You wake up in the morning and you have a full day of gaming planned. Maybe you will start off with handing another defeat to young Jim’s FIFA team before rescuing Earth from the Reapers. After a short break for lunch you assassinate a few targets with Agent 47 before cracking open a few beers to go along with some Gears before finally dispatching some zombies in a community night.
This was your life nine months ago. This may be your life again in a few years time but for now and the next few months this life will cease to exist. Some people will tell you that the two words you will be emailing, texting and tweeting the most over the next 36 months will be “Rain Check”; Not I.
One night, at 2am, it dawned on me. Not straight away but gradually, the thought will popped into my head as I cradled my new bundle of joy in one arm whilst holding the bottle of milk they were sucking on with the opposite hand. This truly was a new parent epiphany.
After a few attempts and a can of Mr.Sheen I soon realised that I could not buff my new childs head to enough of a shine for it to be picked up by the PlayStation Eye camera and the idea for the child to double up as a move controller was not a smart one. This is because the Eye Camera picks up the different coloured lights within the shiny ball not the ball itself.
As a side note, the best next step is not to grab a highlighter pen and colour your childs head. This is mainly because the Eye Camera will not pick this up either as well as the fact highlighter pen does not wash off very easily. Finally trying to explain to your health visitor why your new son or daughter has a bright blue head is not the easiest of conversations.
What I did discover however is that I could play games that, although not designed to be, can be easily and competently played with a single hand. Once I was comfortable holding my milk sucking rug-rat and their bottle in a same arm/hand combination then I was ready to enter the world of one handed gaming.
Based in the Warlords Game universe you take on the role of a character with various RPG style statistics such as Combat Ability, Morale and Magical Affinity. During the game you take on various quests as part of a main storyline as well as accepting side quests in order to both speed up leveling and obtain various items.
Using a simple top down map with towns and villages connected by simple roads with enemies periodically appearing to block your path in which you have to clear by the means of battle. Combat in all of the Puzzle Quest titles is conducted entirely via a turn based, match three puzzle game with the colour and number of tiles removed determining what actions – such as damage, spells or regeneration to name but three – takes place to either you or your opponent.
With two sequels and a lot of DLC, the Puzzle Quest franchise will keep your one hand occupied for some time.
Sam & Max: Save the World (Series 1) and Beyond Time & Space (Series 2)
As has become the forte of TellTale Games, both of these Sam & Max games are point and click episodic adventure titles. Based on Steve Purcell’s comic book series each of the episodes within each game features one case for our favourite anthropomorphic dog and hyper-kinetic rabbit thing to solve, with an over arcing plot running through the series.
Controlling Sam, you can explore the environment using the simple point and click functions, whilst looking for puzzles to solve. These puzzles are all fairly simple with a logic factor incorporated into them. Of course being set within a cartoon world, you have to occasionally apply some far-fetched logic at times.
True to the heritage of Sam & Max you can never truly die or become completely stuck in a dead end. Perfect when your brain has shut down at 4am.
.detuned is a demo-scene project released exclusively on the PlayStation 3 and was the second of its kind after Linger In Shadows.
Featuring a man sat in a chair surround by a psychedelic environment. With the ability to change the various modes using the trigger buttons and analogue sticks you can apply a number of changes to the man, the environment or the background music.
Although not truly a “game” as such I think that .detuned warrants a place on the list, if only for you to have an opportunity to brag about completing 100% of a titles trophy list whilst feeding your newborn.
We are getting some bang for your one handed buck here. I’m including The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge and Tales of Monkey Island in a nice little bundle.
Known for its humour and player friendly qualities, The Monkey Island franchise is an enjoyable romp of point and click goodness. With some of the biggest names in point and click history involved, such as Steve Purcell and Ron Gilbert it is hard not to find something to like at some point during each of these games.
Each of the storys take place on and around fictional islands in the golden age of piracy. No not the Metallica/Napster era, but when pirates and dreamers searched across pop culture reference littered islands in search of buried treasure. If each of these games does have you chortling at some stage then there is just something wrong with you.
Filled with logical puzzles, these titles will keep you busy for hours. When you do get stuck for 30 minutes on a puzzle you will soon facepalm yourself when you do work it out and release how simple and obvious even the hardest puzzle becomes.
Much like Sam & Max, you cannot put any of these games into an un-winnable state or kill Guybrush; well not without some great amount of effort. Even if you do get stuck the humour and pop culture references will keep you entertained until you have a brain wave.
