By Stacey Knowles
A couple of years ago, against all the odds - certainly those odds spouted by the kind of magazines favoured by thirty-something women - at the age of 38 I met the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. And, as I understand is common practice in the world where the real, non-geeky people live, I wanted to share some of my passions with this woman.
No, not those kind of passions. Well, yes, exactly those passions, too, but that’s a different article entirely.
Gaming is one of my greatest loves. Now, at forty, I’ve been gaming for twenty-eight years. It’s a big part of my life; gaming has given me so many happy memories, and every major milestone in my life has some game or other associated with it.
So, naturally, I wanted to share this hobby that’s quite central to who I am. But, whilst my other loves - cats, fajitas, New York, zombies - were embraced immediately, gaming had a much rougher ride. I needed an attention-grabber, something that distilled the fun of gaming into a bite-sized morsel of goodness. The breadth of Red Dead, the fluidity of Halo, the grind of Torchlight - all brilliant games but the fun factor was just too abstract, too complex for the hook I needed.
I found my salvation in an unlikely arena - the realm of the casual gamer.
No, don’t click away! Come back, please! This isn’t about the game that helped me through the death of my dad (Resident Evil 4) or the game that turned the Internet info a vehicle for co-operative adventure with friends and strangers (Phantasy Star Online).
This is about the game that gave me so much more because it has changed my future - the future of two people, in fact.
Like a pusher at the playground gates, I knew the addictive properties of the wares I was hawking. And, like a good little girl, she was hooked. On the train, in a waiting room, on the couch, it was Bejeweled all the way.
“Are you playing Bejeweled again?”
“No,” would come the reply, along with the mischievous smile that told me the truth behind the lie. Job done.
So now we spend our evenings in co-op heaven, conquering Pandora and Handsome Jack, or saving each other from the ravening hordes of infected in Pennsylvania.
No, of course we don’t, don’t be silly. Even Bejeweled doesn’t get dusted off very often. But she understands. She’s had that little taste, that slice of fried gaming gold, so she gets it. She knows why I can spend hours with the controller in my clutches, understands that gaming is, and always will be, something I put time into. And we’re stronger thanks, at least in part, to that understanding.
But she still doesn’t understand why there are four Xboxes in the house.
17 December 2012
Originally published explosivealan.com circa January 2013