The marriage of games and marriage

PAX 2011: Panelists share tips on playing video games with a significant other and still having a harmonious relationship.

Who was there: The panelists consisted of Chris Brown and his wife Kelly from the Married Gamers website, Elizabeth Parmeter from GamingAngels, Dan Amrich from Activision, Christa Charter of Trixie Enterprises, and guest Zachary Snell.

Games can be a great place for a marriage to start. Just be sure not to make it end there.

What they talked about: Video games have been a source of contention in the media, but it becomes even more of a headache when the debate is brought into the home. Couples who are both gamers may have an understanding for one another's habits, but like any hobby that eats away at free time, there comes a point when boundaries must be laid.

Brown kicked off the panel by discussing how it is possible to use gaming to nourish a relationship, using himself as an example. Four years ago he and his wife Kelly were about ready to break up, but during that difficult time they knew that they had one thing in common: video games. In order to reopen the doors of communication, they used venues such as a podcast to spend time with one another and discuss subjects that they were both passionate about. Through gaming, the couple was able to create opportunities to fall in love again, and both are committed to living out their lives together. Anniversaries are now spent playing Rock Band together, and Chris acknowledges that his wife beats him at Mortal Kombat.

Communication is the key to any relationship, and Kelly pointed out that many people look at video games as a destructive thing, not a way to communicate with one another.

For Parmeter, when she first met her husband she didn't even like him. Eventually realizing that they both had gaming in common, their relationship grew from there and wound up blossoming into a marriage. Parmeter and her husband play very different games, so they are not always playing together, but they take the time to talk about their experiences.

Charter is in a long-distance marriage. She lives on the West Coast with her three children while her husband is stationed on the East Coast. Their relationship is mostly online, so they use games such as The Sims Social to stay in touch and play together.

So the 10th anniversary is double platinum, right?

"Our sims are soul mates," Charter said. "They have a lot more sex than we do in real life."

When the original PlayStation launched in North America back on September 9, 1995, Dan Amrich was busy getting married (and has remained married since). On their honeymoon, Amrich and his wife would play some Virtua Cop before heading out for the day. As time went on, Amrich said that his taste in games changed and that he prefers to play cooperatively with his wife.

Zachary Snell has been with his partner for seven years, and according to him, that's the equivalent of about 483 gay years. His partner doesn't play video games, and Snell spends a lot of time with Starcraft II, but he acknowledged that it's all about communication and problem solving, and he finds ways to use gaming for a reason to spend time with his partner.

Throughout the panel, Brown touched on topics such as how to make a relationship work when there's only one console in the household. This can lead to fighting and negotiations, and Parmeter pointed out that she shared a World of Warcraft account with her spouse for four years.

MMORPGs like World of Warcraft can enable the regular contact a long-distance union needs.

"I really want to play with you, but don't want to pay," she said, and went on to stress that communication is important, especially when asking to play for eight hours a day. She said that it gave them time apart, and that when they do get together they can talk about World of Warcraft.

Amrich noted that his wife has always had her own PC, but his best cooperative memories include playing Civilization II on the same PC where he would drive and she would direct him on how to take over the world. He talked about how she made the migration to World of Warcraft from City of Heroes but he still wanted to play City of Heroes. It wasn't until he realized that he felt lucky that she was even interested in games that he decided to make the switch and enjoyed being the one chaperoned by his wife.

In Charter's case, where her relationship is 90 percent online, she said that it was crucial to have that constant contact. She is not afraid to make it known when she isn't getting the responses that she needs.

The panel moved on to everyone's favorite topic: chores, a common source of marital woes. Each of the panelists outlined that there needs to be a clear understanding of when the chores are to be done. Along the same lines, it is important to spend quality time with a significant other without the distraction of consoles and gaming.

Amrich is so used to playing games cooperatively with his wife that he admitted that he would feel guilty if he were to play a single-player game without her.

Not all gaming relationships need to end poorly.

Snell is the type of gamer who unwinds after a long day by firing up Fallout: New Vegas while his partner busies himself with something else. He talked about the benefits of gaming when meeting the niece and nephew of his partner because children always look up to anyone who is good at video games.

Charter also agreed that gaming is a way to bring together the family because her children from a previous marriage have found things in common with their new step-father.

During the Q&A portion of the panel, the most common question was how to get a significant other (usually a girlfriend) to play games with them. The panelists encouraged gamers to find a game that their non-gamer might like instead of having them jump straight into a first-person shooter. At the end of the day, it is about respecting a partner's hobby.

