’ll see you on the dropship.

Previously Unpublished Prince Album Drops This Summer

New Prince Album
(YouTube/Prince)

Prince was a legend with no true equal, whether it was as an entertainer or on the court. And even though he’s been gone for five years now, we are about to get some new music from the iconic artist, as his estate is releasing a previously unpublished album from 2010.

The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings announced earlier this month a forthcoming release of “Welcome 2 America”, recorded by the star in 2010. The press release described it as a “powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation and a renewed fight for racial justice.”

If you can’t wait for the full album, along with the release of a previously recorded full concert, you can hear the title track from “Welcome 2 America” on Spotify and Apple Music. Along with the album, the unreleased concert film (recorded from his 2011 tour of the same name) includes him covering some Bob Dylan and Janet Jackson.

The visionary reportedly had a treasure trove of unrecorded material, a mysterious vault of music intended for the children he never had. His bandmates say Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” is disillusioned funk and ‘perfect for the times’, and will be absorbed in a different way in 2021 than it would have a decade prior.

He never said why the album wasn’t released at the time, but for material that covers commentary on social media, celebrity culture, and the state of the country, it will probably still make a pretty poignant statement about the world he left behind.

The album will drop on July 30th.

Veteran in Hospice Care Has Final Wish Granted, Sees Beloved Dog One Last Time

Dying veteran sees beloved dog one last time
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

For many, dogs become far more than just pets. Their loyalty, intuition, and unconditional love make them members of the family, ones who stand by our sides during life’s most challenging moments. A veteran named John Vincent was heartbroken when he had to give up his beloved dog Patch after entering hospice care, and even during his final days, he didn’t stop thinking about his best friend.

The 69-year-old had no family nearby, and nobody he knew was willing to take in his 5-year-old companion. When Vincent was moved to the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Patch was relinquished to Albuquerque Animal Welfare.

Vincent’s condition was quickly deteriorating, and during a session with his palliative care social worker, Amy Neal, the veteran made a far-fetched last request. His last wish was to see his best friend once more, to say one last goodbye to the loyal terrier. After realizing how meaningful the reunion would be to Vincent, Neal scrambled to make the veteran’s last wish a reality.

“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely,’ and let’s do whatever we can to get it done,” Danny Nevarez, Director of Animal Welfare told the Albuquerque Journal. “It was as simple as getting Patch over here.”

As the animal welfare workers drove towards Vincent with Patch quietly in tow, something in the small pup changed.

“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevares told the Journal. “Like he had that anticipation.”

The reunion between Vincent and Patch was nothing short of extraordinary, with both man and dog perking up at the sight of one another.

Veteran in hospice says goodbye to beloved dog
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

“Yeah, that’s me, that’s daddy,” Vincent said to Patch. “Are you so happy to see me? I’m so happy to see you.”

Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared touching photos of the reunion on Facebook, grateful to be part of something so meaningful. Vincent and Patch got to take their time saying a final goodbye, closure that each of them likely needed.

“It was such a heart warming moment,” Albuquerque Animal Welfare wrote on Facebook. “They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true.

Adidas and South Park Collab For the Perfect 4/20 Shoes

Adidas South Park Towelie Shoe
(Instagram/JustJuice)

It isn’t 1992 anymore and the easiest way to tell (besides, well, a calendar) is how culture’s attitude towards cannabis has shifted. State governments are decriminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana use, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are being embraced (by some), and brands and personalities are a lot more open about weed. And that’s why you can celebrate 4/20 with the highest shoes we’ve seen.

There have been some pretty awesome shoe collaborations, but if you’re looking for a partner for 4/20, good luck beating out Adidas teaming up with one of the greatest comedies of all time and releasing a South Park-themed pair of Campus 80s.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked with the shoe company to make the perfect 4/20 shoes by leaning on everyone’s favorite cartoon-user, Towelie. The Towelie shoes have eye illustrations on the tongue, which can turn pink and bloodshot when exposed to sunlight. The shoes also have a stash pocket beneath the tongue, for whatever you may need to put in a tiny pocket. You know, right where it says “I have no idea what’s going on.”

 

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There’s more Adidas and South Park branding inside the shoe, but from a distance, it’s the blue terry cloth and trademark eyes that will help other fans quickly identify how high your shoes truly are.

South Park knows its demo, which has been a trademark of their success for a long time, and these shoes, available on (well, you know what day they’re available) are another testament to its creator’s ability to make jokes come to life.

After Two Years, the “Perfect” Super Mario Bros. Speedrun Has Been Dethroned

(Youtube/Niftski)

The original Super Mario Bros. is notoriously difficult, and I feel like anyone who can complete the game deserves some kind of medal.  You can imagine my shock then while watching Niftski’s new world record speedrun that clocks in at 4 minutes and 54 seconds.  This is some next-level Mario Bros. gameplay.

