Garrett is as Garrett does

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'Garrett is as Garrett does'

Rock Band: The Great Uniter

June 12th, 2008
by garrett

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As you already know the wife and I are already living the fake musician lifestyle with Rock Band. I came across this article while trolling the blogoshpere:

How Rock Band saved my marriage

Don’t worry, we’re doing just fine. But there is always some tension when I play ‘my’ games. While I frequently game in the evening after work (and dinner), the wife expresses her feelings by saying ‘good-bye’ as if I am leaving he house on a long trip – despite me not moving from the chair while she is on the sofa not 6 feet away from me.

What causes the tension? She wants to feel included in the activity, but I don’t want to deal with anything other than the game. I want to enjoy a game I’m playing. I will purposefully filter out the rest of the world so that I can get drawn in, trying to experience the game and not just play it. I get wrapped up in a fictional world through a frustratingly limiting window while I’m trying to kill other player’s avatars before they can kill my avatar. It gets the ol’ adrenaline flowing.

On good nights, notably when I am ‘winning’, I feel like I can take a break and I can draw myself into and out of the game world as needed. When things aren’t going in my favor, however, I focus even more on what’s going on in the game world. I devote even more of me to the game. My entire being is focused on doing that one thing. I do not thirst, I do not hunger, I do not blink. My mind, honed to a razors edge. My body, tensed to the breaking point. All so I may crush my enemy. [Note: Hearing the lamentations of their women is just a nice side-effect] And just then — at that perfect moment — is when the wife wants to interact. Telling me about her day, or the family, or wanting a kiss or hug, or asking me to do something, anything that isn’t playing the game.

Yeah, she recognizes the “[…] eyes alight with righteous anger.” from the article. (“That’s you. That’s soo you.”)

Most of the games I play are multiplayer First Person Shooters (aka FPS), like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3. They can handle local co-operative ( as well as adversarial ) play, but they highlight two issues while sharing a screen ( aka “split-screen”):

  1. The motion of the other player on the same screen is too distracting for me to concentrate on the game.
  2. These types of games place a huge premium on seeing everything. Being able to locate an opponent’s avatar is the difference between:
    • Beating the lagging, over-caffeinated pre-teen spawn-camping in the shadows
    • Staring at the respawn timer for no apparent reason.

Combined, the situation becomes an either/or proposition with one of my favorite past times. Either she plays or I play.

But with Rock band, we can game together, co-operatively, and share in the same experience even though it’s different for each of us.

Which really is kinda neat.

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