Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sex or Video Games?

My son Nathan refused his nap and played while Inara slept this afternoon. Instead of gaming we watched Twighlight.  I read the books and really enjoyed New Moon.  The movie made me feel like a bit of a pedophile ogling barley 17 year old Taylor Lautner (aka shirtless eye candy.)  All of the sexual tension in the movie brought up and interesting question between John and I this evening:

Sex or Video Games? So the obvious answer: Um.  Both.

When you have children often you have to choose what to do with martial recreation time.  We have our TV shows that we watch when the kiddos go to sleep.  Since we have made our 100-day commitment we have sacrificed our TV time for games.  There is also that pesky sex life to fit into the mix.  When video games take the last iota of energy I have left am I sacrificing physical intimacy for technological intimacy? 

 Like everything else we are trying to keep up both.  Tonight we played DS that is much less vigorous and easier to wind down.  Elite Beat Agents is the game of the day.  It is Guitar Hero meets Ouendan.  We played in bed cuddled close and then John went back downstairs to play Uncharted 2.

Uncharted 2 is a new milestone for our marriage.  John was forthright about purchasing it behind my back.  Before he would have gone to great lengths to lie about buying games without us budgeting but instead he got the game and explained right away that it was a deal that he could not pass up.  We try to always discuss non-essential purchases. The fact that he did not try to hide his transgression means that either he knows I will see his play log or we are becoming more honest with one another about everything.

Playing video games in the bedroom and increased honesty; Video games make our marriage better every day. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

DIE Tinkerbell DIE

DAY 19

Today I have been in a fowl mood and have tried to nurse the small amount of patience I have left back to health.  I have some perspective that things could be much worse: Among other things I could have spent the day in airport lines with my electronics stored and hands folded neatly on my lap.  Are you home yet Henry?

Even though I am on the ground in Bakersfield I feel like I am trapped with my idle hands.  All day I have looked forward to getting a hold of my controller.

While we waited to ride a train John and I talked about which game would be best to work out my anxiety. I decided to reprise my play with Wolverine and maybe have some face time with the Thing.  The tween girls behind us in line sang the same song off key while we waited in line for 30 minutes.  30 minutes does not seem like a long time but the combination of cold, dust and tween tone deafness almost sent me over the edge.  Thankfully we made it on the train without our carolers. 

It was nice that we finally went to see the holiday lights at CALM.  Inara was excited to ride the Carousel and we all went on the train.  With the kids fast asleep I finally got to play some Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.  I played with both Wolverine and the Thing but favored the Thing tonight.

I thought it was strange that the boss for this level was called the Tinkerer.  The reason I found this odd is because that is the name of the vocation that Tinkerbell has a natural affinity for in her new movie (that Inara makes me watch.)  At first I felt bad killing a potential fairy but then he kept sending cyborg minions and all regret fell away.  

Now that I have worked out some of my rage issues I am ready to go to sleep.  John has prescribed yoga for my morning so that I do not go all Linda Blair on him.  I am surprised I am smiling as I write this blog considering how tense I was before we played today.  It is amazing that an hour with my partner can make things that were so irritating seem funny instead.  If you are reading this and stressed for any reason (1) get off the computer because facebook will not help you de-stress (2) grab your honey and spend an hour doing something recreational.  One hour of your day dedicated to the person you love will really change your outlook no matter what you are looking at.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Which Marvel Character are You?

DAY 18

I have completed my fair share of "which person are you?" quizzes on social networking sites.  My neglected MySpace page still lists my secret super hero identity as the Hulk and John as Robin.  At the time I found these quizzes humorous and partially accurate.  Now I realize that they were completely wrong.

To discover your inner Marvel self one must play Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. I am Wolverine.  I tried to switch between Spiderman, Ironman or Captain America but they just do not do it for me. Wolverine is self healing and famous for his use of agro tactics.  I may not have magical healing abilitues but I am a grab the bull by the horns kind of gal.  I am not sure what strategy we will have to take in the game to keep Wolverine in the Alliance but I hope we can hold on to him.

John prefers Ironman.  I cannot be bothered with aiming, flying and shooting. I am not sure if John strongly favors Tony Stark or if he is suffering from Ironman fever.  We went to see Sherlock Holmes today and saw a preview for the new Ironman movie.  John might prefer a more calculated super hero or it could be that he just thinks Tony Stark/ Robert Downy Jr. is awesome.

