Arcadian Dad

By Sal Haque 2019-07-05 02:21:21

Sal Haque explores alternative parenting methods

Father’s Day has come and the Shanghai singledad game is sharp. There aren’t many of us. We’re a rare, yet awesome breed. Paternal, yet vulnerable. Confused, yet confident. Juggling the modern day hustle, bringing the bread, and schooling the youth. Breakfast to bath-time son!

We hit the playground like a poor mans Adam Sandler. We’re not totally sure what we’re doing, but we’re getting it done, often in a befuddled yet semi-responsible manner. One of the toughest parts of the parenting game is filling the hours. Like, pick up your five-year old from school, and crush about four hours before dinner. You want to do it right, but you also want to both be entertained and relaxed in the process. ‘Cause you got a full evening of parenting ahead of you, plus bath, books, and bed, and lawd-knows getting the kid to sleep, you could very well pass-out next to him, abruptly ending any potential for getting some work done, or just chilling with a beer and watching the Good Place-not Ted Danson’s finest work. So after a full day at the office, coming into an evening of parenting, I give you the “Arcade Emulator”. It’s essentially a video-game console with a thousand 80’s and 90’s video game classics. You’ll find them in a few downtown restaurants. Mario Brothers, Golden Axe, Donkey Kong…the whole shebang. It’s a nice way to hang with your kid, connect, and bridge the generational gap with some fun nostalgia. Like teaching vital vocabulary like,"Shuruyuuuuuken!!!!!!"

I don't hit the full-on arcade. Generally speaking arcades aren’t really that family-friendly. They’re loud, obnoxious, potentially smoke-filled, and there’s usually a prairie of Grandmas grazing on their phones, while their grandkids run riot. Not my scene. I prefer an actual restaurant/café/ bar. They’re usually relatively empty after school, allowing your kid a good amount of space. Put three tables together, spread out some construction paper, dump a box of jigsaw pieces or crayons, and let your kid indulge, while you sit on an entirely separate table enjoying your beer and peacefully responding to your eight-thousand WeChat messages. Real talk!

I can recommend two spots with an arcade emulator, and they’re both pretty cool. You have got Coma, down on Xinle road and Donghu, a real minimal Japanese-style bar with a wicked happy hour, and solid music. Their stairs are a bit steep, so watch the kids and hold the railing. The struggle is real. Hit up the man Tyler, when you’re down there, a really nice fellow.

The other spot is Hoyhoy (formerly the Grumpy Pig) at Maoming and Yan'an. They have got a decent happy hour with two-for-one Asahi’s for a smooth fifty kuai, so you can have a couple of beers after work, and play early 90’s video games with your child. “Turtles in Time” and “Street Fighter Alpha 3”. Not a bad look. We spent about two hours there battling Pokemon, snacking, and making pseudoresponsible decisions…like, should I have ordered a salad?… Probably. Would he have even eaten a salad? Maybe. But did I placate him with french-fries and a slop-full of ketchup?… Yeah, I did. I totally did!

It’s a super easy way to kill a couple of hours. They have got food, space in their courtyard, and it’s very likely you’ll get the entire place to yourself. They’re playing old-school rockabilly at a volume low enough for even the most discerning parent, and if your kid’s playing up, you can straightup just shut the arcade machine off. It’s that easy. Bring a coloring book, some Pokemon cards, and whatever mashed-up stuffed animal he wants to bring, and buffer activities with some good ol’fashion video games. It’s pretty awesome father-son/daughter time, and it can really ease some of the strain from after-work parenting.


Enjoyed the alternative perspective, thanks Sal!

2019-07-14 17:59:19