Takeaway: Communication is the most important part of a relationship, and boundaries need to be laid out if there might be any conflict in terms of how much a person plays. Gaming can be a great way to spend time with your significant other as well as a venue to spend time apart.

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Discussion

56 comments
gandaf007
gandaf007

@Frame_Dragger Oh lawl, I was completely off the mark. Thanks for clearing that up.

TH3_D4T4BASE
TH3_D4T4BASE

@Frame_Dragger well it explains why she knifed me, but not the shouting, the swearing and the flicking off for the next half hour ;)

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

"Panelists share tips on playing video games with a significant other and still having a harmonious relationship." Lmao! Righttttt....cause when your friends become HER friends...EVERYTHING is going to be harmonious from then on. :roll: Have him/her play offline with you, but NEVER introduce them to your online gaming world. But as far as marriage and love on a video game...is anyone really even surprised? Whether its writing a letter, a phone call or a window across from yours... Love can be found anywhere, as long as the two have a way to meet......... @TH3_D4T4BASE: umm I have plenty of female friend gamers who'd wipe the floor with your smug a#$ in a CoD game Just because your little sister cant figure out where the reload button is, doesn't mean all girls are like that.

DitchyJ
DitchyJ

It took me a while to get my Wife to play with me on games. She was the typical girl who prefers to doll herself up, buy bags and do girly stuff and deffo didnt look like the sort of girl who would like to play xbox. One day she played Resievil 5 with me, and loved it...she was immersed, and believed that I was chris and she was Shiva. Suddenly we were together in this game and protecting each other from zombies. Then we went on borderlands together and it was the same again..she loved the fact we could have fun and look out for each other in these games. She only really likes coop games, especially if they have monsters/zombies in them. When we go out with other couples and she just starts telling stories of left 4 dead 2 etc...her friends look at her with amazement, while we just smile and enjoy the fact that its our thing and our perfect time together.

senorbusyman
senorbusyman

my wife and i rarely argue! the only time we complain about something in games is when she betrays me, or i betray her in online multiplayer. but we do like games that are shooters, rpg's, horror, fighting, and other cool genres

lilflex1
lilflex1

the only time i'd like my wife/girlfriend to get mad about me playing games is if she didnt get a rematch

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

must be alot of guys getting married playing halo.

lupodirosso
lupodirosso

me and my boyfriend game a bunch, very competitively. it always ends in laughter and finger-pointing and faux punching, and eventually........... well you know. gaming brought us very close together and he doesn't even like the RPGs that I like, but he's willing to try them like I'm willing to try his games. its not all we do, but when its a rainy or lazy weekend day and you're tired and just feel like sitting on your butt, I can't think of a better thing to do than to snuggle up to him and play lost planet or mortal kombat or something. screw complicated dramatic whiney relationships. you get mad, you settle it in player-vs-player match! with lots of rematches! I admit in some games I am weaker, in others I am stronger. can kick his butt in a bunch of games, still can't kick his arse at Lost Planet 2 but I am working on it. soon the matches will get intense. I love getting better at games and surprising my boyfriend. everything about gaming with him is sexy and romantic to me. even our nightly phone calls are on our online headsets pretty much listening to each other laughing and cursing and playing games.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Enjoying playing videogames is just 1 part of life. Relationships are extremely difficult and extremely complex. So having a past time/hobby in comon with your husband/wife is a good thing? or bad thing. Relationships that last. Given that worldwide most people are not currently in a relationship currently 46% are in relationship 54% are not. Worldwide total. Given that the divorce rate. A "true" relationship is extremely rare in 2011. Most do not last these days. So it is never really be studied if a husband and wife play videogames together does that help or hurt? To find out once and for all if the videogame industry destroys relationships or is a driving force in divorce?

bostadskontrakt
bostadskontrakt

Uh, you people scare me. I game but at least I know it is kinda geeky and I have other interests too. I'd be freaked out if my beloved started gaming as well.

moviequest14
moviequest14

@ townsforever : I disagree (and also it never said that it is solely video games that couples should be interested in..just that that is good) ...it is just about impossible for you to even make friends with someone when you have nothing in common with them,much less more than friends.While a couple-in-love need not have EVERYTHING in common (which in fact might be unhealthy) they certainly can't be completely happy with each other if they don't even have one thing in common with each other.No offense but when added your comparison I imagine a person saying/thinking ''wow...I love this person,even though we have nothing in common and are hardly attracted to each other by-emotions I want to put them ahead of myself anyway...'' and then I realize that if this is true why there is such a high divorce-rate in America...people that have more in common with a NYC hobo than with each other that completely ignore any emotions between them are bound for arguments and strife and would more than likely rather play freeze-tag in traffic than be ''in-love'' with someone so completely unlike,opposite,and different than them.

