If you were to glance around my bedroom, you’d notice a stack of at least a dozen untouched magazines (a few months worth of Lucky, Vogue, Elle Décor, Martha, etc). I’d like to say I’ve been too busy to catch up on my guilty pleasures, but truth be told, I’ve been displacing my free time into another hobby. While I love fashion, design, and gossip I have an equally passionate and far geekier side to me. Like a lot of you I’m sure, many of my nights are spent catching up online and going through my e-reader or…playing video games.
My introduction to the magical world of video games started when I woke up at around 8 years old early one Christmas morning to NES with Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt (+ gun) and a shiny gold copy of The Legend of Zelda under the tree. It was everything I ever wanted, my “official Red Ryder, carbine action, two hundred shot range model air rifle” moment! During the week leading up to that New Years, my “bedtime” was ignored and I logged countless hours playing on my entertainment system. I was hooked.
I still have my NES and have had an almost embarrassing amount of consoles and games (SNES, N64, GameCube, PlayStation, PS2, Dreamcast, and Xbox…most of which have since been ‘traded in’). I currently have the PS3, 360, and Wii. I’m not going to get super deep into my gaming history, but among my all time fav games are:
- Friday the 13th – NES (absolutely impossible, but I played it into the ground, scared me to death)
- Ocarina of Time– N64 (great memories of playing this while on the phone with friends, figuring it out together)
- GoldenEye – N64 (basically defines a whole period of my life along with…)
- Tekken 2 and 3 – Playstation
- Gran Turismo and GT2 – Playstation
Also, I love the Grand Theft Autos, Marios, Mario Karts, Tomb Raiders, and Rock Bands (I like to sing. I’m terrible). I spent quite a bit of time playing classic PC games, most notably RollerCoaster Tycoon, The Sims, and Civilization II. There is this sort of separation between the classics I played back then, it’s almost like I’ve “grown up,” and my old consoles have been put in boxes to usher in the high-end computer 3D gaming era.
Last year, Mark built me a computer. I’ll be honest, while it is nice to work and do my internetting on a PC versus my laptop or netbook, its primary purpose is gaming together over the internet. 2011 has been the year of Steam, a popular, social, distributing platform for the latest computer games. Mark and I live over an hour apart so our mutual love of video games has actually been helpful in that we can interact with one another in multiplayer games while (nerd alert) chatting via headset. One of the first titles we completed was Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. It is the perfect two-player cooperative game.
The initial draw for me was that it was a franchise I had history with, but the puzzles are challenging enough to make you both have to think, gameplay is ridiculous enough to cause giggle fits (there was this one moment at the end of the first level where this random loud man voice gives you directions during the most intense part and now it’s become a frequent inside joke), and you really need to use each other’s abilities in order to work your way through the levels. Excellent pacing, easy to learn, and long-lasting appeal.
Terraria is another great game we like to play together. This type of game allows for things console multiplayer games rarely allow: growth and creativity like building a house and altering your environment in a static way. You don’t have to succumb to hardcore stuff like WoW to appreciate growth and exploration with your friends or best friend.
The point of games are to have fun. Games aren’t just limited to partner roles, they can be basic wacky competitive fun. The time spent doesn’t have to be a long commitment like Terraria or Lara, it can be as simple as a quick web-based game. Go get your partner, roommate, sibling, or anyone with basic hand-eye coordination and check out this pole vaulting game. I guarantee multiplayer LOLs.
Social playing in my relationship wasn’t always technologically co-op. I’ve played Half-Life 2, Bioshock, and Oblivion, single-player games, while Mark was in the same room, only watching. Guys LOVE it when they see you take interest in and learn something they absolutely love. I was a console gamer, he is all PC, so when we got together I learned WASD (the keyboard keys used to maneuver in 3D games). It isn’t impossible to learn. It felt super alien to me at first, but I now typically prefer it when available. My new gamer life isn’t limited to just the PC. I recently bought Skyward Sword for Wii and now that I finally have a Zelda 3DS, Mark and I are chomping at the bit for 3DS Mario Kart.
Seeing that we’re all children of the 80s and 90s, the love of Nintendo is the general consensus. It is our retro. You just can’t beat good ol’ fashioned multi-player sessions. One of my on-going favorites is Goof Troop. Mark and I have played this Super Nintendo cooperative classic, thanks to PC emulation, in Florida, San Francisco, sushi bars, and parks. So if modern gaming isn’t your thing, there’s always throwback Mario Bros. Luckily most of the games that we grew up with had Player 2 consideration, so it’s still easy for you to grab a good friend and ask them to press start.