Girlfriend of a gamer

Game Rush
Game Rush may be in Blockbuster, but only in the way the Confederacy is "in" the Union.

Do you or does someone you know have a partner who is a gamer? Well I imagine if you are reading this uber nerdy site that you do or you are one. For many gamers, gaming is not just a habit but a way of life. Gamers eat, sleep and breath video gaaaaaames. I learned this lesson the hard way when I fell in love with a fan boy. Being in a relationship with a gamer is not easy. There are the long hours spent waiting while your gamer guy/gal looks through piles of used games hoping to find that hidden gem, or the times when your partner totally ignores you because they are completely immersed in a game. Just one more level! Do these words sound familiar?

Last year I accompanied my boyfriend to a conference in California. We spent most of our time at the conference however we decided on our last day we would drive by the mountains and go to the beach. Unfortunately, we never made it to the mountains. Instead we spent most of our day at Blockbuster looking for used video games. Maybe I could have been more understanding if this were an authentic video game store selling games not sold in the US but Blockbuster? They don’t even sell NC17 movies. Although our trip ended on a sour note, we made it to the beach with enough time to get sunburned and I eventually stopped pouting.

In the beginning I found my boyfriend’s nerdiness to be endearing and I even blushed when he told me that he played D&D. We shared a common love of books, movies, and Watermelon Bacardi Breezers. However as time went by his sick obsession with gaming became more apparent and I started to get frustrated. At first I didn’t mind waiting while he shopped for new games. However as the minutes turned into hours, my patience grew thin. I remember during a trip to New York we hit six Game Stops in one day.

Whenever his friends would come over, they would get into long heated discussions about plot sequence and the visual schematics of Final Fantasy VI. I was lost in a sea of acronyms. Forget all those years studying at the Sorbonne and my background in ancient Japanese cutlery, my contributions to any group conversation were useless. I could not decipher the GBA from the FPS. To any gamer this is simple terminology, however to a non-gamer it’s complete hogwash.

There was also the dreaded ex who scored an ultra-rare copy of some stupid Japanese game at a garage sale and anytime someone says garage sale I have to hear that story. I felt like I would never live up to his expectations. Growing up most of my time was spent outdoors and I rarely played video games. I briefly owned a Sega handheld, which was later thrown into a swimming pool, but besides that I knew little about gaming. In order to save our relationship I decided that I would make more of an effort to play/watch video games.

Football game
Those portable DVD players are a joke. The Game Gear TV tuner is where the real technology is.

First my boyfriend tried to get me involved in gaming by having me watch him and his friend play Tales of Symphonia. At that point I think he wanted me to break up with him. I find RPG’s, that’s role playing games for you non-gamers, to be extremely boring because I have A.D.D. and I’m illiterate (I was forced to write that!). I don’t think it’s a good idea to start a non-gamer with an RPG because they are often long and complicated. Instead start with something familiar and not too challenging, like Mario.

My boyfriend then tried to make video games more appealing to me by relating to them in terms of art. It was beneficial for both of us because while he taught me about video game design I encouraged him to learn more about art. Eventually we found games that we could play together like Zelda and Katamari. For Christmas he bought me a DS and for the past few months I have been playing Wario Touched. I used to view video games as a waste of time and although I’ll never be a true gamer (sigh) I enjoy "gaming" much more than I used to.

In the next edition of this column I’ll give you a review or two of some games from my ignorant perspective, so hold your breath.

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