Character Select: Interest and Intrigue

Written by on July 8, 2013 in [, , , , ]

I’ve talked you fine folks to death in this column about my children and my personal hobbies but I haven’t spent a significant time discussing my relationship with my husband. As far as couples go Don and I are an interesting combination. Our personalities complement each other really nicely, everything I’m neurotic and ridiculous about he takes in stride and vice versa. He’s calm and shy while I’m animated and outgoing. We fit together in a way that’s kind of hard to describe with words, it’s more something that you just need to see through knowing us in person. The two of us have a nice Venn Diagram type of relationship where we have wonderful things that integrate us together but also things that we keep completely separate. Our greatest differences come in the form of video games. To clarify, I love them and he barely has a passing interest in most games.

I would estimate that once a year a game comes along that grabs Don’s interest. Some of them like Fallout and Skyrim, get his attentions because he actually wants to play them. Other games though are the type of thing he just wants to sit and watch me play. It turns out The Last of Us is one of those games. Over a recent weekend I booted up The Last of Us and was playing through a section while the kids took a nap. Don had gone out to the gym and when he came home he quietly plopped down next to me on the couch and watched. I went to turn off my game and he told me I could keep playing because he wanted to see what happened next.

I’m not foolish enough to even hesitate at an invitation like that but I didn’t want him to see this game from the middle so I offered to restart the story on a different save so he could see it from the beginning. Don got a snack and a glass of wine and settled himself on the couch and watched the first 90 minutes of that game immediately expressing an interest in continuing this experiment in the coming evenings so he could see more. This works out well for two reasons. First, I get to share something I really love doing with Don. Second, I get to spend more time in the world of a game that has gotten it’s tendrils in me in a rare way.

I find The Last of Us to be gripping and I want to see if Don agrees with my feelings on the world and the characters. It has already led to wonderful conversations about the impact of some of the overall story beats and how having children changes our view of that story. I love watching him fall in love with Ellie, easily one of my favorite characters in a game for as long as I can remember. I so rarely get to experience games with this man, to share something that I love so much with him, so I’m trying to savor the experience. It seems especially wonderful that it’s this game because I’m so in love with it for a fantastic number of reasons.

Do I think this will lead to Don wanting to watch me play more games? Absolutely not. He has a very strong grasp on what he does and does not like and he has zero interest in checking out every game that I feel I need to sit down and play. There will likely be another game in the future that grabs his attention (and with our track record it will either be made by Bethesda or Naughty Dog) but I have no reason to think he’ll magically start following the news and begging me to play some game he read about in a press release. Don’s interest in The Last of Us speaks less to an increase in his video game interest and more to the quality of that one game’s story and visual appeal. If Naughty Dog can capture the attention of a man who doesn’t really care about video games within 15 minutes, using the PS3 hardware, what might they be able to do with PS4?

This situation allowed me a glimpse of what people who don’t follow video games see and could see in the future and put my cynicism on pause for just a minute. The result is even more excitement about games and the new consoles that will soon be playing them.


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Author: Elaine View all posts by
Electrical Engineer, podcaster, writer, gamer, tech lover, mother of two children (who are often trying to kill me) and lover of rum, vodka and wine from a box.

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