Playing With Others: Awakening a dormant gamer


[Editor's note: perri talks about gaming with his girl for his Playing With Others Monthly Musing piece. Also, the first comment on this blog is hilarious. -- CTZ]

In 2006 Nintendo was doing a lot of PR in regards to the Wii. They threw out a plethora of terms like the infamous 'Blue Ocean'; casual gamer, core gamer, but most importantly in regards to this article; dormant gamer.

As you may have read earlier, I have an awesome girlfriend. What you may not know is that, at one point, she was even more awesomer (sorry honey). Let me take you back to 2004 when we first met.

Introduced by two friends, it was actually a strange case of love at first phone. We hit it off before we even met, but lets not get too sentimental just yet. After a little while I was making regular visits to her house as young couples tend to do and the first time I entered her basement I immediately noticed an NES sitting above her fittingly antique wood grain television (with base! Hardcore, yes). I was intrigued to say the least. As I've mentioned, I never had an NES and thought that I had stumbled into some sort of magic parallel dimension where a girl could be more of a gamer than myself. I was young.

I was also wrong. We started talking about it and she revealed to me that once upon a time she was "literally" addicted to gaming, in particular the Donkey Kong series on her SNES (she owned all three), and Quake on PC. Her uncle had given her the NES years ago because she was such a fan of the SNES. She had since stopped playing, something she described as "maturing" occurred. Apparently, as normal people get older, they get busy with things like sports, jobs, and other responsibilities. She had no time to play but did admit that if she started playing again she would likely be just as distracted as she once was, fail school and quit her job. Something she did not want to do.

I saw the potential, I took her in and decided to nurse her back into the awesome person she once was; a gamer. 

Older, but still asleep.

Is it horribly presumptuous of me? Maybe. Is this an terrible thing to say? Definitely. So let me clarify.

She was, still is, and will continue to be awesome. It was through multiplayer gaming though, that we woke the dormant gamer inside of her, thus creating new experiences to share. It is a new time together in which we both genuinely enjoy what we're doing. I mean, I can only watch so many Micheal Douglas movies.

Seeing as Rosie was last seen sporting an SNES controller, the modern sensibilities of gaming didn't exactly appeal to her yet. It was that same old "It's too complicated." sort of situation. So we enjoyed some 16-bit Donkey Kong and she totally destroyed me! 

I guess I should clarify that if anything from gaming influenced her life it is her almost dangerous sense of competition. So naturally, whenever I suggested co-op she shot me down, opting for the versus play.

No co-op yet!

That said, I didn't get to play much! She had everything memorized and I died every five minutes. I think her dominance over me at this early stage in our relationship is what led to her accepting more of my gamely challenges down the line (nobody get cute in the comments either. That is clearly a joke ... ) We moved on to things like Super Mario World, but at my house I didn't have any retro consoles hooked up (no longer the case!).

Enter the modern multiplayer scenario. Even though she had enjoyed the 16-bit single player experiences, she still couldn't be bothered with things like Zelda. I still think her motivation was to best me, but that remains unproven. Fast forward to 2005, the year I got a GameCube (For Twilight Princess ... ) There were some great games on the backlog and I picked a few up, including Soul Calibur II, our favourite fighting game.

I'll just skip all the cute, "Link is cheap", "this is too hard!" moments to tell you that she can beat me at this too. We played countless hours of this game. It was the first game she ever asked me to bring over and this sort of healthy competition made for some genuinely fun times and brought us even closer together.

More recently, she's had an appetite for the Wii. She is still competitive as ever but the dawn of online gaming finally has us working together. Mario Strikers Charged is another favourite of ours. Despite it's rudimentary set up, the online is pretty addicting, and we're pretty persistent! We've never won a match if I remember correctly and I actually got really frustrated about that one time. Despite her lack of skill, she really wants to play with me and that's something that I really cherish.

More recently, I got Guitar Hero World Tour and we've been playing that to death. Rock Band really opened the flood gates, as these band games are truly great multiplayer experiences and she loves beating my drums [Editor's note: /facepalm]. It's another step towards co-op gaming and now that we've grown together over four and a half years, I think we enjoy being on the same team a lot more, working together to accomplish a like goal instead of proving our dominance over each other. Of course, she wouldn't hesitate to do so if the oppourtunity ever presented itself.

As I said in the intro, she was addicted to Quake and actually continues to lust over First Person Shooters, she just doesn't have the means to play them. A few weeks ago though, my friend introduced her to Left 4 Dead and she can't wait for me to pick that up. Surely so we can cut down legions of the undead together ... ahh, to be in love.

I find our journey together as gamers very interesting. We started out sort of awkwardly, picking up old games and competing against each other, but as we continued to play together for years we've become teammates and look forward to playing together. It's through multiplayer that the dormant gamer inside of her was awakened and it's yet another bond that we share. I'm still hopeful that one day she will play through a 50+ hour JRPG but I think that is a ways off.

So the Dormant Gamer is now awake. Let's just hope that she doesn't turn into this...Like the rest of the Internet.

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perri   gamer profile

Hey Dtoid. Welcome to perritoid! I'm a 23 year old artist/teacher. While in University I experimented mostly with Animation, Video, and Games. The lovely [dearly departed] Anthony Burch* featu... more + disclosures



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