Black_Id_Jenova
Black_Id_Jenova

why so serious, love is all about accepting your partner whatever it is, if your partner also love gaming so be it everlasting relationship... (if you are also gamer)

strayfies
strayfies

Database is right. I've also had a good laugh at watching two of them play Halo. Seriously scared that they were licensed to drive.

TH3_D4T4BASE
TH3_D4T4BASE

if you feel like having a laugh, get a female to play COD, it. is. hilarious.

WeskerTeam
WeskerTeam

The only games I can get girls to play is Rockband, and sometimes L4D2.

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

I know someone who got a divorce and also lost complete custody of his kids because of World of Warcraft. am i blaming games? heck no. just saying gaming can bring the worst to ppl or best depending on who your with. I just know my Xbox will never cheat on me :)

Chewin3
Chewin3

I laughed at this article when I saw it. Kinda glad it proved me wrong in the end for some strange reason.

AiGeeEn1
AiGeeEn1

"I found out she cheated ..so i chainsawed her. Literally."

CassadyH
CassadyH

im so glad my fiance plays games with me considering were getting married in a month. :) It's important to know your significant other can handle herself in a zombie apocalypse.

eternal_blade3
eternal_blade3

I think this is a rather interesting article... It'd be interesting to have a connection like that, though it seems like the power that video games have in the area of love is a little over-exaggerated--unless the significant other really likes them as well. But, I digress. Just found the article to be an odd, yet charming read.

Son_of_Bmore
Son_of_Bmore

I don't want my girl 2 play games it's a way 4 me 2 do sumthing differnt from her just like she does all them facebook games & crap u don't alwya sgotta do everything 2gether

ZaphodTheFourth
ZaphodTheFourth

@townsforever: I don't think anyone is saying that you ONLY need to have video games in common.

DeliCiousTZM
DeliCiousTZM

Aye this is pathetic, like the Internet relationships you had when you were twelve. 7 Years with my Girl she plays console 1-2 H aday i play computer 3-12 H, She didnt game anything untill she meet me but the magic of games are to big to ignore. Communication is key in a relationship but also affection and violence(Passion).unexpressed emotion or unanswered needs is what causes most friction(Breakups , Pain).

townsforever
townsforever

no offense to anyone in particular but I could not live like this, the only thing I need to have in common with my spouse is video games? that sounds like a shallow relationship. Love is a choice to put someone else first even if they don't deserve it. Love is not about similarities or emotions

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I think this is why I've ultimately had all of my serious relationships with girls who at least game sometimes, even if they weren't actual gamers. Being able to share your major hobby with your significant other, as opposed to having to kind of carve out a bit of time between work and the time you should be spending with her (which obviously takes priority over the hobby) is great. Ultimately, it's not going to make otherwise incompatible people suddenly be able to have a long happy marriage, but it definitely helps.

jamyskis
jamyskis

@Crypto145: Axing local multiplayer for a game (be it LAN or split-screen play) effectively puts a kill switch in the hands of a publisher to compel a gamer to keep buying new games and for each player to buy their own copy. Look how long people were playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES for. These days, all a publisher has to do to get people to buy the next instalment is shut down the server and say that it was out of "lack of interest".

Crypto145
Crypto145

The option to do so makes a game at least that much more appealing and I don't see how it could deter appeal for a game.

Crypto145
Crypto145

I've always wondered. Why would so many games and developers completely scrap split screen from multiplayer games?

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

For couples where the man is a gamer yet his woman isn't, I would encourage women to look at this kind of relationship in a "it's a man thing" kind of outlook. For example, there aren't too many women who share the common interest of American football, she would likely find other ways to indulge herself while leaving the man to his game. Gaming should be looked at no differently UNLESS it becomes excessive to a point where he becomes less active, he abandons his duties and your intimacy becomes affected negatively. While men like to have their alone "female free" time, make sure it is an occasional habit to not destroy the relationship, If anything, try to find engaging games that even a non gamer spouse could find interest in. I give kudos to the Wii for that. This console drew in "non-gamers" better than any other console on the market. It abolished skepticism that gaming is a pointless obsessive and unhealthy waste of time and money. Although, more than anything, this current generation of kids, teens and young adults have grown up playing video games. The notion of gamer husband vs anti-gamer wife is slowly dieing.