Before we get to that run though, we need to go back to September 25th, 2018.  This was the day streamer Kosmic achieved the (previously) “perfect” Super Mario Bros. speedrun world record with a time of 4:55.913, which had only ever been achieved during a tool-assisted run.  These tool-assisted runs are special programs that allow creators to play perfectly, giving them an idea of just how far they can potentially push a game to its limits.  As experts continued to tinker with different speedrun methods, there were tool-assisted runs that would end up clocking in at under 4:55, but what Kosmic had done was as perfect as humanly possible.  Could anyone achieve a better time than his?  How do you improve on perfection?

It wouldn’t be until April 7th, 2021 that streamer Niftski would blow everyone’s minds.  He pulled off a perfect run like no other, just barely sneaking in by milliseconds and setting a new world record of 4:54.948.  I don’t even want to know how many attempts it took to reach this point, but watching this will leave your palms sweaty.  Each jump over an enemy is so close to ending Niftski’s run, it physically pains me to watch.  As he inches closer towards the end, the chat starts to go absolutely berserk and once he knocks Bowser into the lava for the last time, the sheer joy from Niftski’s voice tells you all that hard work has paid off.

“IT HAS FINALLY BEEN DONE! THE 55 BARRIER IS NO LONGER. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. This was my 2nd run ever on this pace into 8-4, so I am blessed to say I finished it out. This is a time I can be proud of for the rest of my life. Also, I don’t plan on stopping here! ;)”

I have a hard enough time jumping on Goomba’s properly, so Niftski’s speedrun is a sight to behold, with each movement being executed with precision.  What’s also interesting is Niftski uses a keyboard to play.  The original NES controller is pretty uncomfortable by today’s standards, but I couldn’t imagine using anything other than that.  I guess if you are going to be playing Mario Bros. as much as these guys do though, comfort is key.

Now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if anyone can beat this new record.  Will we be waiting weeks or years to find out?  I hope for Niftski’s sake it’s a very long time.

Drink Your Way Through the 7 Kingdoms With the GoT Iron Anniversary IPA

Game of Thrones IPA
(IG/Mikkelerbeer)

Game of Thrones is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its premiere on HBO, and if there’s one great way to celebrate an Iron Anniversary (or any anniversary, to be fair), it’s beer. And Danish brewery Mikkeller is ON IT, collaborating with the fine people of Westeros and HBO to produce a “Game of Thrones” Iron Anniversary IPA.

 

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This is the first in a series of “Game of Thrones” beers brewed in partnership with the folks at Warner Bros, so if an IPA isn’t your thing, maybe they’ll release a Night King stout or a Targaryen White Ale, or maybe a red ale to memorialize that one wedding everyone loved.

The point is, soon you will be able to channel your inner-Tyrion and drink your way through the Seven Kingdoms. And if you have enough of them, you’ll forget the divisive last season ever happened, and you’ll remember the good old days of Thrones, when it was one of the best shows on TV.

It was truly revolutionary, and it’s not their fault that George R.R. Martin wrote a brilliant story that even he couldn’t finish. If you stumble at the end, shouldn’t you still get credit for the great years before it?

Either way, the Iron Anniversary IPA will transport you back to a simpler time, when you could actually discuss a hit show around a water cooler, and not over Zoom.

“We have done a lot of collaborations, but this is without a doubt the biggest so far, and we are extremely proud and happy to get this opportunity,” the brewery founder said.

The first beer, and merch, will be available starting on April 17, with more beers and lagers to come later this year.

WOW: Owen Wilson Has Said “Wow” 81 Times in 27 Movies

Owen Wilson Says Wow 81 Times
(YouTube/Owenergy)

When the Loki trailer came out last week, fans were excited. The ‘correcting the timeline’ concept has a lot of potential for fun hijinks, there were potentially huge easter eggs in the trailer alone (Black Widow?), and Owen Wilson has a major role.

Wilson was a big deal for a while before some personal issues got in the way of his career, and while he hadn’t totally disappeared before Loki, this is his first high-profile gig in a while and his first for TV. He looks like he’s having fun as Loki’s foil, Mobius, the Time Variance Authority agent tasked with managing the God of Mischief, and it will be a blast to see him, and his mustache, on Disney+ this summer.

There was one thing missing from the trailer though: his signature wow.

Much like Keanu‘s “whoa,” the word “wow” has become associated with Owen Wilson over his years as a movie star, and Screen Rant has broken down exactly why: the actor has said the word 81 times in 27 movies over the course of his career! He’s been in 52 movies, and frankly, it’s a little shocking that he hasn’t said it in every single one, but 27 out of 52 is 51.9% (Screen Rant did the math), so it’s pretty common.

Apparently, he says “wow” the most in… the Woody Allen movie he appeared in Midnight In Paris (and which Tom Hiddleston costars). He says it seven times in that movie, as he interacts with long-dead literary heroes from days past, which I suppose warrants some shock. Hopefully, some of the stuff Loki gets up to in the forthcoming Disney+ MCU series will elicit a few wows from our man too. They won’t count towards his movie tally, but they’ll be fun just the same.

Check out Mr. Wilson in action before he hits Disney+ this summer:

Father Figures: The Small Things

“This is my husband and daughter. As you can see, the love they have for each other has not changed.

