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.