Weekends for me have become largely consumed with playing computer games. My top two obsessions of these are World of Warcraft, and The Sims 2. Part of which I play will depend on what I’m doing (i.e., The Sims 2 lets me multitask when I have it running, WoW only rarely does). Part of which I play will depend on what computer I happen to be at / want to be at – The Sims 2 is annoyingly PC-only (at least, the copy we have is, they may have released a Mac version but I couldn’t afford it anyway) so if I don’t mind being stuck at the desktop it’s an option – if I want the freedom to roam and/or sit in the recliner, it’s not. WoW on the other hand is dual format, so is installed on both the PC and the laptop. Yay for that! Occasionally I dabble in other games… usual suspects are Age of Mythology (another dual format one) or The Movies or Rise of Legends. But mostly it’s either Sims or WoW.
In some ways, WoW and The Sims are actually quite alike. You create a character, imbue them with some sort of personality / leanings, and control their actions. WoW is much more action-paced, fighting a fantasy game of good vs. evil (or the shades of grey therein). The Sims, on the otherhand, has been described as the teen / adult, electronic version, of playing house. It’s not an inaccurate description – actions in the The Sims are focused on simulating life – your people (Sims) grow up, get married, go to college, find a job, start their own families, etc. Only fighting that occurs there is of the Desperate Housewives style.
Now, I’m not a newbie to video games by any means. I had a Sega Genesis growing up (which we still have, and it still works, though the computer collecting husband has claimed it). I had quite a few games for it too – the requist Sonic series, Toejam and Earl, The Little Mermaid, Pacman, Columns, Aladdin, even Earthworm Jim. But I deliberately stayed away from most “fighting” games – battles could have a comic, unrealistic aspect (such as Toejam and Earl, and Earthworm Jim did) but anything more realistic (ala Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat) I wasn’t the slightest bit interseted. I don’t do blood and gore much – I don’t see the point in violence for violence sake. And besides that, the buttons always confused me as I could never sort out what button did what. Which was important to me. Though I’ve since learned that most people play those games merely by bashing the hell out of the controller and hoping they strike a lucky combination.
My husband, however, has always been into video games. Which I suppose isn’t surprising given both his computing history and his habit of collecting consoles and other pointless tech toys. When we first met, he spent quite a lot of time playing various PC games. This was not a genre I had gotten into, despite having a PC. As far as I knew, the PC games (other than simple stuff like solitare) were more gratuitous violence and thus I wasn’t interested. After all, I’d seen the news reports linking Columbine to video games.
I explained as much to my hubby when I first met him. Not only did I not like video games, I didn’t understand his interest in them. We agreed to disagree. After all, it was his hobby – who was I to take that away?
But one time while he was visiting, he had a game running on his laptop. I started watching over his shoulder as he played. The game was nothing like my simple solitare games, but neither was it anything like the first person shooters that were always identified by the media as creating bad seeds. The game looked much like I’d envisioned scenes from various fantasy novels that I’d read. Indeed, there was some fighting involved – but this fighting was more like organising an army of the “good guys” to go raid the “evildoers” village. There was a story connected behind the fighting as well – one of bettering a civilisation. Ironically enough, that game I first watched – and my first “real” PC game that I got into – was Warcraft II. Which at the time, was a relatively recent release.
I asked him for a go.
And before he left to go home that time, I had my own copy of the game.
Since then, when we argue about me spending time gaming, I remind him of this. He created a monster, I say. I’d only be interested in Snood and Solitare if not for him, I say. He encouraged this, I say.
It does, of course, go both ways. I’ve bought him several Battletech / MechWarrior games in my time. I’m not the slightest bit interested in these games (even now) but I know that they’re right up his alley. These particular games have a book series that goes along with them – that, at least, I can understand. The game is merely an extension of the books, and vice versa.
He was the one that introduced me to the original version of The Sims, very shortly after it was released. He keeps an eye on the ‘gamer news’ of sort, and had read some very positive reviews of the game. It seemed like something I’d be interested in, he said. After all, simulation games and real-time strategy quickly became my favorite genres.
So I bought it, and very quickly became addicted.
And when they released the expansion pack to The Sims 2, I was quick to buy it.
The same with the other six packs, when they were released.
Then The Sims 2 came out, and of course I bought that too. And the first couple expansion packs. Only the first couple though, because then we had babies and our disposable income dropped signifantly. Though at the moment I own six of the seven of the currently released expansion packs – but only one of the ‘stuff’ packs. Which are over-rated money suckers anyway 😉
The hubby was the one who bought me World of Warcraft. Originally, he bought me a 2-week trial pack – which at the time sold for $5 at our favorite game store. (Like all good drug pushers, they’ve since made the trial a free download). WoW (as it’s known) is slightly different from other games I’d played at the time, as it’s a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (mmorpg). Because of it’s online nature, it incurs a monthly subscription fee to continue playing. It was this fee that had put me off any mmorpg’s to date. But this, after all, was Warcraft – just a new manifestation of it. So hubby figured I’d like it, and I gave it a shot.
And like most people, was instantly addicted to the game. Due to finances, I didn’t actually purchase the full version once my trial ran out. But I lamented not having it, and our following annivesary, hubby gave me the full version of the game as an anniversary gift. I subscribed, and have been hooked since.
That Christmas, he bought EverQuest (a different mmorpg) for $9 in an after-Christmas sale. He was instantly addicted to that. He tried to convert me, but it wasn’t happening – EverQuest was similar enough, but still noticeably different, from WoW that all the little differences just annoyed me and made me feel like I ‘should’ be playing WoW – feeling a bit like a traitor, I suspect. And since I certainly wasn’t going to pay two subscription fees at once, I went back to WoW. Hubby then lamented not having anyone to play cooperatively with in the online game, and he gave WoW a try.
The second monster was created.
There have been many an evening where I have lamented that I am a Warcraft Widow – that I never see the man, because he’s holed up in the man-cave (aka the garage) in front of WoW.
But on the flipside, most Sundays we send the toddler to church with her grandmother, and I get several hours of largely uninterrupted WoW time, myself.
Sundays are good days.