"A Thousand Times, No" at Robot Street Gang

Hi, folks. Nice to see the site up and running again.

A chapter from the book I’m currently working on (The Gaming Life) has been posted at Robot Street Gang, and I thought some folks here might be interested in seeing it. It can be found at:

http://www.robotstreetgang.com/article.php?sid=44&mode=thread&order=0

Best wishes,

Peter

Very nice, Peter. Really crisp writing, as usual. Looks like a book I would like to pick up. Could be a good Xmas gift.

It also sounds like I really lucked out. I married a lapsed gamer, so it wasn’t too hard to get her interested in it again. Now it kind of works the other way, with her saying “Guess what happened to my Ranger tonight?”. She has become a serious game wife, though we still have to find a way to get both our game machines in the same room.

It doesn’t seem as pathetic a hobby when you have someone to share it with.

Peter, (I’m only mocking you litely here - it was a crazy time after all),
I recall you writing a column just after Sept 11th swearing off gaming forever, what happened?

Still, this looks good. Intriguing idea and that’s a hell of an opening sentence. Grabs the attention nicely. Good luck with the project.

-Andrew

I really enjoyed reading it. It does hit close to the mark. I made it quite clear to my wife before I married her that I was a hardcore gamer. My best way of describing it was to compare myself to those who play golf on weekends.

But it is all about balance. And sharing other interests with your partner. If your only interest is computer games then you don’t really lead a balanced lifestyle and aren’t really suitable as a lifelong partner.

But my wife and I have a great relationship. After a long session playing IL2 with my online squadron my wife will often ask how my mission went. I don’t try and impose my interests on her but I will share my interests if she asks.

Just like she doesn’t criticise my game playing I also won’t criticise her craftwork, or womens magazines, or any of her other interests.

It really comes down to finding the right woman.

Cheers,
Sean.

PS. Last week I was in a fairly intensive session in IL2 and found I needed an urgent toilet break. I asked my wife if she could take over flying my fighter while I relieved myself. No problems ! That’s true love !! :D

Yeah, I’ve added “gamer” to my list of girlfriend requirements. sigh

  • Alan

That’s beautiful. One of the most romantic things I’ve ever read here. I’m really happy for you guys. (And I’m not being sarcastic.)

I only met a couple women that gamed, and they were both pretty gorgeous if you ask me. One of em was addicted to Civ2… we actually had a few beer and pretzels after work talking about our civ scores and strategies! Geeks! And another I sorta hooked up with was secretly addicted to EQ, which surprised me because she was pretty hot and pretty cool too ended up later becoming one of my friends gf. She was kind of annoying though.

Gaming isn’t that important with me and girls. I am more interested if they have at least some sort of hobby (art/music/cars). I hate it when theres nothing to talk about then just work, school, etc etc etc

etc

I’ve met a lot of other gamer/game-friendly women. I think ya’ll just aren’t looking in the right places. That, or you have weird ancillary requirements (“must look like Pamela Anderson, must find my Green Lantern boxer shorts irresistably sexy, must be able to write my name on a grain of rice using only her tongue and a fine-point Sharpie, must not be embarrassed riding in my '77 AMC Pacer, must share my fondness for collecting plaster space weasels”…)

As alluded to in the article, it’s all about tolerance for frustration. I believe men have more tolerance for frustration than women do, as a general rule.

Example. My wife walks in to let me know dinner is ready. When she does this, she usually takes the time to stop for a minute and ask me what I’m playing out of politeness.

Games I play a lot, Betsy begins to call by “name”:

Counter-Strike = “Fire in the hole”
Total Annihilation = “Robots”

I’ve been trying to slog through Jedi Knight II for the last couple days, so I described what I was doing at the time:

“It’s this Star Wars game. See, I have a lightsaber. I’m currently at this section where I have to jump around in a giant array of cubes (illustrate with cool jedi force jump). They’re suspended over an abyss, so naturally sometimes I miss my jumps and fall to my death. Anyway, three of these cubes have a code panel inside that I need to set. But I don’t know which cubes are the correct ones. Even when I manage to find the right cubes, I’m not sure if it has accepted the codes I’ve entered. There’s just a generic “beep” and no visual indication that the code is correct or anything. It’s really fucking annoying.”