I remember asking my husband as we were getting to know each other many moons ago, ‘What is one thing you want in your life that you don’t have?’ His answer was immediate, ‘A daughter.’

Who knew I would end up being the lucky gal to give that to him?

He is a wonderful father to three children, but she is our only daughter. He’s the kind of dad that knows and cares enough to pay attention to the small things.

When she’s cranky every month, he goes to the store and buys her favorite chocolate, a Coke and some Midol and then retreats to a safe distance for survival. Then, when she feels better, she still crawls into his lap and hugs him.

She will know how a man is supposed to treat a woman, not only because of how well he treats her, but she also sees how he treats her mother.”

– Christina Miller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

8-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Breaks Girl Scout Cookie Record by Selling 32k+ Boxes

Lilly Bumpus 8yo Cancer Survivor Cookies
(Facebook/lilly.bumpus.9)

“Anything is possible when you make it possible!” Those were the wiser-than-her year’s words from 8-year-old Lilly Bumpus, words she held onto when she beat childhood cancer, and a mantra she came back to when she set the national record for my Girl Scout Cookies in one season earlier this spring. Lilly shattered the record by selling 32,484 boxes of cookies, a truly astonishing feat. She beat the previous record by more than 8,000 boxes.

And, she’s using some of the proceeds to give back to other childhood cancer warriors in hospitals around the nation. Part of her tally was 5,000 donation boxes that will be going to other kids suffering from cancer, helping feed the homeless, and to deployed troops.

Lilly was born with a form of childhood cancer and has been cancer-free for 7 years, although the road has had its share of difficulties for her, according to her mom. Because of cancer, she can’t do physical activities like sports and cheerleading, so her mom got her involved in Girl Scouts so she could have some normal extracurricular activity. When she hit the 7-year cancer-free mark, her family shared her accomplishment:

“Let my Lilly remind you today, Don’t EVER give up on your dreams. No matter how big or small. No matter if it’s for your physical or mental Health… YOU ARE WORTH IT! Keep fighting and know when YOU prove the impossible is possible, you light a way for others to follow. Be the light. Always be the light.”

This was a hard year to sell for Girl Scouts since a lot of traditional methods were limited due to COVID. No more having dad sell boxes in the office when everyone is remote, no more door-to-door sales in most of the country. But, for the second straight year, troops could sell online, and Lilly was in a booth selling with every free moment, in addition to making cookie deliveries before and after school most days.

Her mom said “When I told her at the beginning of the season how tough it would be to sell this year, she told me, ‘Nothing is impossible if everybody chose to make it possible.'”

Lilly said it meant so much to her to see that final number.

Her mom thanked the community for their support when they officially broke the record. She also thanked other families of “cancer warriors” from around the country who helped their crusade by buying boxes from Lilly. She also said when she told Lilly that people overseas even bought boxes, Lilly replied:

“The world hates cancer just like we do mom. It’s time for us all to work together to end it! End it for once and for all”

Her mom responded by posting:

“Dear world…… you’re showing my 8 year old cookie hustling cancer survivor that together we can and will end cancer. That nothing is impossible when you make it possible!”

Lilly’s story and her hustle are incredible, and it will take people like her (and so many others) to end the scourge of childhood cancer.

Boys Who Play Video Games Linked To Lower Risk of Depression

Video Games Lowers Depression Risk
(Getty/Westend61)

One of the craziest culture changes for Dads of a certain age has been the attitude towards gaming. Once the scourge of pearl-clutchers everywhere, video games were blamed for everything from falling grades to violent crimes. Now, we have professional gamers, Dad gamers, proof that playing together with your kids is good, and more.

The latest is a research study that found boys who regularly play video games at age 11 were less likely to develop depression years later. The study, published by Psychological Medicine, found that boys who played video games most days had 24 percent fewer depression symptoms three years later than boys who rarely played video games. This finding was most significant among boys with low activity levels, so it’s not suggesting you can’t make your kids run around all day in the backyard if that’s what they like to do.

What it IS saying, though, is that if you have a kid that’s not super active, playing video games is not a bad recreation. They’ve been proven to help problem-solving skills and have added social and cooperative benefits. Video games aren’t bad anymore, is the point.

Caveat; anything can be bad in excess, obviously if your kids are playing 18 hours of Fortnite a day, that *may* be something to look into. But if your kid likes some gaming time, well join the dang club.

“While we cannot confirm whether playing video games actually improves mental health, it didn’t appear harmful in our study and may have some benefits,” the lead author of the study said. “Particularly during the pandemic, video games have been an important social platform for young people.”

Video games can benefit the mental health of children is the takeaway. But let’s not think they are just for kids, as the many, many people of The Dad Gaming Group can tell you, those mental health benefits are out there for anyone who can get in some quality time on Rocket League, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, FIFA, Red Dead Redemption II, or whatever your distraction of choice may be.

Encourage your kids to be active, sure, have screen time rules, of course. But also remember, no matter what people in their 60s say, it’s not the devil.