As gamers, we come under fire on multiple fronts in relation to the hobby we love. Some call us dorks, some call us addicts while others feel we lack certain characteristics important to socialization. No matter how we’re labeled, we try to persevere while at the same time doing our best to explain the many why’s of what we do. If people don’t like it, we ignore them and move on to people who do. But what happens when we grow fond of those anti-gaming types and end up marrying them? Is that the end of gaming? Some think it is, I think contrary.
Love is a Battlefield
My wife has confronted me on numerous occasions about my habit. Sometimes it’s unprovoked and sometimes it’s not. No matter what the reason is behind the questioning or lack of understanding, it’s quite apparent there’s a disconnect. I can no longer validate the therapeutic nature of gaming nor can I blame a bad mood and need to escape. Even simply stating I like it won’t cut the mustard when she accuses me of preferring my games over spending time with her. That statement cuts deep to the heart of a man, no matter what you learned from Rambo.
I take her softly by the hand after one of these scenarios and sit her down on the couch. I brush the hair from her face and look deeply into her eyes. My marriage is important to me and thus I need to be honest with her and find some sort of resolution.
“Babe, I understand your frustration and I think we need to talk about it.” I call her babe because that’s what I imagine rock stars call their wives and if I can’t have musical talent I can at least have that.
Her face lights up, happy to know that I care enough to confront the issue. Childhood problems, insecurities and a long stage of awkwardness as well as other excuses begin to marinate on my tongue, but then I stop. She wants to know the truth about my gaming habits and that’s what I’m going to give her.
I have to begin my statements with an explanation of the basic ideas behind String Theory, most of which I learned from time traveling movies and a show I watched on the Discovery Channel. She’s taken back by this precursor, but I thinks it’s out of shock at the thoroughness of our conversation.
I tell her it’s theorized that there are many Earths, infinite Earths even each with their own interpretation of our reality. I give her a few examples such as an Earth where water has been replaced with soda pop and an Earth where primates are dominant over humans. She points out that that’s the plot of Planet of the Apes and I smile. She knows the basics.
“How does that explain why you play so many video games,” she asks, informed yet confused.
“There are a variety of reasons,” I clear my throat, “What happens if a rift appears in the time space continuum and a portal to another dimension opens up, letting horrible creatures or power hungry alternate versions of people we know onto our planet?”
“I have no answer for that,” she says, looking a bit deflated as to the direction our talk has gone but it’s probably because what I have to say is pretty hard to swallow.
“See, people go to college to train for jobs and situations that could occur in our own reality, but completely neglect alternate scenarios, some of which could involve battling monsters and robots as big as skyscrapers or battling monsters with robots as big as skyscrapers.”
I continue, “We both have good jobs, loving families and financial security but lack the training necessary for surviving aforementioned cross dimensional phenomenon. Video games give me that as well as placing me in a network of people with similar skills and traits. I know five people right now that could form the perfect group for survival. That’s security. In the end babe, I do it for us. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.”
Learning by example
The people we love don’t have to force themselves to like our interests but honesty goes a long way in softening the blows they take from feeling overlooked. My wife could have gone years thinking she was inadequate but now knows my passion for gaming stems from wanting to protect her and the rest of the planet from the results of inter-dimensional upheaval.
Don’t hide behind your stubbornness or mistake questions as a push to change. Be real, be honest and lets tell the world that we’re preparing for the inevitable. They’ll thank us later.
Giant Bomb (image)