The relationships we keep, with humans and games

game controllers

Last Saturday, Robo♥Beat owner and GFN writer and  Ashley Hagood posted a wonderful article about finding time to game – I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already. Oddly enough, that same day, the notion she discussed about time and gaming manifested itself in reality — my reality. Shortly after reading her post, my husband and I started a discussion about our plans for rest of the weekend. During that talk, I mentioned (in passing, I thought) that I wanted to squeeze in some GTA V. Without missing a beat, my husband perked up with a half-sarcastic, half-serious comment along the lines of have you always been such a gamer? I paused for a moment and replied with an enthusiastic and slightly exaggerated uhhh…YEAH! We ended our conversation, but I could stop thinking have I been talking about GTA V that much recently? And yes, I probably had been. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that I’d probably mentioned it (and any number of other soon-to-be-released games) in our daily discussions for the past several weeks. Considering just how much is on our plates at the moment, I started to feel rather guilty. And since I haven’t been able to shrug off that guilt, I started writing about it.

Lucky you.

The thing is, no, I haven’t always been a such a gamer. I’ve definitely had extended periods of time during which playing games was my primary and preferred form of entertainment. During those high periods, I played regularly, at least a couple hours every day, and I was perfectly happy.  But I’ve also had plenty of low periods, months upon months without games, and I was also perfectly happy. When I met my husband, it was during a time when I wasn’t that into games. He was, however, and so began my slow turn back towards gaming. It really wasn’t until I started playing Mass Effect that the gaming crave took hold again. I had the luxury then, again, of being able to devote a couple hours a day to gaming, and it was a luxury that I took for granted.

I commented on Ashley’s post with mention of how things change, whether they have to or you want them to, when you become significantly attached to another person. For me, now, free time (and/or “me time”) happens in scattered fits and spurts. On occasion, and without really knowing how to best put it in words, I simply get anxious to game. I long to spend just an hour or two immersed in a virtual adventure. Add onto that my penchant for solitary gaming and the situation becomes less than pleasant. In those moments, it’s not my love for gaming I’m expressing, but rather selfishness, avoidance, and distance. So yes, it’s one thing when I say that I want a couple hours on a Saturday to play GTA V; it’s another when I say I want the same repeatedly, every single day.

Video games have played an extremely important role in our relationship over the years. They’ve bonded us together as much as they’ve proved problematic. The fact of the matter is that I knew I would start heading towards another low gaming period when I got engaged. I knew that my life would profoundly change and that compromises would have to be made. Since getting married and buying a house, life has become more wonderful than I could possibly imagine. Gaming has not just taken a backseat, it’s a few cars behind trying to figure out how to change lanes.  Why then do I still wrestle with gaming cravings? Why does the fact that it’s been ten whole days since I played GTA V bother me and make me feel ridiculous all at once? Change is never easy, whether it’s change that happens over the course of a few seconds or a few years.  When things get busy and stressful, all I want to do is revert back to a simpler time when I could fill my free time with what I wanted to do. But see, the I is now we. I’m still growing into my roles at home, at work, within society generally which sees me as a “grown-up” even though internally, I still have a long way to go in that regard.

So there are still going to be days when I proclaim play ALL the video games! And maybe I’ll play, and maybe I won’t. Gaming is a brilliant pastime, one that will wait for you no matter how many days, weeks, or months have passed since you picked up a controller. Being in a relationship is a fantastic part of humanity, no matter how many perks or pitfalls might come with it. But the relationship has to come first. Video games, if they’re part of that relationship, will follow in time.


Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play and United We Game.

7 thoughts on “The relationships we keep, with humans and games”

  1. Since at the moment I’m still just an “I” and not a “we,” I do like finding myself thinking about what I want to do. These days, I find it harder and harder to fit time in to game, but when I do, it’s a glorious feeling. Usually my problems are, “Which game do I want to play today?” Or, “Do I feel like texting a few of my friends to see if they’re available to game online?” It’s choices like these that makes things much simpler.

