The real world is much more exciting than video games. The trouble is that it’s a tough sell to our children. They immerse themselves in worlds where slaying dragons and earning a million gold coins is the norm. How can a parent compete with that?

That’s the question that the Adventure Dad website hopes to answer.

Who is Adventure Dad?

I am. My name is Joe Dean and I’m the father of three sons, now ages 19, 20 and 24 (as of 2021.) Like every parent, I’ve struggled in my efforts to create lasting family memories with my sons and tearing them away from their screens has been a constant struggle. We seriously limited their screen time to only two hours per week (one hour on Saturday and one on Sunday) while they were growing up. In the early years what we found was that although they weren’t playing video games during the week, much of their conversations and focus were still on the games, discussing strategies for difficult levels, bragging about their latest achievements and reliving the highlights from the previous weekend’s video game exploits. Trying to get them excited about hobbies, sports and other skills that will help them in the real world proved nearly fruitless and left me frustrated most of the time.

That’s when I changed my game tactics…

Let me begin by saying that for the past 20 years I’ve owned my own adventure design company for corporate events, private parties and fundraisers. I’m hired to bring in actors and themed props in an effort to create a whole world for my clients to interact with. I was creating MMO’s in the real world before the MMO existed online. It’s been a great job, unstable thanks to our unstable economy, but a great time has been had by all. I took my skills that I’ve developed for my work and translated them into activities for my sons.

The results were astonishing.

I began creating what I called “Adventure Nights.” Although the formats and themes for the Adventure Nights have evolved drastically over the years (i.e. What I did for them as teens was a lot different than when they were in Kindergarten,) the focus was bringing the adventure that they experienced within the video games to the real world. I’ve been known to send them on real spy missions within the city and hunting for Bigfoot in the woods. Over the years I also learned to incorporate many of the more addictive and engaging aspects of video games into the Adventure Nights, such as Experience Points (XP), rankings and leveling up.

In that spirit, this website was created. I’d love to share with everyone my victories (and defeats) over creating these types of adventures in hopes that you might get inspired to do the same for yours. It’s been over a decade of providing these activities for my sons and now that they are older, they love to share with their friends what we did as a family and even INVITE them to future ones (yep, I still do it for them!…when there’s a time where we’re all together, that is, now that they all have adult schedules!) Our Family Adventure Nights will probably go down as the fondest memories that my sons have as a family. And that feels great!

What did our Adventure Nights achieve beyond just a good feeling and great memories? For one, they broadened my sons minds as to what the world was all about. They learned that although video games are great (they still love them!) there are OTHER things in the world that can be a lot more exciting! They are all three very adventurous in spirit – willing to try ANYTHING new! Additionally, it broadened their own exploration of themselves and have been inspired on their own to learn foreign languages and pick up different artisan skills…ON THEIR OWN. Because they found themselves inspired, they explored new hobbies on their own.

Here you’ll find fleshed out ideas for creating live adventures for your family and friends along with resources for helping to make the adventure real and exciting.

So – have fun perusing and don’t forget…it’s not the idea that will create the memory but what you choose to do with it!!!