Geek Life Rants & Essays

Making Room For The Square Headed Mistress

Square Headed Mistress |


We just built Rick a new gaming computer. This is actually the first time he’s owned a computer built specifically to play games on, so understandably the whole process was a little daunting for him. Owning both an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3, most of our gaming needs are taken care of, but there have been a growing number of MMO and PC only games that Rick’s 20 pound Dell laptop just couldn’t handle. It was time to upgrade.

After a minimum of investigation we decided that processor speed and video card quality were the two most important factors for us, so with that in mind were able to go about investigating just how much power we could get for our conservative budget of < $1,000.

As it turns out, for $250 we were able to get quite a decent video card, better than many pre-built computers in our price range came with. Our saving grace was finding an awesome local store that specializes in custom built gaming computers. We just told him what we had (the card), what we needed (a processor that could do at least 3.5GHz & a 600W power supply) and he put the thing together in front of us, including a 22 inch monitor and a copy of Windows to make the thing run.

I helped Rick set it up as soon as we got home, which involved moving desks, filing cabinets & printers to make room for the CPU (seriously, who has one of those to worry about anymore?) In anticipation, Rick had already gone and bought Diablo 3 and StarCraft II. Once WiFi was enabled he quickly added FTL: Faster Than Light, EVE Online & Star Wars: The Old Republic to the shiny new hard drive. We joked that she was a promiscuous slut and nicknamed her “Victoria.”

My new rival.

I know not all partners are as accepting of video games as a hobby as I am. It certainly helps that I have an interest in the industry and the medium and see their potential for innovative storytelling and technical achievement. But that isn’t to say that Rick and I don’t lay down ground rules. Like anything in a serious relationship, it’s about compromise and checking in with the other person.

Yes, I let Rick play on his new toy for most of the week. But we also made a point of scheduling in breaks for dinner so we could catch up on each other’s days and we agreed even before Victoria came into the house that the following weekend would include a couple’s outing where we would focus on each other and not the latest conspiracy involving the Republic Senate.

Even with ground rules and compromise, there are days where Rick stays up to play and I go to bed alone. If he does stay up too late and gets grouchy with me, he knows his ass is grass, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get sad or lonely sometimes. We work hard at balancing all the different parts of our lives, like many other couples, and while it would be easy for me to dismiss video games as “not important,” I know they are important to Rick. And he’s important to me.

And he gave me his guest pass for World of Warcraft.

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  • Reply
    January 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

    And then one day, you come home to find he’s given her a wig and lipstick…

    • Reply
      January 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

      You joke now…

  • Reply
    January 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Come play WOW with G and me!!

    No seriously. Let me add a girl gamer’s perspective:
    On one hand I couldn’t imagine being with a guy who does not play or respect that I play games. Tried it. It doesn’t work. I have hobbies, this is one of them. My hobbies are part of me and thus I will allocate a certain amount of time to them, within a reasonable limit and depending on the season and what game just came out 🙂
    Sometimes more, sometimes less… same thing is valid if I am engrossed in a book. The point is not, “what is the hobby” it’s “how do I judge a person for having said hobby”. For some people gaming is an immature thing to do or they feel left out because they don’t understand and they will judge on that bias alone. This is unfair and shouldn’t be encouraged.

    On the other hand. I know now, from experience that games can ruin a relationship for me. Especially if the other person is a gamer. Gaming is all about having adventures… and if you can game with your partner that is great… but what if none of your adventures are real life memories? I have gotten to the point before when one day, in the middle of a perfectly happy relationship I realized that we had 10 times more memories from gaming for the past year then of real things we had done… and when I stopped to think about it I discovered we had never really taken the time to grow and develop together. When I ended the relationship a little later after 3 years… it was surprisingly easy. There was nothing there to miss, no photos to throw away. Only screenshots of our characters. And at the same time we had never argued or felt our couple was in a bad place. It was just hollow. What had started with tons of potential never grew into anything and ultimately without the games it was boring.

    So in conclusion… keep it in balance. Even if everything seems fine and dandy. Fine and dandy takes care and maintenance don’t take it for granted 🙂

  • Reply
    January 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Wow. Thanks for sharing, E. I get asked a lot if I game with Rick, and while we do try co-op casual games when we can, I also prefer to make our memories in the “real” world. I also think that the perception of games as “immature” is usually a result of unfamiliarity with how games work and where they are now. It’s about more than just the median age of games (in the mid to late 30’s these days), it’s about the kinds of stories and interactions they can enable now. Which is why I, although not a very seasoned gamer, love the games community and try to support it whenever I can.

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