jonnyfrostbite
jonnyfrostbite

My girlfriend had always tolerated my gaming habits, and all the time I'd ask her to play co-op with me. She'd be very sweet and agree, but I knew it was just for my benefit. That was up until last summer, when I asked her what she wanted to do for the evening. She paused, and said... "Can we kill some zombies?" (Left 4 Dead 2). I think that may have been the moment I fell in love with her...

jamyskis
jamyskis

My girlfriend wasn't much of a gamer until she met me. Over the three years that I've known her, she's really got into gaming, and while her tastes tend to cover more casual gaming titles like Plants versus Zombies (on which she can easily kick my ass), Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing and a lot of PSN minis, we do enjoy the odd round of Street Fighter 4 or Tekken together. As iamnessie has stated, publishers' obsession with online play is ruining the fun of having two people in front of the same console. We need a return to split-screen gaming.

iamnessie
iamnessie

That's believeable. my girlfriend and i play Perfect Dark, L4D, Borderlands, Hydro Thunders, Mario Kart, etc etc. And we've been together 4 years. That's why more games need split screen.

Spacerac
Spacerac

"The panelists consisted of Chris Brown" *stopped reading* wha...?! "and his wife Kelly from The Married Gamers website" Ooooh. I was fixing to say, what the hell is Chris Brown doing at PAX?! Jokes aside, even those that are true because that was really my reaction, I feel that the girl I marry has to be a gamer because let's face it-it's my number one hobby and if someone doesn't share what's up there that's most important to you then the relationship can't last long term. Of course it doesn't matter if it's just a girl I'm dating though.

metalkid9
metalkid9

Thats probably the weirdest relationship I've ever heard about lol. But although I kind of wish my wife was into gaming as much as I do. oh well...

ChaosJedi666
ChaosJedi666

Wow, theres so many negative comments on here about girls gaming. My favorite person to game with is a girl. Shes far better at video games than most guys I know aswel, so win-win!

sexyweapons
sexyweapons

I saw an airport documentary or something and this guy proposed to his girlfriend on second life who he had never actually met!

InstantKlassick
InstantKlassick

The only thing girls should play is the stove. LMAO. Getting Modded for this one! Lol!!! Just kidding Ladies. :)

magicalclick
magicalclick

I don't game with my bf, we have more kinky stuff in mind. Two gamers can get competitive, which can be a bad thing.

starduke
starduke

Hmm, must be nice to have a girlfriend or wife who plays games. Heck, it must be nice just to have a girlfriend or wife, as long as she stays nice.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

My wife isn't an active gamer, but she does enjoy watching cool cut scenes with me. And if I want her to grab a controller, all I have to do is put on a Smash Bros. game. She also loves to play any Soul Caliber game that's come out. For the gamers out there who are married or in a dedicated relationship, I hope you find happiness in finding a game your mate likes to play or watch you play. EDIT: My wife does actually play games, I bought her a DS years ago so she would stop taking mine. It's all about finding balance.

psycho75
psycho75

No woman will never deprive me off the things i like the most:games and music...for the girls i reserve a honorable 3rd place.or i call the next chick in line...

psycho75
psycho75

interesting topic,(but u have to consider the luck factor)it remainds me of my ex wife. One day she yells at me:*YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE,ME OR YOUR VIDEO GAME*... Well,you can guess what happened...

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Sadly everyone ain't lucky to find a partner that can share their interest in gaming. If they were, more couples would be living "happily ever after" !!!

LinkStormrage
LinkStormrage

getting her to like games is a very good deal ... i introduced my gf to guitar hero since she likes rock a lot. ever since the money i have to spend going out with her have halfed or it may be even less then half. awesome !!

servb0ts
servb0ts

Gaming couples can be a very sexy thing. nothing like unwinding and spending time together. trust me ladies it sure beats having your man at strip club, when he wants entertainment with you lol.

fantasyfacade
fantasyfacade

My boyfriend and I play video games together a lot, mostly co-op stuff. Our favourites are Plants Vs Zombies and Mortal Kombat co-op ladder. Anything where we are against each other leads to a fight because I usually top him. He's a casual gamer where as I'm hardcore (a bit of a reverse), so we end up playing his type of game (I don't mind I play anything). Though he told me that he fell in love with me when I juggled him in Tekken 5 on our first date.

zzamaro
zzamaro

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

Gaming is a double-edged sword, it can bring you together and it can tear you apart.