    I’m sure whenever the time comes and I meet Mr. Wonderful, those “I” thoughts will turn into “we” thoughts. Still, I’m hoping maybe I’ll find a guy who likes gaming as much as I do and we can find a game to play together. If not, and I find myself spending more time doing other stuff with him and not gaming, I think I’d be okay with that too. I’ve gone through a big portion of my life not being much of a gamer until recent years, and I’m sure I’ll do just fine without it. I’m secretly hoping it won’t come to that though! 🙂

    1. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that you can take the girl away from the games, but you can’t take the gamer out of the girl! (Or something like that, perhaps more eloquently stated.) It’s one of those things that just becomes engrained once you start playing, even if you’re new to the scene. And as I think someone mentioned on Ashley’s post, there are so many devices these days that have such easy access to games. So even if you find yourself away from the console or computer for an extended amount of time, its easy enough to fire up a handheld or play a few rounds of something on your phone while the significant other is in dispose.

      I’m sure Mr. Wonderful will *be* wonderful no matter what, gamer or not! 🙂

  2. I know what you mean about gaming sometimes taking a backseat to life. And sometimes that’s totally fine — and then you get that itch to play more! A good game will do that to me — make me want to play it every waking moment — and GTA V is one of them.

    Being in a relationship definitely changes priorities. There’s always co-op to play together, and taking time for yourself is important even when you’re committed to someone. I’m an introvert, so it’s always a given that I’m going to need my alone time to recharge my batteries, and I often do that by gaming. But I can totally relate to what you said about taking “me” time once in a while is much different than demanding time to play video games every single day — the latter is a tad selfish in the long run.

    And also, just in general, I think it’s important not to let video games take over in the long term! Kind of like you said about your life changing once you got engaged — that can be a really great thing. We have to get out, put ourselves out there, progress with our lives, and see what the real world has to offer us while we’re here. I’m glad video games are a part of my life but I also want to experience a lot of other things. Sometimes I have to fight my inner introvert and get off the couch… =)

    1. I’m with you there. As I mentioned, when life gets overwhelming, I’m not beyond thinking (or saying), “I’d sure like to take a week off to play games!” But the reality behind that is “I’d sure like to take a week of to catch up on life, and maybe a few games!”

      I fluctuate between my introverted and extroverted sides. Right now is definitely an introvert period — a number of factors keep me from easily getting out and about and mingling with society generally — so that internal push towards gaming makes sense. But soon that’ll make way for holiday stuff, followed by the winter doldrums. Ah…the cycle of life. But we are all more than just gamers, and that’s a good thing.

  3. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Last week on the Geek Force Network, I wrote about my relationships both with games and my better half. I’ve touched upon some of the themes I addressed in my posts here, but consider this GFN article a collected effort of those themes. When you have true a true passion for a hobby like gaming, it helps to find someone who shares it, but even the most the most alike of couples have their differences.

  4. awesome article. After my daughter arrived, gaming took a back seats for a few months. I only started gaming again about two months ago, i try for an hour a night. On the weekends maybe two. My wife and I do nearly everything together….except game…she’s played games..but not much of a gamer anymore. Obviously our daughter takes priority.

    I understand the “Me” and “We” time. At the moment I think I’ve hit a bit of a selfish streak myself. When I’m not busy with my Daughter then I’m gaming and my Wife is watching series.

    I miss her playing games. She never wants to anymore.

    Writing it out and re-reading this comment, it doesn’t seem like we have healthy lifestyle does it? lol

    1. Hmmm…I’d like to think that we’ve taken on challenging rather than unhealthy lifestyles! 🙂 Setting regular priorities is something we all have to do, and I’ll totally admit that sometimes mine get a little out of whack. For me, part of that comes from being so informed about all the great games that are out and how much fun people are having with them. I so want to get in on the action, but now’s just not a good time. So I’ve started limiting the extra time I spend online — Facebook, Twitter and such. In this case, ignorance is not only bliss, but it’s saving my personal life!

      As you’ve seen from my writing, sharing memories is where it’s at for me right now. In real life, family comes first, as you said. Everything else really can and will wait.

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