Everyday Gamer

Everyday Gamer
Games Are For Kids

Mark Patience | 8 Jan 2008 08:01
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"Give me five minutes to finish this room, and save and we'll head out," I say with a polite smile on my face.

"Oh great, I come all the way down and all you want to do is play games. I don't know why I bother," she says.

"No, really, I'll only be a few minutes. I just want to finish and save up so I don't have to spend 20 minutes replaying this chamber."

"Is that all you ever do? Don't you ever do anything else? God, you're so childish!"

By this point I'm getting annoyed. What's the problem? Can't she sit in a chair for five minutes and paint her nails? Can't she maybe watch what's happening on screen, you never know, she might actually enjoy it?

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All of this is despite the fact I very rarely play games when we are together. It's just not worth the hassle. Admittedly it could just be because girls like to be fussed over if they haven't seen you in a few days, and that's fair enough. Also, I'm not convinced they are all that great about seeing their partner's attention elsewhere when they feel it ought to be fully on them. Whatever the reason, it's a regular source of ire in our relationship.

I try to look at the whole thing objectively, but I can't. I've been playing videogames from the age of 11. I'm 35 now, so it's probably fair to say games will remain (at least for the near future) my main hobby. I've had so much fun playing games over the years that I'm completely and utterly biased.

I've tried to explain these feelings to her, but as in all aspects of life, if other people haven't experienced something for themselves, they simply don't understand.

Giving her my old DS when I bought a DS Lite has certainly helped things a little, because now I get to respond to her by reminding her that she is in fact a Zoo Keeper addict. She's also fantastic at Tetris, and I can't touch any of her high scores. It's funny how gaming is only childish when it suits her to feel that way. Perhaps it's just a relationship thing and actually has very little to do with games at all.

I've often wondered what it might be like to have a partner who understood my hobby. I can imagine the earlier Friday night scene replaced with someone coming in and asking inquisitively what this strange game was that I was playing. I can see them sitting down and expressing an interest and then getting drawn into the game just as I am.

I sound as if I want to swap my partner out for a newer model but that's not really the case. I don't want to make her sound like an ogre either, as she is also one of the kindest, most warm-hearted people I've ever met (those words should save me a physical beating once she reads this).

How might she feel if she arrived down some Friday night and I was painting a picture, brush in hand? You know, I still think she'd be narked that I wasn't waiting and anticipating her eventual arrival, rose between my teeth, guitar in hand and singing a sonnet.

I've already staked my claim on the spare room if we ever get married and buy a house together. She's actually agreed I can put the big TV in and all the consoles in there as long as I don't spend every waking minute ignoring her. I think this may be the beginning of her accepting me as I am. She's had six good years to beat the gamer out of me with no success whatever. Maybe one day I'll get the pleasure of her expressing an interest in something that is genuinely dear to my heart. I won't hold my breath though: This is real life I'm talking about, not a game, and I can only hold my breath for a minute or so without turning blue.

Mark Patience is a freelance contributor to The Escapist.

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