Pac-Man Championship Edition
This game needs no introduction. The basic gameplay of Pac-Man Championship Edition consists entirely of navigating Pac-Man through a maze, eating dots, power pellets and bonus items whilst avoiding the attentions of the four ghosts that also roam the maze.
There are some major differences from the original which makes this edition of Pac-man a much faster paced game. The longer the player stays alive, the faster the game gets and the more points can be earned. As opposed to levels, the game is played within a certain time limit, with players attempting to get the highest score possible.
This, however, makes the game more for parents of the more settled feeders and sleepers as you often have to have your wits about you in order to progress throughout the game.
The spiritual successor to Flow; a more relaxing game you will probably never find. Through the movement of the PlayStation 3 game controller you control the wind and in turn a petal which is blowing gracefully in said breeze.
Within each level there are groups and lines of flowers and approaching these with your petal will cause them to bloom and add a new petal to trail the first. Adding these petals adds a chime and more harmonies to the music which itself dynamically adjusts to the changes in the environment.
With no enemies, hit points or time limits it is impossible to lose this game and the entire experience will take you just over a hour from start to finish.
Jetpack Joyride is not only one handed gaming it is essentially one fingered gaming as it utilizes a one touch system to power the titular jet-pack. The objective – as is the same in most endless runners – is to travel as far as possible, collecting coins, Spin Tokens and avoiding lasers.
Multicolured Gear boxes can be found throughout the levels and these give a vehicular upgrade ranging from a motorbike, a dragon or a teleporter to an ED209 style robot and a gravity suit all of which can also be controlled with a single finger.
At the start of each level you are presented with three missions that you can either ignore or undertake during your next run. Completion of these missions grants stars which increase your level and reward a coin bonus for each level completed.
Your controller battery, your sanity or your childs ability to stay awake any longer will run out well before the re-playability of Jetpack Joyride.
With over 100 levels and challenges, once you start Peggle it is a hard one to put down. Each level features an arrangement of about 100 pegs which corresponds with each levels background image. The goal of each level is to hit 25, randomly selected at the start of each level, orange pegs with 10 balls.
Failure to complete this objective will cause you to restart the level whilst success will see you move onto the next stage. Every five levels in the Adventure mode correspond to playing with one of the ten “Masters”. Each of the Peggle Masters has a unique special ability that is activated when the player strikes one of the two randomly selected green pegs on the board. Some abilities activate immediately; one causes a second ball to be generated from the green peg when struck. Other abilities will have effects that activate on the next shot or for several more shots; such as showing the ball’s path including rebounds.
Although at times frustrating, Peggle is always satisfying and as there are no time limits or lives as such it is once again impossible to completely fail at this game.
Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures
Set over four episodes Grand Adventures tells the story of our hapless hero and his faithful canine as they initially start up a honey business “From Bee To You” and ending up saving their town from the local country club whilst saving some local stray dogs on the way.
Featuring the slapstick humour, visuals and charm of the TV series and films, there is a lot to like about Wallace & Gromits Grand Adventures and when you add the appeal of TellTale Games episodic point and click expertise you have an entertaining one handed game for young and old alike.
Full House Poker
Full House Poker is a Texas Hold ‘em variant of poker featuring your very own avatar in a TV poker style setting. With the ability to play against your friends (if they are also up at 4am) or up to 30 AI controlled players in either a tournament or head to head challenge there is always something to do in Full House Poker.
As there are no time limits to making your choices to raise or call, the game trundles along at a pace that you personally decide. Need to make some more milk? Don’t worry; Full House Poker will wait for you. You can watch your avatar happily play with his chips as you scramble around for the dummy that your baby has just launched half way across the room.
Full House Poker was my very first bottle feeding game and encouraged me to look for others. As an indication of how limited my gaming was, or maybe it’s just an indication of how much he didn’t sleep, when my son was feeding through the night I managed to sink 35 hours into the game over the space of 3 weeks paternity leave.
So there we have it, 10 games that can be played one handed is actually 10 franchises containing 15 games that you can play with one hand and that should keep you going in the long nights ahead.
Tags: .detuned, Bottle feeding, COD BLOPS 2, Fifa, flower, full house poker, Gears of War, gromit, hitman, jetpack joyride, Mass Effect, Microsoft, Midwife, MIdwive, monkey island, Newborn, pacman, peggle, PlayStation, PlayStation Move, puzzle quest, sam and max, Sony, Telltale Games, wallace, xbox