Contrary to popular belief, most gamers are not sniveling, sweaty-palmed Towers of Awkward roaming the streets in search of any woman who will have them. In fact, most of us find a girl who puts up with our habits, and forgives the many hours spent saving the world from glowy-eyed zombie Nazis.
But guess what – there’s at least one game that’s driving your girlfriend batshit insane. She might not reveal it right away, but eventually she’s gonna pop and let it all out at once (probably right in the middle of a really cool cutscene), forcing you to make some serious decisions about your future as a couple. Lucky for you we’ve gone to the trouble of asking our own girlfriends precisely which games are the most likely to cause these arguments, so pay close attention to the valuable lessons we’ve learned from their suffering.
Square’s groundbreaking RPG was met with universal acclaim in 1995, and since then has become one of the most beloved games of all time. Charlie, our Xbox editor, recently blew through the DS version and felt the need to explain to his girlfriend, in detail, just how emotionally moving a story about time traveling frogs and homesick robots really is.
Why she hates it: “You lost me at ‘talking frog.’ Then you lost me again at ‘robot love story.’”
Now, his girlfriend is a gamer, but tends to favor realism over whimsical fantasy. Rainbow Six, BioShock and Gears of War catch her eye, but wizards, airships and spiky anime hair are quickly dismissed. They’re not necessarily hated, but when Charlie insists Trigger’s plot is up there with Shakespeare, the direction on par with Orson Welles and the characters so sacred he’s willing to pin them on his desk…
…well, she’s bound to start grinding some teeth in silent protest.
Lesson learned: No matter how interesting an RPG story may seem, it isn’t.
For Dan’s tale of wife-scorning woe, we retrieved this actual exchange between the two concerning this World of Warcraft meets Gran Turismo MMO:
Dan’s story: “I played every day for five hours straight, basically not talking to or interacting with Kat at the time. She has not gotten upset about games most of her life, but I think that one rankled her because it was such a time sink.”
Kat’s reality: “Hearing about the minute details of guitar is bad enough. I mean Dan really owns the guitars, but hearing about how he plans to fix up fictional cars in excruciating detail was truly awful.
“And who takes our one poor, non-souped car for repair maintenance? Me. I don’t think Dan even knows how to unlatch the hood of the real car.”
This situation sounds extremely similar to people who play loads of Guitar Hero or Rock Band, then talk about five-starring songs as if it is somehow on par with playing a real instrument.
Lesson learned: Do not brag about fictional accomplishments when you could be learning the same skill in real life. Y’know, where it matters.
The original Resident Evil took ideas that began on PC, added a virus or two and voila, a budding genre had its foot in the door. Problem is, this new style of gameplay, with limited saves, low ammo and an invincible enemy, baffled more than a few lifelong gamers. This triangle of terror put Eric’s wife through every measurable step of hate, beginning with distaste and ultimately evolving into outright loathing.
Her story: “When Eric first started playing Resident Evil, I didn’t like the game because of the blood, the creepy zombie images and the moaning that came from the zombies… and also from Eric when the zombies got him”.
Above: The game never mentions that Tyrant can't be killed by normal weapons
“Things went from unsettling to annoying when every time I needed something, all I heard was “as soon as I find a save spot.” I’m still doubtful that there were really so few save spots. I’d ask for help sorting the laundry and by the time he found a save spot I had sorted the laundry, washed it, walked a ½ mile to the 7-11 to get more quarters, walked back, dried, folded and put away the laundry. If he said he’d come to bed as soon as he found a save spot, I learned that meant I was sleeping alone – if the noises didn’t keep me up.
"Luckily, he was never playing the game at the exact moment a four-alarm fire broke out in our apartment.”
“My attitude finally evolved to hate when he began teasing me by announcing that he was at the end of the game and only had to fight the final boss. You shouldn’t use words like “end” and “final” if it’s going to take just as much time to play the last scene as you’ve spent playing the whole rest of the game combined. I got so tired of seeing that same scene over and over. The big bad guy, the rooftop, just get into the helicopter already – please!”
Eric’s story: “Man, that final battle really confused me. I kept trying to stand toe-to-toe and outgun the Tyrant. I even tried to knife it to death when I ran out of ammo – a suicidal plan, but I stuck to it, stupidly thinking maybe the Tyrant was just really, really hard. It was several hours before I survived long enough for the rocket launcher to drop.”
Lesson learned: Girls sleep badly when horror game music and sounds are coming through the wall, Eric is incredibly dense and having too few save spots is not only bad for you marriage, it may also be hazardous to your health.
One of 2007’s best games also happens to be one that nearly every girlfriend in the GR office has some measure of disdain for. They all cite the same issues: incessant, intensely loud gunfire, cries of pain and anguish from every angle and explosions deep enough to rattle pictures off the wall. These are all traits that clash with absolutely everything relating to Pokémon, and Brett’s lady, Production Editor Carolyn Gudmundson, lost more than a few pocket monsters due to the incomprehensible cacophony that is CoD 4.
Carolyn’s story: “Aside from nearly going bonkers after hearing 'Big Bird, we are heavily outnumbered! Where aaare yooouuu??' for the 50th time while Brett was trying to get through the campaign on Veteran, the worst thing by far about COD4 is all the horribly jarring gunfire noises. The constant, obnoxiously grating combat sounds were not conducive to my serious Pokemon training at the time, and were almost enough to make my Torterra retreat into his shell. Soap, you're scaring all the Shiny Pokemon away!”
Lesson learned: Maybe consider turning the TV down once in a while.
Next page – Left 4 Dead, PlanetSide and… what’s this, a boyfriend who hates a game?