Irrelevant update of the week: I know, I know I’ve been terrible this August haven’t I? Between travelling for work, moving house and general business, I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging. But September’s almost upon us and things are settling down again, so here’s hoping September will give me more time with you guys!
If you follow me on Twitter you might know that my partner @Grumbl3dookgaming, whose real name is also Sam (believe it or not) and I are both pretty rabid, I mean avid, gamers. Given his Twitter handle you’re probably not terribly surprised. I guess the term ‘gaming couple’ probably describes us pretty accurately. Our living room is basically one large gaming cave filled with consoles, TVs, 2 gaming PCs – one for each and a ridiculous number of handhelds. Admittedly everything other than Sam’s PC and the Vita I bought him are mine, because he’s pretty much just on PC and I tend to flit between platforms depending where the best games are. So why am I telling you all this other than the fact that I like filling your heads with inane and useless info? Well, I recently I spotted this tweet by @Chindividual and it got me thinking:
Playing # together with my SO makes me wonder why she hasn’t strangled me yet.
Most people think that it must super duper sunshine and rainbows awesome to be have be in ‘gaming relationship’. They have visions of hours spent playing a game together, laughing and enjoying life to the fullest, because what could be more amazing than sharing your greatest hobby with your partner? They get it! They understand all your stupid nerdy jokes! They don’t care when you need to finish this match before you can come to dinner! And yes, it’s all true, to a certain extent. After all, having any sort of shared interests, particularly ones that you’re both passionate about and can bond over is pretty amazing. In fact, I think fondly back on all the times we spent playing World of Warcraft or Unreal Tournament together and all the times I’ve creeped him out doing my best ‘turret voice’ from Portal (particularly late at night when he’s least expecting it). Good times.
However, let’s get real, it might not be as harmonious and smooth sailing as you might think, especially when it comes to actually playing games together. There are definitely practical issues as well that can get annoying at times. If we didn’t make a concerted effort to get out of the house occasionally, we’d probably just be stuck at home like two content house cats who just don’t want to go outside. Gaming couples, at least in my experience, can sometimes tend more towards the anti-social than those of my friend in non-gaming relationships, because seriously, what could parties and the great outdoors offer that we couldn’t experience from the comfort of our sofa? To be fair, this is probably an issue that a lot of gamers suffer, but it can be a significantly magnified issue when you’d both prefer to lounge around, stuffing your face with Cheez-Its and getting stuck into your favourite games. Plus, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking you’ve got all the social interaction you need right at home!
And then there are the difficulties of actually playing games together, whether it be co-op or competitive. The number of times I’ve heard of and personally seen couples argue over a game, even a co-op one is mind-boggling. Depending on your relationship, it might not actually be anything like gaming with friends – you can’t necessarily be as rude and obnoxious as you are when you’re gaming with your friends (or is that just me?). Love and mutual respect can go out the window pretty damn quickly! It’s not even necessarily a good test of a relationship. It’s not like problem-solving in relationships generally. Even co-op gaming breeds a pretty competitive mindset – anyone who’s played Super Mario Bros can attest to this. Of course, if you’re not a particularly competitive person, this might not be an issue for you at all, but to be honest, a LOT of gamers I’ve met seem to be. Games seem to enhance any natural aggression you have, at least that’s been my experience with it. Some of the most chilled out people I know go completely ballistic at minor infractions by other player.
As for competitive games… Now there’s a can of worms! I’d definitely recommend not trying these types of games until you’ve at least had a crack at co-op and figured out whether it’s possible for you to play with your significant other without wanting to strangle them by the end of the night. Luckily both me and my partner are pretty much assholes to each other way (in a nice way though, if that makes any sense), soooo gaming together doesn’t really change that either way. I don’t mind him calling me a ‘noob’ sometimes and neither does he. He also doesn’t mind it if I can’t help but shout ‘in your face’ when I get a higher score than him. We’re super classy aren’t we?
But I definitely don’t want you to be put off from trying to game together. It can be done as many gamer couples will tell you! And in fact, if it works for you, it can become a really special thing that you share with each other. My partner and I have happily gamed together many a time and we even get pretty competitive with each other, which should be pretty obvious by now. It can also actually be a great way to learn to be healthily competitive or cooperative… if you don’t murder each other first. But don’t feel bad if it’s not your thing – there’s nothing wrong with ‘gaming separately together’ either! You’re still sharing your interests, just in a less combative way!
Let me know what your thoughts are! Do you game with your significant other? Have you ever wanted to kill him/her as a result?