Video games for couples can be a wonderful way to interact, de-stress and unwind with your partner-if you can convince them to play. Any gamer can tell you that video games can be a great group activity, but also a challenge if your significant other doesn’t play. I decided to interview a handful of “gamer couples” to ask how they combine time with their significant other and the video games they enjoy playing.
Here are some tips from fellow gamers on how to make video games a “couple’s activity” for you and your sweetheart:
Gamer Couples Tip #1: Make Video Games Something You Both Enjoy
Shared hobbies are important for every couple, whether or not the list includes video games. Successful Gamer Couples make sure that they both enjoy gaming-including which titles they play together-so that the time invested is quality time.
“I know we both had a lot of time that we have played and have had defining points in our relationship that we still talk about to this day from gaming together,” explained Brent Fields, who encouraged his wife, Lindsey, to branch-out from vintage NES and Sega games into modern titles so that they could play together. “We tend to play with other people online, but if we are playing some games on console (i.e. Gears of War) we just sit together and play it from start to finish as quickly as possible and work through every difficulty level.”
Den Santamaria shared his experience with wife, Calisto: “Gaming as a couple means that it’s something we can both talk about. We both enjoy it, we spend more time together, it gives us a similar interest to share, gives us new ways to cooperate and work together, and new ways to show affection.”
Gamer Couples Tip #2: Don’t Let Video Games Split Your Time Together
“There have been many times that have felt that we are closer because it is something we can both enjoy, but the urge to play can drive a wedge between us just as easy,” commented Brent, who said he and his wife set limits on their gaming time so it doesn’t detract from real-life, especially the needs of their daughter.
Melany Love and her husband, Michael, use their bond as a Gamer Couple to their advantage in video games: “Our common interest in gaming has definitely brought us closer together. As spouses, we work really well together and can ‘read the other person’s mind.’ We count our gaming as quality time–it’s so fun to work together as a team on a game.” She explained that even if only one of them is currently gaming the time together is still quality time. “I like to watch him play and cheer him on, tell him what to do, etc, and then claim we beat the game together. Because I helped–at least, in my mind I did.”
Den and Calisto have learned to balance how much time each partner in a Gaming Couple devotes to the video games: “If one partner is putting too much time into it, then it can make the other partner feel bad. So, there is a need for balance, and for getting away from gaming as individuals and as a couple from time to time.”
For Stace and Lannette Johnson, video games are another activity they can enjoy together: “To me, television is a time sink. Doing something interactive, either online or in person, is quality time.” The high level of interaction available in video games, especially cooperative multiplayer video games, makes it a very couple’s friendly activity. “When the game is a partners game, like Pinochle or Canasta can be, we team up and play against other people, but most of the time, we play against each other.”
Gamer Couples Tip #3: Balance Time For Video Games With Other Obligations
Any hardcore gamer can tell you that the line between just enough-and too much-time set aside for video games can be challenging. As a Gamer Couple, this fundamental obstacle is even more important to overcome; neither party in the relationship should feel they are neglected, or that real-life is overlooked, for the sake of video games.
Melany Love and Michael also balance their video game time with raising a family: “We play console games only together now, but for a few months we played Aion pretty religiously–and it was awesome–and far too addicting. Which didn’t work for our lifestyle–we couldn’t devote the time needed to sustain a good gaming life and still be good parents. Maybe we can return to the MMOs in 20 years.”
Den and Calisto have mastered the art of making time for both video games and real-life: “Spending time together gaming is both quality time and a time sink, depending on how we feel, and how we approach it. We can make an event out of it with mutual drinks and snacks or just do it to kill 20 minutes.”
Gamer Couples Tip #4: Introduce Your Non-Gamer Significant Other To Video Games Gently
Being a Gamer Couple may be a dream come true for some gamers, but forcing the hobby onto your S.O. is by no means the best route to that destination. As with any hobby, be sure to find video game titles your partner will enjoy and be interested in-don’t just recruit them into playing your favorite titles.
“Once (Calisto) tried a game that she liked, it was easy enough to introduce her to light and fun games that we could play together. From there, her confidence as a gamer built, and soon we could play anything together and she now has her own collection of games now that only she has played,” said Den, whose wife Calisto was a non-gamer when they met.
Video Games can be a shared interest even before the relationship begins, giving a Gamer Couple one more thing they have in common, as Melany and Michael experienced: “Michael and I both played before getting together, though he played a lot more than I had the chance to–thus, he is a good player while I am an enthusiastic mediocre player.” Helping each other grow and develop as gamers is yet another way to encourage a reluctant partner to play.
Often, finding a common ground within the vast assortment of video game genres and platforms can be just as challenging as introducing a non-gamer partner to the gaming world. “Lannette and I were both computer gamers, but in different ways,” Stace explained. “She was already a longstanding Pogo member, and played those kinds of games. After a while, I bought a Pogo membership so we could play games together/against each other online.”
Gamer Couples Tip #5: Recommended Video Games and Genres
The Gamer Couples I interviewed were kind enough to give me a list of their recommended video game titles, or an example of which genre they prefer to play together:
For online cooperative and competitive play, Lannette and Stace Johnson are fans of the online video games available on Pogo. Brent and Lindsay are First-Person Shooter gamers, such as Counter-Strike Source, who also recommend Mario Wii.
Den and Calisto, like many other Gamer Couples, lament the shortage of cooperative multiplayer video games. They have taken to playing strategy video games together, plus action and adventure titles. “If we can get into it together, and we can afford it, then we give it a shot.”
Melany and her husand, Michael, also enjoy co-op console titles. “Our past suggestions include: Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Mario Bros. Wii, and good old Super Mario World.”