Thursday, June 25, 2015

100 More Days (aka 200 days)

Day 179: Here we go again, Here we go again

I vote more Firefly? Browncoats FTW
The downside of playing for 100 consecutive days of gaming to save our marriage is that we played even when we were cranky, tired, annoyed, or uninterested.  In this blog I have talked a lot about my range of emotions and even when I could barely stand I would play.  I have to admit the last few weeks our enthusiasm for gaming together has been waning.  The routine of playing daily quickly dissolved into fitting a game in a few times a week.  The last few weeks we have had a lot of conversations about what comes next?

But let me back up and explain the awkwardness that jump-started the conversation.

Tired, Awkward and Missing Kiddos 

Marriage Reboot without Children (Eeek)

The in-laws recently took the kiddos to the “happiest place on earth” for over a week.  We live in So Cal but the in-laws in Florida so they did a fly by and picked up kiddos and took them to Disneyworld.  The kids were having the time of their lives chasing Doofenshmirtz through the Epcot center me and the hubs were left really alone for the first time since our marriage reboot. 

When Shit is Weird Pack Your PS4

Every parent will admit that a week reprieve from parenting is nothing to scoff at.  But when you are redefining your relationship the kids leaving can make everything, well, really uncomfortable.  The day after the kids left, I had a union meeting and the hubs tagged along.  This was our first hotel stay without our kids.  We knew it might be difficult so we packed the PS4.

We arrived late (around 10 pm) and prepared to immediately set up our system.  But of course to add to our turmoil our four-star hotel assigned us a room and TV with no HDMI port.  The hubs seemed uneasy so I called the front desk, concierge, and hotel engineering office.  To add insult to injury each guy I talked to explained to me where the HDMI  port would be on my TV (you know, since I have no penis of course this entire problem is obviously that I don’t know how to use a TV).  When the last guy finally understood that I just needed a new TV we finally got the problem resolved around 1am.  So before collapsing into bed we turned out Magicka and killed a few monsters to calm our nerves.
PS4 Hotel Vaca like a Boss 

What Comes Next

My take-away is my PS4 is awesome and that I vocalized that I have been surprised by the genre of games that I have enjoyed playing on it.  During this project we have played a lot of games but no video games entirely through.  So we decided this will be our next conquest.  We plan to choose one story-driven PS4 game and in 100 days play through it together.

We were very scientific about our game choice.  We made pros and cons of various games (ex: Witcher, Tomb Raider, Wofienstien, Last of Us).  We watched gameplay, read ESRB, and even got on the message boards to see what would be worth three months of our life.  I know at this point you are frantically swiping ahead on your smart phone screen to see what we chose but you will just have to keep reading.

Learning from our last 100 days, we decided we don’t have to play every day but that we won’t play the chosen game solo.  After 20 years of friendship, 12 years of marriage, and 200 days of blogging and games I am still finding new ways every day to love the hubs.  Here is hoping the next 100 days has more good days than bad and I will find a new a different way to love games.
Proof We Need a New Game ASAP

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Unashamed Button Masher

Day 176: Gaming without Tantrums

Within many aspects of my life I am fairly accomplished person but I really do not like to fail.  I will be the first to admit that I am feisty and I am not always proud of the way I react when I am not automatically successful at a task.  Yoga has helped to calm my ego but when I am with the hubs there is less censorship and accountability because he is my person.  Simply put, if I am going to be a brat when I suck at a game it is usually while I am playing with the hubs.  I know it is terrible to admit in writing that with my partner I am my worst self but this is usually true.  The implication of my limited range when it comes to game controls has been a major factor in our play and communication as a couple.


Twilight Magicka session in Hotel 

For decades I have been able to get through gaming habits with hotkeys and button mashing.  The hubs recently (yesterday) admitted that he has strategically chosen/encouraged co-op games based on the complexity of the controls because he knew I just wasn’t good enough for more advanced games. 

After six months of co-op gaming we have been introducing new challenges to see if I can overcome my lifelong habit of mashing.  I shamefully admit that using both analog sticks is still unnatural to me but I am getting there.  The first game that has really started to push the boundaries of my skill has been Magicka.  


As I mentioned in a previous post we starting our 100 days with Diablo and moving on to games like Helldivers is tuff because all of a sudden there is friendly fire.  The idea that not just your character can die but you can kill your party requires much more collaboration and focus sans button mashing.  Magicka has both friendly fire, new spells every level (some that suck), and forces me to use both analog sticks simultaneously whether I like it or not.  I cannot be successful in this game if I just mash buttons but the satisfaction of killing monsters together has increased ten-fold because things are just hard enough.
Healing Spell Kills Skeletons (Duh)
Dr. CCB & MrNinjaman in Magicka 

Tip of the Day: When it comes to married gaming its okay to start out easy but always try to be better (as long as you are both having fun).  Also, if your partner is not at your same level of gaming don’t berate them.  Instead take a page from the hubs book and ease them into gaming with quality titles that are within their current range.  Most of all—it takes time but things do get better.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Video Games and Couples' Communication

Day 156: Deep Dark Secrets 

This post is intended for my fellow gamers and I am hoping that non-gamers lack interest and do not explore.  Today I will reveal some deep dark secrets that might have implications (so don’t rat me out or I will stop blogging).