The controls of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 are easy peasy because the camera automatically chooses the view. My one complaint is how cluttered the screen becomes.  Since there are so many enemies and members of the alliance often the screen is chaos.  A few times I commenced button mashing because I was not sure which hero was mine.  There was no death or crazy confusion like the last few nights so overall this was a successful night for us. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Getting Two-Timed

DAY 17

The last few days have just blurred together.  Christmas is over but the leftover food and festivities are still going strong. We played Bunko for three hours tonight with the Boone and McGraw familia.  I played Wii this afternoon with Marissa but not John. Even though John and I were at the same place it seemed as though we were not together at all today.

By the time we got home we were all gamed out. We miserably attempted to play Lego Batman.  This is the first time we have played this game without beating a level.  John had to check a Game Faqs walk through because we got stuck midway through the level.  There is no shame in the frequent use of a convenient alternative to dropping twenty bucks on a strategy guide.  We did not even get to see any of the tongue and cheek humor cut scenes that make me love Lego Batman so much.

Today I found out John is two-timing me.  I have long known he has a bromance with his best friend Rocky.  They maintain a long distance relationship with regular phone calls, emails and games.  Since I have been gaming with John every day I thought his primary gaming needs were being met by me?  He is still playing solo games via Dragon Age and talking through play with his boyfriend.  On top of that, they are also keeping late night play dates when I am sleeping.

When I first realized Rocky is dominating Johns gameplay time I was surprised.  I must admit as the day wore on and they talked for hours about games I was jealous.  They also tried to lure me into Diablo 2.  I am reluctant because past precedent has shown that whenever I begin any Blizzard title I get addicted.  Diablo 2 and I have some history that pre-dates motherhood.  The last thing I need is to turn into Clara from The Guild.

On the subject of The Guild I am thinking of experimenting with video blogging instead of journal entries?  On that thought it is time to wake  my wheezing sweetie and drag him upstairs to bed before he picks up the controller again. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nintendo= Dangerous

DAY 15 & 16  

It is Christmas.  We still played games. 

Yesterday, after church, celebrating with family and getting the kids to bed I had a nightcap before we played games.  After a glass of wine it is no holds bar with the trash talking.  Lugi was called quite a few choice names when he stole my stars during the game.  Instead of mini-games we played Mario versus Lugi. The New Super Mario is like the old Mario with the minor difference that you get to steal from your partner instead of helping them.  My one-sided ad-hominid attacks were met with chuckles rather than contempt.  I feel guilty that Christmas Eve was filled with obscenities but John said he preferred I work out my holiday stress while the children are sleeping.  

We played DS because we spent the night at the in-laws and the DS makes for easy travel.  This beautiful Christmas day woke early to find Santa left Inara a Barbie corvette.  Inara drove the 5-speed coupe around her grandparents’ cul-de-sac with Nathan riding shotgun.  When the battery finally died we dragged them both back inside.  There was an abundance of food, family and wonderful gifts. 

Lori must have heard I am working on my aim because John and I were given Nerf guns for Christmas.  Do I foresee a nerf battle royal in our future? 

The majority of the Boone family must travel a great distance to celebrate today.  The Arizona, Los Banos and Fresno Boone contingents braved the freeways and made there way to dinner.  After the festivities the Arizona Boone’s were so tired that they kindly lent us their Wii for the evening.

Tonight we played Wii Sports.  First we bowled.  John tried to get fancy and put a spin on his throw and was consequently beaten by me when I picked up a spare.  Wii tennis was a fiasco that resulted in John repositioning at the other end of the couch: my swing began to threaten my safety. I was an embarrassment to an American pastime and went three innings without a single hit. 

When I reflect on our holiday gameplay I feel a twinge of embarrassment that I am so mean to my husband.  Is gaming the only place where I take my frustrations out on my partner?  Does he really think it is cute that I swear like a sailor (or ex-policy debater) or is he just humoring me?  Maybe it is just Nintendo that brings out my rage issues? 

