In her post, Frustrations of a Growing Up Gamer, Ariel has been musing about what growing up means for her gamer status. I can definitely identify with her struggle, and it’s worth a read for any adults finding that growing up changes the way that they interact with their fandom.
One thing she said really struck a chord with me for reasons other than personal gamer issues:
I want to protect what I have: I donâ€™t ever want someone to come over to spend time with a machine instead of me.
As a matter of principle, I constantly rail on the Girlfriend Lists. What Ariel said above is something that I think lies at the heart of these lists: No one likes it when their partner is more interested in an object than in them.
I say this as an avid gamer, who has spent countless hours playing all sorts of video games with not only my partners of the time, but also my friends and my family. Heck, I sat down and helped my sister’s husband beat Blood Rayne 2 when I was visiting with her, and then we took turns playing some Terminator 3 game that he rented. So, really, I know what it is to love the video games. Because I do, I really do.
But, I gotta say, one of the things that sticks in my mind about my first boyfriend was that he liked video games more than he liked me. And, mind you, I was a gamer long before he and I got involved. I remember the first time I flew out to see him (he went to school in New York and I was still in highschool in Miami), he spent the entire weekend playing Street Fighter Alpha 2. I couldn’t even play it with him because fighting games were the only kind of game he played consistently, so I couldn’t even begin to hold my own against him.
He may sound like an extreme case, but from what I’ve seen of gamer message boards, it’s exactly that type that the Girlfriend Lists cater to. These lists pretend that you can have your cake and eat it too — slavish devotion to gaming, easy access to sex and emotional comfort that a girlfriend provides, and a hot gamer chick who you can brag to your buddies about. Except that it turns these guys’ (potential) girlfriend into another object for amusement and social status, and — especially these days — most girls and women don’t stick around very long after they start getting treated like that.
Hence the “need” for the Girlfriend Lists, I suppose. Now that seems like a vicious cycle, now, doesn’t it?