Competing for a gamer’s heart

Filed under Game trail, History, Software showcase;

Popular culture abounds with tales of lovers lost to gaming addictions. Guys and gals who can’t tear themselves away from World of Warcraft often emerge from their fantasy to find themselves without the partner they’d attracted offline.

Peter Molyneux. Photo by Daniel Alexander Smith.I never understood the competition some romancers feel toward electronic entertainment. Computer and video games can be great bonding experiences, whether you’re playing cooperatively or competitively, or simply offering a passive experience for your partner to observe and enjoy.

Nonetheless, resentment has been a popular emotion engendered by gaming for longer than there have been MMORPGs — though role-playing games do tend to be a trend, as evidenced by Peter Molyneux’s own tale. The creator of popular PC and Xbox games Populous, Black & White, and Fable was recently prompted to recall his first encounter with computer games:

The first proper game was probably Wizardry on the old Apple II. I totally became obsessed with that game, to the point where I lost my girlfriend by playing it – I left her down the pub three times! Because it was on floppy disk… Once, my floppy disk was written off and that night I immediately got in the car and I drove 150 miles to find another Wizardry player so I could get a copy of the disc. It was the first game really that I ever played with levelling-up. It was set in a dungeon, and there was a mad god, and it had spells. It was wireframe, but in my imagination I was down there in that dungeon.

Given the career and status this famed developer has attained since being inspired by that Apple II game in 1981, it’s certainly the girlfriend’s loss to have not seen the potential in that marriage.

Have you ever had to curb your gaming enthusiasm to placate your partner? What have you done to try to turn a paramour into a player?

(Hat tip to Neon Kelly)

  1. Martin Haye says:

    A few years back I had a problem with World of Warcraft. It sucked so much of my life away that my husband got very little of my time, and it even started to cut into work time. It wasn’t the gameplay that stole me, it’s the other people in the world clamoring for my precious spare time. That was bad, and I had to quit. I ritually jumped my character off a cliff, wrote a sad little eulogy for him in my journal, and deleted the account. Since then I’ve avoided getting involved in an MMORPG.

  2. I feel for you, Martin. I’ve never played an MMORPG but racked up some massive bills on CompuServe’s MUDs. I never would’ve been able to afford a partner at that rate.

  3. This isn’t unique to gaming. Any obsession that takes time away from your partner can have a negative effect.

    I played Wizardry for an afternoon in the 80’s. It was repetitive and boring. MUDs, MOOs, and WoW, while having a social angle to them, do make them appealing, but not to me. I really do not get it. I’m a F2F kinda person. I’m a board gamer now. Before that “social” gaming was about hanging out at the arcade with my friends and dropping $5-$10 in quarters.

    That all said, I do have obsessions that affect my personal life. Mine just happen to be programming and mathematics (often combined). To each his own.

    Have I had to curb my enthusiasm? Yes, after 20+ years I am still married and employed.

    Have I been able to “turn” my wife? No, not all obsessions are as easily transferable as gaming.