The fall season is bellowing mildly cold wind on our doorsteps just a little ways off. We all know what that means: sweaters, evenings in, pumpkin spiced everything, and more new games flooding the market than you have time to delve through. Sounds amazing, right? Hold up, you don’t have enough time for this, and you have a significant other you want to spend time with? Dilemmas, dilemmas. But here’s a thought, bring the two together. No, not Metal Gear and pumpkin spice; that should obviously be paired from jump street. Take this season as a chance to meld your romantic relationship and gaming habits together.
Treading Lightly, Very Lightly
So, let’s be full right, open, and honest for a second. Most hardcore gamers want a significant other that shares their passion for the electronic arts. Sadly, to put it frank and blunt, the majority of the time that is not the case. But, just because your loved one hasn’t preordered a copy of Until Dawn, stocked up on Gamer Fuel, planned for the midnight release, and sets on pulling an all-nighter after the inevitable day-one patch doesn’t mean you can’t share these moments. Just remember, make sure you tread lightly, your lover is not a member of your usual plug and play pack.
The first important question you have to ask is what type of genre do you tend to game in? Are you a die-hard FPS player? Or do you prefer the finger-cramping combos of fighting games? Perhaps psychologically tolling horror is more your suit? No matter which way the wind takes you, there are always ways to enhance and mistakes to burn the mix of gaming with relationships.
You selected option one: first person shooter. Now these can be some of the most fun games to play with a girlfriend/boyfriend respectively. Whatever floats your boat is all fine online my friend. Basically, when jumping into an arena in a first person shooter remember the does. When you find a good spot, let your better half know and pass it over once in awhile. And never hesitate to assist, but give them the kill shot. Doing so helps them feel like a more important part of the game. Come on, everyone wants to feel helpful. This also incites phenomenal throw-pillow talk. If having a lover look you in the eye, bite the corner of their lip, and whisper, “did you see that head shot?” doesn’t throw your banana clip into full auto, I don’t know what will.
The basic don’t for FPS with a loved one is very commonsensical, but I’ve seen the tools of the box make these mistakes. If your significant other graces you with joining in a game, do not misconstrue this as a need to show off. Now, by all means, pull off crazy half-map snipes and epic kill streaks while they watch, but remember they are not one of your buddies. Do not, for any reason, run around lobbing shots and knifing them, not really giving them a chance to play. Make sure that you get them involved; they’re a teammate and lover, not target practice. And a side note, if you are online, you did not sleep with anyone’s mother last night. Just saying.
Okay, so laying low, single-eye through the crosshairs isn’t your cup of energy shot? You rather the hand-to-hand, bare knuckle, bone shattering, frame-by-frame, adrenaline rush of fighting games? A deep sigh of gratitude for a kindred spirit. When jumping into the stage with your loved one, remember to find a character that they can connect with. Everyone gravitates towards characters that they find some relation to, but for a non-gamer this may be hard; they tend to not know the convoluted lore surrounding the history of Vega. I know, weird, but there are still a few blissful corners of ignorance in everyone.
Choose Just Right
Once there have their fist-fighting spirit animal loaded up and ready to go is when the true art of balance and moderation steps in. Nobody wants to just be handed a win. Fact. But no one wants to continuing participating in a competitive activity that they stand no chance of coming out victorious in either. When playing a fighting game with a significant other, make sure to be easy, but not just let them win. In this genre, it is perfectly okay to show off a little; land a few double-digit-hit combos, toss in an air juggle here and there, the basics. Just not too often. Letting you partner see that you can pull these off, but they can still squeak out a win over you makes the reward that much sweeter. Plus, there are few things quite as fun and playful Chun Li v Blanka trash talk over breakfast. And hey, if it goes past that, just let it roll. Rule 34, am I right?
Wait, it’s a little stormy and you’re looking for a little something just between the two of you? Just remember that cuddling up on the couch and playing a horror game has the same effects of watching a scary movie together, only heightened. You still snuggle together closely, wrapped in one another’s arms, hearts racing, and enjoyably tense. The difference is, when they start yelling, “run… Run… RUN…GET OUT OF THE ROOM!” it can actually happen.
Cuddle Up for Safety
The major do of playing a horror game with a significant other is make sure to listen to their input a little. Let them get involved. If they point out a light creasing from a doorway and suggest checking it out, even if this is your third play through and you’ve read the players guide to know there is nothing there, just go take a look. And always offer up the control. Another one of those simple yet lost in the ether for a few rules; don’t be a stick hog. Throw it up to let them play here and there, and even if they refuse, insist at least once. You never know how entranced they will get during their first face to face with Asphyxia. On the B-side of that same record, another common sense rule and major don’t for horror gaming date night: don’t go too extreme too quick. Make sure to keep the blood, guts, gore, psych content, and jump scares minimal and fun for a first go round or two. I don’t know your lover, but Manhunt, even on fetish mode, may not be a suitable introduction.
Just a little food for thought. There is no reason you can’t bring your partner along the digital ride with you, share a couple laughs, and maybe spark a new occasionally hobby together. You just need to make sure they have a chance to get into it as much as you. So, call up your partner, order in some Chinese, light a few candles, and have a trail of rose petals leading from the front door to your PS4 because the new generation of game heads are taking back the phrase play date.
One last side note, it is a good idea to just avoid playing Catharine with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Seriously, if you want eyes that scream, “you better not pick that option you homely lowlife,” try responding to a text at The Stray Sheep.
written by Alexander Mosier