Today was my sons first Christmas and he grinned from ear-to-ear the entire day.  Now both kiddos are in slumber land for what I predict will be many more hours.  Cursing and dangerous Wii remotes aside it was a fantastic day. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doing It with the Lights On

DAY 14

John and I almost always play video games in the dark. The darkness might hold some deep symbolism or “symbology.” It is more likely because when it is dark John does not notice me jerking side to side to will my avatar to maneuver better (which I honestly do.) Perhaps the movie going experience has impressed upon us that screens are best illuminated in darkness?  Or is it just the best time since our kids are sleeping?  I am sure it is most likely due to the latter but today we successfully played for an hour while it was still light outside. 

When we began play of Little Big Planet I realized John had put yellow duck stickers all over my dress. Big yellow ducks are not flattering, even on a sock version of me.  Luckily, I can wash my costume in the game LBP.  The Frida levels we played today had explosives and my mantilla got all sooty so this knowledge came in handy.

John thinks that my character is scary.  I think she is adorable. I think our characters even look like a pair.  We both favor zombie-looking accessories with neutral colors.  John adds tacky accessories to his character but we still look cute.  I need to get a screenshot of our little people running around.  We spent more time today just being with one another during gameplay.  We played with explosives, taunted scorpions, died on cactus and danced. Even though there is not utilitarian purpose in the game we danced.

In the summer of 2006 John and I attended the amazing wedding of our friends Eryk and Dena in Hawaii.  The reception guests were inebriated enough that John felt comfortable dancing with me.  For the first time in the decade since we had been a couple we laughed, spun and danced.  Today while we were playing LBP Johns little sock man grabbed my little sock lady and dragged me to the dance floor.  We spun, made faces and danced for no particular reason.  Not to celebrate beating a level, bad guy or earn points: we just danced. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Warm Toes & Demos

DAY 13

Today we played a new demo on the PS3 called Army of 2: 40th day.  It made me want to play Gears of War.  The third person perspective is easier for me.  

Games are expensive and we do not buy every highly anticipated game.   Admittedly, we do buy a lot of games but cannot afford as many as we would like.  One way to break up the monotony of playing 100 days and not break the bank is demos.  They are free and it gives us a chance to try something new.  If we like it then we can go out and buy it and if we hate it, we go back and play one of our other games. 

They Army of 2 demo must be played as co-op.  This means that John had to either coordinate his schedule with Rocky or play with me.  Since Rocky has a full dancecard I got to play with John tonight.  The only downside to trying out this demo was that John has never played the Army of 2. Today we both went in blind.

We have our own little intermission sessions.  I am blogging while John picks our guns.  They even have an option for diamond incrusted grenades but I passed on that particular choice.  He did style all of our guns to match with camo and changed the stock.  John was almost giddy that you can customize your gun to be hideous and felt he should test the possibilities. 

I am not sure how far we made it into the demo but we killed a lot of people.  We saved a couple innocents but mostly we just shot a ton of bad guys and watched buildings get blown up. One of my favorite parts of the demo was controlling a turret; before today I was not clear on what a turret was but for me it is best described as a metal people mover with a really big machine gun attached.

John and I spent a lot of time apart today.  I went to church and then to help pack for the big move and John stayed home to finish up Christmas gifts.  Tonight, like most days is the first time we get to spend time together (grown-up time that is.) I realized that we have been playing footsie this entire hour. 

Today I am thankful to have someone to play co-op demos with and to keep my feet warm.  

Monday, December 21, 2009

Communicating with a Strategy Guide

DAY 12

We broke up our play a bit today.  After I got home from holiday shopping with my grandma we played a demo of a racing game. I know what you are thinking: if I am still working on controls what business do I have playing a racing game? Pixel Junk Racers is not a traditional racing game.  To control I used only the right and left of the pad and the right trigger to control speed.  I did not have to delicately maneuver the toggles, which is a nice change.  Although it made me feel like between our DS play of mini-games and this racing game that we are digressing.  John reminded me that we are not playing to get better at gaming but to spend time together.

I neglected to previously mention that the thing that makes this 100 days work is John’s unyielding patience.  He unlocks difficult puzzles, instructs me to equip the best weapons, explains and then re-instructs me on how to pick up items each time we play.  If the roles were reversed and I were teaching him to play games my lack of patience would make 100 days impossible.  But one reason for us to engage in this journey is because our interpersonal roles are reversed. 

