what do you mean this isn’t gluten-free
Screenshot: Her Interactive

Anyone else here have a significant otter other?

I’ve been with my fiancée for nearly five years (we got engaged this past New Year’s Eve!) and in that time we’ve learned everything about each other. Frustrations, excitements, likes, dislikes, fears, hopes, dreams. Our individual interests have become our shared interests in many cases. Everything is a collaboration and it’s wonderful. We support each other and feel supported by each other.

One way I knew that she was the one was that she didn’t see video games as a dumb hobby for me. I’ve dated people who rolled their eyes at me for liking video games, making me feel like I had to put that part of me away somewhere. She never made me feel lesser and that’s a boon. If you’re ever in a relationship where you feel like you need to switch off a part of your personality, it might be time to reevaluate some things. She’s actually encouraged me to go after jobs in the games industry and having her on my side has made an enormous amount of difference.

After a while she expressed interest in wanting to play games together and I jumped at the chance. I went with what I thought would be slam dunks- Portal and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. I figured since Portal doesn’t have any real fast-paced actin it wouldn’t be too bad, and it’s funny and weird enough that someone unfamiliar with video game tropes would find something to latch onto. Lego games are famously easy yet fun, and great for co-op. The stakes are pretty low in Lego games and the worst thing that can happen in Portal is you restart from a checkpoint, so it seemed like a good gamble on my end.

I was then hit with the reality that for someone who doesn’t play video games and hasn’t grown up doing so, it can be really overwhelming to be confronted with navigating a 3D space. Portal is a great game for people unfamiliar with the puzzle genre, but still presupposes that the player knows how to manipulate a controller with a dozen buttons and two control sticks. I had some bias because I assumed that Lego games were easy, but only easy in comparison to other video games. I had blinders on.

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She wasn’t turned off of games entirely, but definitely hit a point in both games where it just wasn’t very fun because she knew what she needed or wanted to do to progress but couldn’t get the outcome she wanted because she didn’t grow up with a controller in her hand. Button dexterity is a real thing and a hard thing to expect people to just intuitively know.

We moved to a 2D plane and fared better. We played all the way through Never Alone and its DLC- thanks PS Plus!- and had a very pleasant time. She loved playing as the adorable arctic fox and the platforming was responsive and fun. We maybe even learned something about the indigenous people of Alaska! Success all around.

She also picked up Injustice and was able to wreck me as Nightwing and Wonder Woman. Since both of us are comic fans, Injustice was the perfect fighting game to just mash buttons to and have a fun time.

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That was a few years ago. We’re in a new apartment now, and don’t have a TV set up at the moment. I play on handhelds, or at the office, very occasionally on my laptop. She’s expressed interest in wanting to play more involved games once we have a TV again- she loves the idea of The Witcher and all the rad samurai games announced this year at E3. She also shared with me something that I didn’t even know existed: point-and-click adventure games based off of Nancy Drew books. She used to play them as a kid on her home computer, and recently decided that she missed them. After looking them up online, I mentioned that they might even be on Steam- next thing I knew, she had downloaded Steam and two games. I’ve played some of them with her and they’re actually pretty good- there’s always a mystery to solve, and the games look solid. The puzzles can be fiendishly difficult but they rarely feel totally unfair like some other puzzle games.

Seeing her get excited about those games was a little revelatory and kind of made me facepalm a little bit. Of course oldschool adventure games are the way to go. The action is rarely frenetic and they’re fun and funny. I’m a huge advocate for getting people who aren’t largely into games... into games, and I always tell people the Telltale stuff is the way to go. But before Telltale, there were all those million other adventure games- and I have so many of them!

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I’m looking forward to trying out Broken Age with her, maybe Life Is Strange for something a little different. I think this could be a great way to learn to game together and I’m really looking forward to it. We’re in love and it feels great to share one of my favorite hobbies with her in a substantial way.

Today, Grim Fandango, tomorrow, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice!