Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Article: Meet the Gamer Girlfriend

Hi! My name is Amie. I was a gamer girlfriend for two years, now I have leveled up to gamer wife.

My husband is the definition of "gamer."

Let me explain... we own all five major game systems that are out right now. We have dvd binders full of games, boxes full of gamer related technology, a book case that is full of strategy guides, and so many collector's pieces that I find them in some of the oddest places. For example, I was doing laundry the other day and as I was putting the clothes in the washer I heard a small "thud." I looked into the washer, and what did I find? A small plastic Yoshi. Somehow Yoshi ended up in the laundry basket.

At first, my husband would wait until I went to bed to play his video games. He stayed up into the wee hours of the morning breeding Chocobos, racing go-karts, killing zombies, and trying to save the princess. This caused him to be awfully tired and cranky when he had to get up for work in the morning. (Many of the girls reading this are probably shaking their heads and wondering if there is anything that can be done. Keep reading.)

This caused us many problems. Not only was my sweetheart driving me nuts, but I was tired and cranky because I couldn't sleep through the sounds of heavy machinery taking out WWII Germany in the other room. I was left tired, frustrated, annoyed, and feeling rather hopeless. I wanted nothing more than for all video games in the entire world to be hit by one big magnet, rendering them all useless.

Then I realized something. I fell in love with a geeky, nerdy guy who spent as much time playing video games as he did working his job. Who was I to deny him his favorite pass time? Sure, now that we were together, he needed to put me first, before the video games, but wasn't there some form of compromise? He was hiding his game play like a goth girl hides her pink t-shirts, and that just wasn't right.

And so, I decided that I would make an effort to enjoy his gaming. At first, this was difficult. The first time I tried to watch him play a game, I fell asleep on the couch. All that got me was a a very sore neck.

But then, he brought home Kingdom Hearts 2. All my favorite Disney characters were there on the screen! The soundtrack even included Disney songs! All of a sudden, I found that when I would get home, I looked forward to watching him play.

As we continued on, him playing games, me watching him play, I began to joke about what games passed the "Wifey-Watchability Test." When he would tell his friends about a cool new game, I would talk to their girlfriends about how much fun I had as he played.

I realized that there were three things that could make or break a video game from the perspective of the girl sitting next to the player. These are the Visuals, the Audio, and how Involved I could be in the game. These are now the criteria I use to judge games.

Is it fun to watch? Is there an obsessive amount of blood and guts, or is it appropriate or even comical? What are the graphics like? Does the game play like a choose-your-own-adventure movie, or are you watching the player grind through levels for hours on end? (For those who don't know, when a player "grinds" or is "grinding" it means that they are performing usually mundane or redundant tasks in order to gain a level or skill. Some games require a character to be at a certain level in order to be able to continue.)

Is there a nice soundtrack or is it just a bunch of noise? Is there music, or do you just listen to the sound of guns being fired? Can the game be played quietly and still be acceptable, or does it need to be full volume? (Most gamers will argue that the game must be full volume, but this is an area that the couple will have to negotiate on their own terms. Not everyone likes to hear an AK- 47 going off every few minutes.)

Can the girlfriend get involved? When my husband got Persona 3 he also picked up the strategy guide. I sat with the strategy guide and looked up the information as he played the game. I was able to enjoy the game and help him out. This made seem as if we were both playing the game, even though he was the only one with a controller in his hand.

One final note:

To all the girlfriends of gamers that are out there: If you love your boy for who he is, let him play his game, and try to find a way to enjoy it as well.

To all the gamers out there: If you love your girlfriend (or even just really like her), you will need to put the controller down every now and then. Take her out to dinner and a movie (not a movie based on a video game). Give her a kiss on the cheek, and let her choose how to spend the evening.


  1. Hello. My name is Stephanie and I'm a gamer wife too. In fact, my husband refers to Amie's husband as "our dealer" and we were both devastated (but excited for him!) when her husband moved to a job farther away from us.

    Amie! This is the best idea for a blog ever! It was so much fun reading your story and having so much in common. I totally agree with your criteria for a good game and I can't wait to read your reviews!

    Have a great day!

  2. AnonymousJune 18, 2009

    Great job! I've bookmarked the page so I can keep up with all the game news, reviews, etc. (even though I'm not a "true" gamer) My gaming is mostly pc.

    The Grandma

  3. AnonymousJune 18, 2009

    I am a gamer girlfriend as well. I have well since embraced the love of watching him play or even listening to it while I work on my homework or whatever other project the evening brings.

    Unfortunately, my gamer can't seem to stay awake enough for RPGs, it looks like I will have to still pick up the controller on occasion and play some myself. I have really been itching to pull out the SNES for some Final Fantasy IV and VI and appreciate it the way it was meant to be played... perhaps I can find some time soon...


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