John sets up the play screens quickly, like it is second nature to him. We actually play for an hour.  I have noticed for other folks an hour is just enough time to set up a game and read the instruction page, but since John has played most of the games we play together he either knows or has a general idea of what we should be doing.  It is like having my own human strategy guide.

I am a professor by profession and a big mouth by nature.  Anyone who has ever spent more than ten minute in my company knows that I dominate most conversations.  This exercise allows John to be the dominant communicator for at least one hour a day.   And I totally appreciate his ludology expertise.

After watching the finale to Sing-off and getting all excited about NOTA winning we played some Castle Crashers.  We leveled up a few times and killed a disgusting looking cat that throws up fur balls. Then I died trying to use my new spell and John beat the consequent level by himself while I blogged. Today in Castle Crashers John gave me the gift of a pet ram; it is adorable and hopefully brings me food like the owl did.

We are working on our interpersonal skills one hour at a time.  For today I kept my mouth shut and just focused on trying not to die. 

DS= De-stress

DAYS 9-11 

I have had a busy few holi-filled days.  On Friday night John and I saw Avatar in 3D.   The movie was as one reviewer accurately summarized an updated version of Dances with Wolves set in space.  Kudos James Cameron, the 3D was great because it was subtle and he did not hit you over the head with it.  If you are going to see this in town the Mayan Cinema on California was nice experience. My one complaint was that the movie was almost 3 hours long.  We usually wait until the kiddos are asleep to play games but used that time to go see this movie. 

We still managed to fit in game time with our DS.  We played versus mini-games with The New Super Mario.  This was perfect for killing time while we perched in our movie seats an hour before to ensure center seats for our friends. 

When playing Mario I enjoyed the card games.  It was a nice distraction to block out the loud teenagers.  I hate to chat too much before a movie because then it is hard for me to shut up.  Often we will send one another text messages just to keep quiet. 

Playing DS reminded me of midnight movie releases with the Gamestop crowd.  When John worked for Gamestop we saw movies at midnight with all the store managers.  We took up two rows of a theatre and both rows would be lit up with little DS rectangles.  At the time it just seemed to be what you do.  I was nostalgic for about three seconds and then I remembered how happy I am to have a husband who is not a Gamestop tool during the chaotic holidays. 

We celebrated Christmas yesterday with the Tehachapi folks at my house.  It was a lot of work wrapping, cleaning and re-arranging; We stayed up until 2 am getting things ready.  Due to holiday preparation John and I amicably decided we should forgo gaming Saturday night.  We were still tired from staying out late to see Avatar the night before and just could not add an extra hour on to our day.  I felt really bad about missing one day in a hundred but John said we would just move our days to 101 to fulfill them all.

After our early Christmas yesterday and putting the kiddos to bed we wanted to watch the finale of Survivor.  Since Survivor is not a very intense viewing experience we just played DS through the show and beginning of the news.  We far exceeded our playtime but it was much more superficial than other play we have experienced in proceeding days. 

I am glad we have games lying around.  I think if all 100 days were just spent playing one game over and over I would go crazy.  Someone asked me how to get their partner to play games with them for 100 days?  They went on to tell me that they play Halo every night but cannot get their partner to join in.  

If anyone is thinking of taking on this project I would strongly warn against jumping right into first-person shooters as the first or only game your play.  I have previous gaming experience but for those who do not have foundational experience or interest in games, starting with Halo right out the gate will decrease the fun factor quickly.  John and I are lucky to actually have a good gaming library that we have acquired over many years.  You do not have to run out and buy a brand new game.  Buy an older game because some of the classics like Mario are easy and can be inexpensive.  

This week my blog will focus on some of the how-to aspects of our 100 days.  A lot of people have sent me questions about costs, starting out or convincing a partner to play.  Today my suggestions is start slow, gaming has a learning curve.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Pouty Husband


Today I was ecstatic to find out that I am teaching Interpersonal Communications at Bakersfield College this spring.  This is great news for our family but maybe not the best for my marriage. Adding 2 more classes to my full-time work schedule is going to have to fit into our 100-day commitment.  Life happens but keeping the vow we have made to one another is not going to go away.  Maybe I will have one assignment related to interpersonal communication and video games?

