The myth of the gaming couple

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On the latest Xbox podcast, I made fun of Xbox guy Graeme Selvan  for imagining that he’d find a woman who wanted to play Diablo with him. Most of my teasing was about the fact that she will have probably have moved on to a different game, and part of it was simply to troll him because it’s just too easy. However, I have been thinking a lot about women who game, and the idea of couples who game together.

When I first met my husband, we bonded over an afternoon spent playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the Wii. We both enjoyed playing games across consoles and PC (yes, he has a real PC, not a Mac), as well as reading comics and manga, watching anime and collecting figurines. For many of you, this sounds like the ideal relationship, I’m sure.

Gamer couple 1

However, as he pointed out recently, we don’t generally engage in “Marital Team, Go!” gaming. With the exception of League of Legends now and then (read: it happened twice), we generally don’t play games together. Sure, I’ll happily be co-pilot while he plays Dark Souls – pulling up maps on the tablet and pointing out dangerous points. However, it’s very rare that we couch co-op.

I suppose part of it comes down to the games that we play. Most RPGs are pure single player experiences, and even on MMORPGs we both prefer loner characters. It can be fun to play MOBA together, but less so than I imagined. I don’t want to feel emotional about not healing him in time, and I certainly can’t play against him. Maybe if we played a shooter or something together it would be more conducive to cooperative play, but then we’d have to share the screen space. We couldn’t handle that in Resident Evil 5.

It’s not to say that women play the wrong games to play co-op with their partners. I play plenty of hardcore games. However, it’s not as if we can play Skyrim or Witcher together, and I wouldn’t like to try and co-op anything split screen again. Even when sharing screens, it always feels like someone is pushing or pulling the screen in a different direction. Gavin says Diablo III is actually really good about that, and yet I know that I’d get irritated if he wanted to go in one direction on the map and I wanted to go in a different one.

Gamer couple 2

Chatting to those people who are also married to gamers, it seems that I am not alone in this. Most people play different types of games, or at different paces. It’s not to say that couples can’t or don’t play games together, it’s just not as you might imagine. I love playing on the 3DS while the hubster jams Monster Hunter. Or he’ll check out maps and quests for me on the tablet while I play on console. Or, we sit in the study together, each playing Steam games and occasionally sending each other lewd messages through chat. Yes, we want to both play games together, but that doesn’t mean we need to play the same game together.

I often hear about guys who wish their partners would get into gaming. How can gamers and non-gamers be together? How about the same way people with any range of hobbies can be together? Also, before you tell me how you wish your wife/girlfriend would play games, how about you see if she isn’t already playing games on her phone or tablet. So you want her to play the same games you play? Then you can experience the same marital bliss of debating who gets time with the TV/console.

Gamer couple 3

I’d love to hear from you all about this. Do you play games with your partner? Do you have a fantasy of finding Mr/Mrs Right with whom you could play games? How do you imagine you’d manage it? Also, feel free to recommend games you think would be more enjoyable to co-op. So far, I’m just looking forward to Super Mario 3D World for some awesome family bonding gaming.

Last Updated: December 2, 2013

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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