I will stop blogging if you rat me out.

And I will come after you.  Be afraid. 

Video Games, Venting, and Long Phone Calls

When bad stuff goes down most people need to vent and if a therapist is not available they call a friend or relative.  I am so lucky to be part of a large family and have a great network of friends that support one another.  The downside is that I regularly get calls that last for a minimum of an hour comforting or letting some just talk through their current crisis.  This is not me whining because I will be the first to admit that I have the gift of gab and talk just as much as the next person.  But some days I just don’t have it in me to be a good friend and console others. 

Question from a Reader

Recently I received an email from a wife asking what my thoughts are on her hubs ignoring her to play games?  My first impulse was to say that is a jerk move and its never okay to ignore you partner.  I even started to construct a blog post about patriarchy and power relationships between different genders.  But then I realized that’s actually a lie.  There are several times when it is completely acceptable to both be at home, hanging out, and not fully engaged with one another because one of you is playing a game (um I did that for 10 minutes this morning before I got out of bed while playing PvZ).

It’s Okay to Play Solo and Block Out Drama

For example.  When lets say just for sake of argument that my twin calls and needs to tell me about the horrible encounter she had with her kids school that day.  As soon as she takes a deep inhalation I know this is going to be a long call.  If she seems particularly upset I will put my controller down and give the hubs a knowing look.  He is cool about letting me sit beside him while he plays a solo game and I listen and support my sis. 

The way I use games that is NOT good while interacting with others

"Oh no they didn't: what did you say?"
What is NOT cool to do to your partner is to use games as a way to dodge communications.  For example.  Sometimes people call and I just need to finish a final planet so I can get my upgraded mech in Helldivers.  I will still answer my phone and listen to my sis (just an illustration) but will often mute my phone.  If I do not mute my phone I will mute the TV and wear headphones while I soothe the sis and kill some bugs.  So I totally do this.  Like more than once or twice a month I am guilty of being there for someone but being a superficial and shitty listener.  I mean I get some brownie points for answering the phone but really any advice I provide is not really going to make the school administration stop being crappy to the person telling the story.  Even though I do this on a regular basis it is really uncool to do this to your life partner.  Well its really uncool to do it to anyone but lets get real.  Its like the scene from Ferris Buellers Day Off when sometimes people just need a reassuring “ah”, “I know” and “I agree that is so unfair” not for you to actually solve their problem. 

Tip for the day: try to be together even when you play single person games.  I fold laundry, grade papers, and read my angsty paranormal romance while the hubs plays solo games beside me that don’t interest me.  He sleeps, folds laundry, paints models, give instructions, and surfs the internet while I play solo beside him.  We do not always have to be playing a game together to feel connected.  Plus watching someone kill big ugly demons can really be soothing while you are on a long venting phone call.

Don't be a Jerk and use games to ignore people (all the time)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PWNED by my Six Year Old

Day 149: Unpack the PS4 first

My kids are having a hard time adjusting to the end of the school year (my lil’ geeks love their school) and to moving homes so abruptly.  Our move was sudden and the kids have been distressed about their belongings being in garbage bags.  There is not a single room in my home that is unpacked and not under construction (my kitchen is almost done just missing half of the floor).  With all the stress and woes that come with the end of the school year and moving we have still made time to kill some (very few) but some bugs and set up our high speed internet.

Kitchen halfway done 

Laundry Room Paint Done 


Our previous residence had spotty cell reception and rock built into several of the interior walls that disrupted our wifi connection.  Even with high speed internet and two top of the line routers our connection was not consistent.  I would often hide my daughter’s kindle so she wouldn’t steal bandwidth while I was trying to play a game (I know, I know I can be a shitty mom sometimes). 

Our awesome neighbors at the new house let us siphon Internet for a few days but this was not adequate or viable long-term solution.  The hubs called our local service provider to tell them we were moving and the next day they came out and hooked us up.  The craziest part of this story was the service guy was 10 minutes early (we weren’t even home when he arrived).  We were unpacking games and anime and quickly discovered the guy was a fellow nerd who explained why we should upgrade and how to maximize our service.  Um…this guys is basically my hero.  Needless to say I have not had to hide my kids kindle for 2 days straight.


My little PS4 Con Artist 
I am not trying to diminish the fact that my kids have actually had a hard time adjusting with our move.  But my son is totally using his baby brown eyes to milk it for all its worth.  The hubs and I discovered he has been logging 3-4 hours of PS4 time a day by conning adults into “playing with him because he is lonely” (cue teary eyes here).  My teenage sister, neighbor, hubs, and myself have all fallen prey to this adorable kid without realizing we are each getting conned.  No wonder unpacking is taking so darn long.


So the master bedroom needs so much work I cannot even begin to describe to you.  I love that the kids don’t call it the master bedroom but “mommy’s room.”  Currently all that is in that room is my bathtub sofa, yoga props, our 42 inch high def television and my PS4 system and games.  The room is not practical for anything at this time but playing PS4 which though not ideal is working for us.

My blogging and gaming have been inconsistent but they are not abandoned completely.  Now that I am on to my 6-year olds manipulations I will get some married time with my controller.
Me n Kiddos on Mother's Day just bc