Both of the guys in my house are miserably sick.  John and Nathan have what we think are sinus problems and have both been clingy and sleepy.  Since he is under the weather I let John pick our game for the night.  He asked if he could cuddle and help me out with Drake’s Fortune. He kept me warm and told me which direction to jump as we played to just past the submarine.

Drake’s Fortune is a nice combination of platform jumping, shooting and puzzles.  It is like there are no puzzles since John just tells me what to do.  I like the premise behind the game and it is pretty.  I have not gotten a firm handle on the camera but I hope that will get better as I progress.

I was offended that John was shocked by my competence in solo play.  He even remarked that I “did way better than he expected.” A further boost to my self-esteem is that John is playing Dirt 2 while I blog and he is terrible; he is not a big racing game fan.  I think its neat that you can rewind play in Dirt 2 so that if you make one itsy-bitsy mistake there are actually take-backs.

John is still pouting that we are not seeing Avatar tonight.  My sister had to make things worse by calling to see if we were interested.  Of course we are interested in going to the movies but we have two small children.  Finding out there is no IMAX showing within 100 miles just made things worse. John is devastated that we cannot see the movie as it was meant to be seen but there is just no way we can leave our kids for 6 hours to see a movie.  He and I both agree we cannot see the movie in IMAX and yet he still pouts.  I mean I want to see the movie but I am not convinced it is pout worthy.  We will likely see it 3D sometime in the next few days when we can put the kids to sleep and slip away from my in-laws for a few hours. 

Today I played video games with my sister and husband, this must be some kind of holiday miracle?  I feel like I need to get in as much play as possible before the chaos of the New Year begins. 

Communicating with a Meat Shield


No one warns you that when you become a parent minutes turn into hours and hours into days.  We have survived the first week of play. It seems like a month but really it has only been 7 days. 

This morning I watched John play Dragon Age.  He got it in the mail today from the Gamfly account that he swore to me was long cancelled (insert nod of annoyed wife). It was very pretty.  Even though this was not part of our hour, I wanted to mention it because I actually paid attention. Rather than feigning interest or finding another task while he uses the TV I actually became engrossed in the game he was playing.  This is one behavioral change that is already evident from our 100-day commitment.

Tonight we went back to the beginning and played Borderlands again.  Saying I am getting better at first person shooters is like saying I am getting better at cooking.  The end result may be burnt but I get an A for effort. John will eat whatever I cook no matter how burnt and questionable the end result; his appetite for first-person shooters has not yet been dulled by my lack of skill. 

His attempts at giving instruction in Borderlands are actually funny.  We have been using the 360 a lot more the last few days and so switching back and forth between controllers is confusing for me.  He asked me how he should refer to the buttons so I know which ones to push and even I was at a loss.  People have scoffed that video games are not a form of communication. Performing tasks with time restraints while learning an interface is a difficult task.  Doing all that while trying to find the words to help a partner learn and succeed together is near impossible.

Today John added a new moniker of “meat shield” to his terms of endearment for me.  I am playing as “Brick” the beserker and often just charge the enemy.  Since I equip a shotgun John let me know it would be best for me to run ahead and clear a path.  It took a few encounters and his kiss on the forehead after calling me “meat shield” for me to realize he was using me as cannon fodder.  I am not mad since he has resurrected me or helped bring me back from the brink of death a quite a few times.  Choosing to play the berserker role sets up the game for me to position myself as human wall. 

I started my blog today talking about how parenthood makes the days seem longer.  As a parent you are tasked to accomplish so much each day that time becomes relative.  When we played Borderlands today time just flew by.  Our next quest John remembered as a particular challenge and when we checked the time we realized we were far past our requirement. 

I hope that we continue to enjoy one another so that time passes without notice; That we refine our communication both during and after gaming; That we make it through these 100 days. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Eleventh Hour: SLEEPY


Today the tasks of picking up a controller and opening my laptop took strenuous efforts.  I am so tired even after turning the contrast down completely on my screen the light still hurts to look at; this entry was not proofed.  The holidays are chaotic but my exhaustion is self-inflicted.  I started a new book series and along with parenting and holiday responsibilities I read both Marked and Betrayed of the House of Night series in the last 48 hours.

