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Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer: The Couple that Plays Together

My husband will take one look at the title of this article and probably snort. We don’t play video games together enough to suit him. And really (don’t tell him, though) we don’t play together enough to suit me, either.

I enjoy a rousing bout of button mashing, shooting bad guys in the face, and general mayhem as I undoubtedly rush unprepared into the fray. What’s the point of gaming if you can’t have a little fun with it?

But, apparently, there are people out there for whom strategy is a big part of gaming. (I know, right?!) You see these people deeply engrossed in snooze-fests like Skyrim and the Mass Effect games. Just how long can it possibly take to create a character? You collect stuff to make the character better? You level up stuff? UGH! GET TO THE ACTION ALREADY!

I acknowledge that I am probably in a minority with these feelings. That really doesn’t bother me overmuch, though.

So, when my dearest is up to his epaulettes in one of these games, I do my best to aid his cause. Seriously! I provide helpful tips and advice to create a better overall experience for both of us! Because, you see, I don’t like to play these games with him. Even when there is an option for two players, I opt for more of a consultant role. I particularly enjoy providing this service when he’s playing Skyrim.

“What’s that thing following you around?” I ask, secretly already knowing the answer.

“That’s Waoionstoi’xcior (I totally made that up), my (insert random beast name. I choose Cat-Beast) companion,” he says.

“So, he’s like your servant?”

You can’t see the deadly Ball of Yarn +2 attached to his belt. Image found on the Skyrim Forums.

“Not really. He’s more like my companion. He helps in fights and stuff.”

“Huh,” I say. “You should punch him in the face.”

“I can’t punch my Cat-Beast in the face!” he states indignantly.

“You should totally punch him in the face.”

Then, I’ll lose interest in the Cat-Beast and move on to other helpful suggestions.

“Where are you? A tavern? Can you set it on fire? You should set it on fire! Hey, who’s that? Stab him! What would happen if you stab him? STAB HIM! STAB HIM!”

My husband is a longsuffering man. He apparently loves me very much.

The last time I did this to him, he and his Cat-Beast had just come upon some kind of decrepit castle/tower combo filled with religious order types. I’m foggy on the details because, well, I just don’t really care. He and Cat-Beast just strolled around, looking in random chests and taking stuff.

“Don’t they care that you’re taking their stuff?” I asked.

“It’s there for me,” he said.

“Why is stuff for you in their castle? That seems questionable to me.”

Then, I returned to my fail-safe suggestion:

“You should kill these guys and take their castle,” I suggested.

“What?” He was actually a bit indignant. That pleased me.

“Do it!” I commanded.

Then, he did something that underscores why I love him so much: he humored me.

He saved his current game, and then went on a violent death rage, slicing and hacking through folks, while I gleefully looked on and offered encouragement. He totally got into it, too, and confessed that he loves shouting people off high places. (For those of you not familiar with Skyrim, there’s a power where you yell some made-up word and your target goes flying.)

Then, overcome with guilt after slaughtering the entire castle (and his Cat-Beast at my insistence!), he made his character throw himself off the tower, ending the mayhem and enabling a fresh, undeserving-death-free gaming experience.


But, lest you think I’m the only disturbed person in our relationship, let me just say that he gets an unholy amount of glee backseat driving when I’m playing The Walking Dead. It’s different, though. While I offer helpful suggestions, he just enjoys my discomfiture and general inability to keep my cool while fictional terror-creatures swarm my avatar. Oh, he does try to “help” in his way. Sort of. Mostly when I’m a shaking piece of rigid fear on the couch, and he has a huge beard smile.

“Have you tried shooting them?” he asks.

“Shut up,” I grind out through a clenched jaw.

“Watch out! They’re almost to you!”

“AAAAARRRGH! WhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdo?!”

“They’re going to eat you!” he says. “Oh, no! They just got your plucky companion! Why didn’t you protect your plucky companion?”

“STEVE! Noooooo!” I screech, frantically button mashing.

“They’re coming!” he helpfully points out.

“Run away!” I yell, swinging my controller to the side in an effort to make the direction button work better. “RUN AWAY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

He smiles, and we are even.

We have an interesting and terrific relationship. We sorta game together, and we annoy the crap out of each other.

It’s pretty great.

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