“Then why do you do it?”

How about “Must like Godzilla movies”?

Ooooh… wait…

Sparky, you’re married right?

DAMN.

Well, I guess I’ll be enjoying my imported copy of Gojira X Megagarius alone… not that that’s unusual. :-)

Honestly though, I’ve given up on the “Must be my clone + perky breasts” and I think I’d be happy with “can install win98 unassisted, shares my sense of humor, thinks she’s lucky to have met a nice guy like me, and lets me win at a game now and then to keep my ego happy.” When I find that one, I’m marrying her.

It’s not so much a question of “can I find a gamer” as it is now one of “can I find someone who has a passion in her life that compares to computer geekishness in my own - so we can understand each other’s obsession and cross-participate at times and do our own thing at others.”

In my meager experience, it isn’t so much the “gamer” requirement as the “gamer and single” combination.

  • Alan

Indeed. But you know, I wouldn’t get rid of my pinball machines to make room for your plaster space weasel collection, anyhow…

This is exactly right. I play games while Pepper is scrapbooking, and we have a rule that we have to listen to each other’s story when one wants to talk. She really doesn’t care how I got those three guys with one grenade, and I don’t really care which of her friends came up with a good new scrapping technique, but we stop and listen attentively because we know how it feels to have to tell someone what just happened to us. She says we don’t have to be in each others’ hobby-related worlds to know about each others’ worlds.

Side brag - here she is in all of her Scrapbooking Hall of Fame Glory: http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/contests/hall_of_fame/?left_list_type=1&index_field=89&year=2002 I guess I have to go win at Quakecon now to keep up with her.

Stevenson Ranch eh? Almost bought a condo in Saugus a week ago – decided on an apartment in Thousand Oaks instead.

The world just keeps getting smaller and smaller…

(the obligatory) :wink:

argumentum ad ignorantiam Hey! Who says I “argue from ignorance”??? I didn’t know anyone here knew me that well…

On the note of chasing skirts and dating…

Here I sit. It’s 7pm and at 8 I’m supposed to meet this Jennifer girl. First date, blind. Not her, the date. Hopefully her. And deaf too, that way I can’t say anything that reveals that I’m a geek, unless she finds that charming. I guess I should just open with a line like “Hi, I’m Jim… do you find geeky shit charming or scary? Not that I am one, but I thought I’d ask as sort of an icebreaker.”

What the hell am I doing this for? Why even bother with this frustration - because I know what the deal is already. You see, she’s a nurse, and by definition - at least as I’ve had her defined to me - she’s one of those freaks who prefers to live in the “real world” rather than as a digital ego-extension on the cosmic inter-god-net. Therefore, we’ll have two things to talk about… jack and shit.

I’m picturing this conversation already…

“so, what do you do again?”
“I’m a network engineer for the post office”
“oh… that’s interesting. Computers and stuff, huh? I bet you make a lot of money doing that.”
"Yeah, pretty much. "

– 2 minutes of uncomfortable silence –

“so, what else do you do?”
“uh… well, I come home and do the same thing - at least when I’m not playing games online with my friends.”
“oh. Computer games?”
“yeah, pretty much.”

– 2 minutes of uncomfortable silence –

“so, what did you want to do tonight?”
“honestly, I have absolutely no idea. I make a habit of avoiding this sort of thing for just this reason.”
“what reason?”

– 2 minutes of uncomfortable silence –

“that reason.”
“oh. Yeah, I see what you mean.”

Now, granted we’re talking about the great and unknown Jennifer here. If it was Laura, it would be different. That woman I’d give up 50% of my computer time for. Hell, I’d tie my pecker to the railroad tracks for her - well, not for long, and not if a train was coming but as a symbolic gesture at least. She’d get the point, and that’s why I love her. However, it’s not her I’m going to meet. That, however, is a different story entirely that if you don’t pay me enough hush money, I’ll be certain to tell later.

