Gaming and The Lovely Wife

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It will come to no big surprise to anyone when I say that I’m a gamer.  I love to play games.  Card games, board games, dice games, role-playing, and computer games.  There aren’t many games that I don’t want to play.  I enjoy playing them, even when I know that I’m no good at playing many (or even most) of them.

To me, they are a release; an escape from the cares and pressures of the world that I live in.  In a game I can be the Emperor of a Galactic Civilization, or just some bloke concentrating on my dice rolls, instead of how to fix a bug that just cropped up at the office this week.  I can disconnect from the world for a while, and just have some fun.

The Lovely Wife, on the other hand, is wired differently.  I don’t think she can disconnect from her surroundings the way I do.  I know, that when she plays a game (or does anything else relaxing, like watching a movie), that she has a loud chorus of tasks in the back of her mind shouting at her: “If you weren’t having fun now, you could be getting some things done!”

I have tried, unsuccessfully, to assist her with this difficulty.  In part, its because I think she is already overstressed, and that if she could just shut the ‘busy’ away for a while, she’d derive a lot of benefits.  But, its also partly selfish.  I can admit that.  I want a companion to play with me.  You can’t play checkers, chess, backgammon, or go, by yourself.  Sure, you can play against a computer, but thats not 1/8 as fun as playing against your best friend.

Computer games, in general, have been the worst for her.  She knows that I love to play them, and, bless her, she occasionally convinces herself that she would enjoy this new game.  For a while, we were trying to play Guild Wars.  We got a few copies of the game, installed them, updated them, and for a few days, we played quite a lot.  Then a week passed, and then a month, then four.  Now its probably been almost two years since she has logged in herself.  Occasionally, I login for her, update her client, etc, just on the off-chance that today she comes to me and says “lets play Guildwars after the Spec goes to bed”.  I’ll be ready for her when it happens…but to be honest, I’m beginning to doubt it ever will.

The most recent journey down this familiar road had to do with “Sims 2”.  The game is hers.  She picked it out.  She paid for it.  We brought it home and stated to play it.  “Sunday Night Sims” we had at our place for a few weeks.  Then a few Sundays in a row went by without playing.  I know, stuff happens, life interferes.  Then, last Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?), we played again.

It was immediately apparent that it wasn’t the world of laundry, cleaning, bills, and tricky relationships that she’d disconnected from, but rather the game!  After a number of prompts from her on my part to actually participate in the game, she eventually put the controller down, and declared that she didn’t understand the game.  “Whats the point?” she asked.

Thats a fair question, especially so, considering the similarities between her home life and her SIM’s life.  Why play a game where you are running around, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, and trying to talk to an uncommunicative husband?  I guess I understand why she wouldn’t like it.  On the other hand, I’ve thought for years that, if she ever really played the game (I first had this notion with Sims (1) ), that she’d actually like it.

Now, what would suggest such an idea to me?  Secretly, I still think that if it ever ‘clicked’ for her, that she’d really love the game, and I’d love that for her.  So, I’m going to spell out here the reasons I think she would/should enjoy this game.

  • She could, if she chose to, play someone with a different personality than her own.
  • The game is highly task oriented.  The sims have wants and needs, and the mechanism for progressing in the game revolves around meeting those desires.  An individual need is pretty straight-forard:  Accomplish a task.  These tasks often break down into simple sub-tasks (get a new friend / get better at a skill).  I think this would appeal to her GetThingsDone nature.

  • Home Decorating / Home Building .  This is an entire facet of the game that I know she has not yet really done anything with.  In the game, you can decorate your space.  You don’t have to live with the pre-supplied home.  Don’t like that bathroom?  Knock down some walls.  Add a second one.  Hate the colors?  Change the wall paper.  Put in new carpeting.  Add a few paintings, some decorative plants, and some nicer furniture, and now you’ve got a brand new place!I know how much The Lovely Wife like to decorate, and even just THINK about decorating.  This would give her an avenue to do it, without the hassle of actually going through the process.

  • Landscaping.  I guess this is really a part of the home decor bit, but, at the same time, its different too.  Landscape to bare?  Plant some trees.  Want some privacy?  Add a fence, or maybe a hedge.  Want a flower garden?  Plant one, and then spend your days caring for it, or hire a gardener to help out with it.  Our little townhome doesn’t have much space for real gardening.  Perhaps this could be a proxy?

Lastly, I know that part of the problem is that her character is a bit of a floozey.  That doesn’t gel with her at all.  I’m guessing that The Lovely Wife doesn’t know that she can visit the Therapist, and change around some of her needs and motivations.  Perhaps if she ‘liked’ her SIM, she’d get more enjoyment out of playing with her.

In the end, I think its doubtful that The Lovely Wife will find enjoyment from the game, but you know that I’ll enjoy the time I get to spend with her, as we explore this world together!

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~ by brianackermann on 2009-04-17.

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