This morning I stayed up until about 1:00 am and read while John feel asleep playing games downstairs.  We spent time together but some how slept on separate floors in the midnight hours? 

Our plan was to play games at the Flores house tonight.  When we called to confirm our plans our hosts cordially let us know they completely forgot we were coming.  We decided to hang out with the in-laws instead and then made our way home to put the kiddos to bed.  It seems that for another evening we are spending our mandated hour of quality time literally at the eleventh hour. 

Today we played Castle Crashers, which proved fun even though I am deliriously tired.  It is nice to play a quick hack and slash that does not require intensive critical thinking skills.  I think tonight I need some rest and recuperation.  The best thing I can do before I blog tomorrow would be to locate my glasses.  I am in no condition to wear my contacts and the bad guys and trees all look the same when you are near sighted and without optical support.  

After almost an hour of Castle Crashers we switched over to the PS3 with the intent to try the co-op of Burnout. I am always amazed how every Burnout game is able to up the soundtrack ante and come up with even better music.   It was the first time we loaded Burnout on our new PS3 (thank you Santa) and so we had to go through all the tutorials and menu sequences.  Then we realized we needed updates and decided to forgo Burnout until at least tomorrow. 

As the end of our first week of martial gaming is nearing I think the one thing I have realized is it is not just about being present for an hour.  It’s about finding a way to make that hour of time fit into our lives.  Our marriage and gaming is not a chore that should have to be pushed until the last possible minutes of the day.  The next ten days will include Christmas and all the family obligations and chaos entailed in holiday festivities. Inara only has 2 days left before her school break and then we face the toddler tyranny that tries to position our PS3 in a Blu-ray monopoly.  I hope to keep close to my heart the idea that I need to make time for my marriage before the days end.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Multi-Tasking, Like Batman

Today we watched the premiere of Sing-Off and played Lego Batman.  We finished our level after the show but it was a nice break switching back and forth.  I forgot how hilarious Lego games are.  Today was refreshing because instead of regimented play it seemed like we were playing during commercial breaks without any thought of why; we were just hanging out and playing like we might have before we had kids.  

I cannot find my glasses an hour of play did give me a bit of a headache.  John seemed annoyed that I kept asking him where my character was until he realized I could not see the screen.  I am glad we were playing Lego Batman because we enabled unlimited lives to compensate for my squinting.

I need to finish my post soon because Dollhouse is waiting in my queue and must be watched immediately; as you all know I am an avid fan of all things Whedon. 

First I need to illuminate a few thoughts about multi-tasking.  Having kids seems to almost demand multi-tasking.  John hates that I blog or make tea or write little notes when it is not my turn to play.  He thinks that I am not “really” there.  So does the hour count if I multi-task?  Today we divided our attention between television shows and play so we were technically both multi-tasking.  It is okay if we both divide our attention but not if I lose focus?  Can multi-tasking be so bad if Batman does it?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Anniversaries & Destruction


Our first wedding anniversary we were too broke to go out and celebrate.  We spent the entire night playing crash mode of Burnout.  We lived in a shitty one room flat without insulation or a heater.  After 11 straight hours unlocking everything possible we dined on Del Taco breakfast burritos and finally napped.  To this day it is one of my favorite memories.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that today we played Pain for most of our hour.  It is similar to crash mode on Burnout but with a little too much Jackass humor for my taste. Slingshoting a virtual body into exploding objects was not as fun as when they are encased by cars.  The bowling level was great; my favorite surprise was when the bowling pins got swapped out for mimes.  I also liked that you could throw debris in the way of your opponent rather than just wait for it to be your turn.  Traditional bowling would be so much more fun that way.