So, Jennifer. How do I know her? Well, I don’t. This is the most accursed of all grief dates. This is worse than my last blind date… the “internet nutcase fetish princess from most unholy hell.” That’s the one who on the first date suggested I come back to her place so she could have her way with me. Well, she was HOT, so I had to ask what she had in mind - and that led to a story about her collection of snuff films and how she’d always wanted to hook a saline drip up to somebody’s ballsack so the fluid would transfer up into the penis during sex and they (we) could fuck like desperate dogs all night and not have a chance of coming apart. Yeah, her name was Jennifer too as I recall - although the lightning bolts of fear shooting out of my spine and the physical exhertion of sprinting a mile back to my car in the midnight snowstorm may have clouded my memory of her exact name.

But I digress… yes, I have no idea who this woman is. But she’s a nurse, and used to work with my mother. According to her, the most holy of sources of information and from which all sane guidance flows – in her opinion, this is THE woman for me. She’s “got her life together” and has “a good values system” and such. Now, this isn’t just a random “setup” from mom here. This is supposed to be this super extra-ordinary wonder fucking princess that will show me my true direction in life, and what a “decent respectable girl” is supposed to be.

Jesus H. Kiss of Death Christ.

Well, what the hell, at least I can go in with an attitude about it. If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching the mating ritual play out over all these years, it’s that the asshole ALWAYS gets laid. This, in addition to getting me laid and the hollow empty feeling I’ll enjoy the day after as I contemplate why I bothered with something so shallow, will also prove to my family that I have not contracted “the gay” from the internet. Also, it will teach mom a lesson about playing matchmaker. She last got a dose of this about 5 years ago when she took me out to “meet the girls she works with” and I didn’t come home until 3 days later. Apparently this did not make a lasting impression - so here we go again.

Wish me luck, pray for my soul, I need to shave, then off I go…

, she was HOT, so I had to ask what she had in mind - and that led to a story about her collection of snuff films and how she’d always wanted to hook a saline drip up to somebody’s ballsack so the fluid would transfer up into the penis during sex and they (we) could fuck like desperate dogs all night and not have a chance of coming apart. Yeah, her name was Jennifer too as I recall - although the lightning bolts of fear shooting out of my spine and the physical exhertion of sprinting a mile back to my car in the midnight snowstorm may have clouded my memory of her exact name.

Are you describing a real experience, or a Trevor sort of thing? And now that I’m thinking about it, did we really need to know this?

The trick with women is to stop thinking of them as women. Which, admittedly, is difficult, what with them brazenly parading their boobs around like that. But seriously. Male, Female, Bruce Geryk-- does it really matter? You have common interests, you share things, maybe you become close. Assuming you have the right attitude, and enough exposure to women in the things you do (which is, granted, a big if for gamers), it’ll happen.

I was something of a lapsed gamer when I courted and then married my wife. Later I picked up the habit again. I never tried to interest her in gaming just like I never tried to interest her in watching football with me. Some interests are best shared in brief, two or three sentence exchanges. There’s really no need to expect your current significant other to be interested beyond that. In a relationship it’s just as important to know when not to share as when to share.

Also. I know I’ve covered this at least a half-dozen times on the old boards, but one strategy that many game developers seem to take w/r/t women is the old “If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em”.

http://members.tgforum.com/jamie/newsjamiegamer.html

Then, at last, you’ll be the one pursued by all those cute guys. As well you should be.

This is exactly right. I play games while Pepper is scrapbooking, and we have a rule that we have to listen to each other’s story when one wants to talk. She really doesn’t care how I got those three guys with one grenade, and I don’t really care which of her friends came up with a good new scrapping technique, but we stop and listen attentively because we know how it feels to have to tell someone what just happened to us. She says we don’t have to be in each others’ hobby-related worlds to know about each others’ worlds.

What she said, only I’d like to add that in some cases, you can isolate a friendly soul by emphasizing that you know she (or he) isn’t interested in your hobby and prefer not to discuss it.

My wife was never much of a gamer, and she’s usually disiniterested in it, preferring to read sci-fi or watch Must See TV. However, I made it clear that she was welcome to bug me while I played games and I made an honest effort to actively listen when she wanted attention. If she was having a bad day or the signs of stress were upon her, I put away the games for an evening and spent some time with her. Also, as an act of faith, I’ve set aside Friday night as “No Gaming Whatsoever Night”, and, in return, I get empty Saturday’s for pure gaming frivolity.

This actually worked quite well, although I’d had several girlfriend’s worth of failures to figure this angle out. Since she felt she was part of my life and that I’d be there when she needed me, and since I made it clear that gaming was also one of my coping mechanisms for a day filled with programming tedium, she didn’t reallty develop the resentment and jealousy a lot of women develop about my, erm, hobby/obsession(sometimes rightfully, sometimes not - geeks often forget in their idealization of women that they’re just as likely to be assholes as the next guy).

Now, in our marriage, she’s pretty sure that I’m not gonna sink into a world of gaming without her, and that I’m not going to become emotionally distant. As a result, she feels that there’s no sort of harm indulging a passing interest in gaming (what with her sci-fi fascination and artistic streak, she obviously has imagination to burn), and now plays the occasional game - she’s still hooked on Diablo 2 (she thinks the gender-neutral “shopping” aspect is to blame; she likes outfitting her level 80-something assassin with new gear and watching it translate into improved/altered abilities), and she loves multiplayer competitive games like Burnout (Gamecube) and Hot SHots Golf 3 (PS2). She’ll play HSG3 and Puzzle Fighter by herself every once in a while. I don’t really try to encourage her, because I feel that her interest should develop on its own, and that my role in this is better served as a gaming buddy/resource. She’s interested in having a shot at Neverwinter Nights, just for the chance to play with my gaming buddies and torment them (and me).

Basically, I attribute this “success” to an attitude of emotional availability outside of gaming, and the level of trust that resulted. She’s never seen me as a “gamer” according to her, but as a “guy who plays games as a hobby”. That’s a pretty crucial distinction, apparently, because I think I’m a total gaming dork. She decided to try gaming because she didn’t feel like she was encouraging me, and that allowed her to indulge her interest.

Some partners will probably lack any interest; hey, it’s true of any hobby. The idea is to reassure them that the hobby is not threatening your availability; to many women, the idea of emotional connection is tantamount in a relationship, and any apparent obsession is a big obstacle to that accessibility. They’ll teach themselves to hate it, blaming it for the greater problem of rigid incompatibility between the two of you, exacerbating the situation.

Of course, guys can also be pretty fuckin’ inflexible when it comes to their favorite hobbies, and that just won’t work. You have to make some sacrifices if you want a great relationship. That means when Sid Meier’s Dorkgasm Online finally shows up on your doorstop, instead of immediately rushing to the gameroom, installing it, and falling into a world of gaming bliss for the next sixteen hours, you probably, maybe, kinda, oughtta check up on your partner and ensure that NOW IS A GOOD TIME FOR A GAMING MARATHON. And don’t let you gaming enthusiasm delude you - your partner may tell you to “go ahead”, but you should learn the signs. If they’re looking harried or unhappy, Sid Meier should probably wait. If you think that sounds like something a pussy would do, it’s time for you to check out of the relationship market and stick to the singles sex scene. Just don’t bitch about being “dissatisfied” and that you’re waiting “for that perfect person.” There are no perfect people, but there are “perfect relationships” and those have to made with effort.

It also doesn’t help that most geeks have absolutely stupid standards when it comes to women, with their lists of qualifications stored on a spreadsheet somewhere, reading like the list of bullet points on the back of a strategy game. It’s hilarious to hear these, with “must look like Catherine Bell” mixed in with “must vote Republican” along with “must like Babylon 5” and “enjoys videogames” and “has read Atlus Shrugged” and “will cook for me.” Christ, they want their clone crossbred with ther mother shoehorned into the body of a WB starlet. The self-analytical skills of the male dork sector are pretty pathetic.

Anyway. Enough of this Dear Abby bullshit. Back to slobbering in anticipation for Neverwinter Nights.

Oh, and the recent Shoot Club was damn good, Tom. The last paragraph, sadly, was probably the truest thing ever written about the hardcore gaming fan in some time.

I met my wife on a blind date. She’s a nurse too. We have very little in common hobby-wise and I think that’s actually a very good thing. We’ve been together for 7 years and married for 3 and a half. Our daughter is beautiful and we have another child on the way.

My wife actively dislikes video games. She calls them “a waste of time”, but she only means that in regards to herself. She has her hobbies, I have mine, and then we have fun things we do together. I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

Then again, if I had married a video game geek I might be allowed to blow a grand or so on this Ms. Pac Man coin-op I’ve been eyeing on eBay…