Do Video Games Factor Into Your Relationship?


I just finished watching this rather infuriating clip from the Tyra Banks show where Tyra’s theme for the day is how to “decode your man.” Her couple in this segment’s issue is that the guy is “obsessed” with video games and his girlfriend is tired of it.

Tyra immediately begins pouring condescension on the poor bastard. After asking him his age her response is, “Oh so you’re 23, not 13.” Then when he explains how video games factor into his social life, like for example he discusses titles he’s playing with his boss, who is also a gamer, she says, “Oh so if your boss is saying it, it’s very validating like ‘this is OK, my boss does it.’ ” It’s enough to make you want to reach across through the screen and slap her with a Wii-mote.

Clearly not knowledgeable on video games herself, Tyra enlists a “gaming goddess,” X-Play’s Morgan Webb, to help her “decode” this clearly troubled individual “obsessed” with gaming. Webb tries to play psychologist, saying that sensitive men like RPGs because they’re their version of romance and an escape from reality. Other guys might like FPS type games because they want to be a hero and fight against evil. Guys who play sports games avidly probably grew up wanting to be a pro, and now Madden is the closest they’ll ever get.

Ooo look at the big grown-up with her BOOK.

The moral of the story is that the guy should put the controller down and spend more time with his real-life girlfriend, an idea which he emphatically endorses because he’s surrounded by 200 bloodthirsty women on the Tyra Banks show, with the host saying she’ll hunt him down if he doesn’t follow through.

But this segment raises an interesting question that isn’t brought up at all. It’s best brought up by a surprisingly insightful YouTube commenter who says mockingly:

“My boyfriend has a hobby that I won’t involve myself with. How do I stop him from enjoying his hobby?”

The idea is never once brought up that the girlfriend could actually try to include herself in his hobby. If she was an avid painter or something, and spent hours locked in her room away from her boyfriend painting, the advice might be that he should take an art class with her or something similar. But here the notion that she would ever try to include herself in that part of his life isn’t even on the table.

There are no non-retarded pictures of couples gaming.

I guess I want to open the floor up to you guys to see if any of you have experienced something similar. Has video gaming ever become a problem in your relationship, where one partner takes things way to far, and the other person feels neglected because of it?

Or conversely, are there any opposite stories of couples who happily game together, and it’s one of your primary fun things you do in your relationship? And has this ever come to pass where one partner was initially not a gamer, but ended up being converted?

As for myself? I’m somewhere in the middle. My girlfriend used to love older school titles likes Crash Bandicoot and Sonic the Hedgehog growing up. These days however, between school and more school, she doesn’t have time for games anymore, and as she hasn’t played in years, it can be hard to jump into new titles with complex concepts and control schemes that have evolved far beyond Sega Genesis.

“Honey, your goddamn head is in the way again.”

I’ve tried to teach her Call of Duty and titles like that, and she picked them up pretty quick, but to be competitive, it does take a decent amount of time and practice. Rather, I’ve gotten her into one of my other hobbies, archival TV watching, and so far we’ve made it through every episode of True Blood and Dexter, and are currently finishing up Arrested Development. It’s a fun leisure activity we both enjoy in addition to doing actual “coupley” stuff like dinner and movies and bars and what not.

So gaming isn’t necessarily a bonding point for us, but while she’s doing homework, if I’m done writing I’ll play a game or two, and it’s never an issue. Without her to pull me away though? I would probably be a playing a lot more, which I’m very much willing to admit would be not the best situation.

But the point is, rather than dismissing my hobbies as childish or stupid (it is my job after all to report on these things) she tried to get actively involved, and discovered a bunch of good shows she now likes. Just because you don’t initially understand or appreciate something, does not make you right and the other person wrong and in need of crackpot therapy on Tyra.

So if you have any stories of your own to share about this issue, please feel free in the comments. I’m quite curious to hear what you have to say.