We also played the demo of Ninja Turtles that incited an 80’s flashback.  We reminisced about one of the best cartoons ever but were not impressed enough to drop $10 bucks to continue our trip down memory lane. We tried Burn Zombie Burn since it has zombies but did not care for the split screen view.  Today our theme was chaos and destruction and it reminded me of being huddled together in that tiny room six years ago.  I am married to a man who indulges my affinity for supernatural science fiction and in turn I do not criticize his yearning to try random downloaded demos; a better marriage may not exist. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gaming Purgatory & the Subsequent Snuggling


Sometimes when you are tired, stressed and just need a quick break playing games is the best cure.  Today was not one of those days.  We borrowed DJ Hero.  John played DJ and I played guitar.  We played about five our six songs before we just realized 2-player was not fun. LBP has been old faithful the last few days so we decided to play a few downloadable sequences. We counted the minutes until finishing our hour and finished our time tired and restless. The stress of the holidays and sick little ones was not helped by gaming.

Tonight gaming together was not fun.  On the bright side we are not trying to decompress in separate spaces then falling asleep apart.  We shared our gaming purgatory and instead of staggering slumber we head off to bed together for the first time in many months; a nice bi-product of our hour-long ritual.      

Friday, December 11, 2009

John’s Addiction to Accessorizing


I was almost ready to go to sleep and give up gaming a few minutes early today but then we played the Frida level of LBP and I was sucked in again.  If you do not know who Frida is then please google her immediately.  One thing I learned on our levels today, that I kind of already knew, is that John is a costume whore.  He loves to accessorize his characters. I have given him grief for this previously when we played WoW.  LBP makes it so easy to re-equip stuff that John will stop in middle of level and change appearance.

I must admit the costumes in the Frida level are too cool.  I know have a mantilla and skeleton face on my little person.  She looks a lot like me on Dia de los Muertos.

As I wrote this entry john took a few minutes to decorate our house (our LBP house).  It is nice he is taking initiative but feathers and scary faces is not my idea of interior design.   The rubber ducks and myriad of flowers on the ceiling are refreshing. We need to get some more items and rework the place in a few days.

I am so glad we get to use our PS3 for more than watching our 2-year olds Disney blu-rays.  

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nursing and Gaming- Our first Roadblock


It is a cold rainy day here in Btwon. I went for a jog and John went to donate blood.  After our daily obligations we found time to get in an hour of Little Big Planet. 

Before our hundred days I had watched John play LBP; I thought the controls would be more challenging than they are.  I had issues with depth but the game is really easy to play. After getting through the first few levels my 10-month old demanded my attention.

We made a marital commitment and a hungry infant did not impede our gaming.  I angled the baby to nurse while playing LBP.  Nate loved watching us play and we made it an entire level before he realized that the controller makes the little people on the screen move. We were not so successful in our user created play of Ninja Warrior.  Breastfeeding while gaming has put a kink in our plans but not stopped us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Patient Partner


Today we played Borderlands.  I knew that first person shooters made me a liability in co-op. That is putting it lightly: I was worse than a 10-year old noob. The opening was astounding enough that I am riveted to continue with this game. John has shown unwavering patience.  He saved me after I went down twice.  He also helped me find health more than once.  I know Johns sheer tenacity and love will show us through these 100 days even if we play first-person shooters the whole time.  Thankfully we have Guitar Hero and Buffy to even out the score. 

100-day commitment

I am keeping this blog to chronicle a 100-day commitment I made to my husband.  Dieting together or daily sex can increase intimacy but my blog is not about either of those things.  For the next 100 days we are going to play video games. 

John and I have been together almost a decade and married 7 years.  Our relationship did not begin as a star-crossed romance but a geeky friendship.  Before dating we watched professional wrestling and played video games while dinning on chex mix and string cheese cuisine.  I was a social creature that demanded John accompany me to our prom but even then we never had any illusion Bella and Edward status.  Here we are a decade later some how grown-ups with two kids & a mortgage.

On our anniversary or at occasional parties we will pick up a controller together but this is a rare event. 

We both give our all to our kids, family and jobs but have let our relationship fall low on our priority list.  To invigorate our marriage we have made a vow to one another:  for 100 consecutive days we will play video games together for at least one hour each day. 

I hope here to find suggestions, comments or encouragement because I know it is going to be a hectic few months. 


John and Chris must play video games together at least one hour each day.  The time can be broken up but not banked for future dates. 

Co-op, party and online play all count as “together.”

Single player games can be used if controller is shared evenly or one player helps guide another through a previously played level.

Games must be considered video games.  Arcade, console, handheld and PC games qualify as play.  Facebook and cellular phone games do NOT count.