Sylvia and Video Games – A History

I’m a big fan of video games. I’ve been playing them for about as long as I can remember. The only other hobby that comes close to having been so near and dear to my heart for so long is reading. Pretty much every other hobby I’ve ever had is far newer or has at some point fallen out of interest. Hell I’ve had major changes in taste when it comes to platforms, but it hasn’t changed the fact that I like to just crack a game open when I can and explore the digital landscape of just about anywhere. I’m not particularly picky when it comes to genre either as I’ll give just about any game a shot at least once. However, my history and attachment to video games makes it so much harder to understand the attitude that my lovely partner Sylvia has to them.

It would actually be so much easier to understand if Sylvia just didn’t like video games at all. When we first started dating and the subject came up, she said the only one she ever played that she liked was the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis. She was either largely ignorant of or otherwise disinterested in video games. It was a bit strange to me considering I’ve never really known anyone who had enjoyed one game once and then never happened to pick up another one even years later. While it’s sometimes a source of confusion on my part, I’ve never really pressed it too much since Sylvia hasn’t really asked any questions and doesn’t otherwise complain about my interest in video games. I’ve considered on a few occasions trying to help her foster more than the most fleeting of an interest, but I always ultimately decide against it as I figure that it’d just be better to wait for the time to come, assuming it ever will.

I thought that day had come back in 2010, before Sylvia went off to England for her Masters program. I had downloaded a demo for Heavy Rain and Sylvia was really excited by it. She loves anything true crime and it looked and sounded enough like one that her excitement got me excited for her. It was a game I’d had my eye on for a while and we talked about picking it up and playing it in the dark where she’d tell me what to do and I’d make the characters do it on screen. We came to that agreement after she had a few issues with the controls, which a problem that I’ve rarely ever had. But yes, it seemed like there was going to be some video game love for the both of us. The only snag was that this all happened just as she solidified that she was going to be traveling overseas for a year. We decided to put it off until she came back from her masters program, but we haven’t picked it up since she’s come home just because of the general hoopla of planning the wedding. I think it probably got lost in the shuffle too, so perhaps I should bring it up again, but then again, we’re planning a wedding so maybe it’ll have to wait.

The one thing that has managed to hold Sylvia’s interest for years at this point is Peggle. I can’t recall exactly how we ended up owning a copy, nor am I sure how the particular elements of the game have come together so that she is so engaged by it, but something about it has managed to engage her in a way that I haven’t seen in another game. It’s a good game too, so I have no complaints when she wants to play it, especially if she’s overwhelmed or just needs to turn her brain off. That’s how she puts it anyway as something about the game allows her to just zone out and not focus on a bunch of things at once. I wish I knew if I played video games for a similar feeling, but I’ve been doing it my whole life so I don’t really know. Regardless of how it helps her de-stress, she’s really really good at it. I haven’t been one to really watch someone else just be good at a video game since high school, but some of the shots she manages to pull off, and with the consistency that she can do it, is totally baffling to me.

Recently however, the shiny veneer of Peggle started to wear off and Sylvia needed something new that enabled her to turn her brain off for at least a few minutes at a time. I did what seemed to be a reasonable idea at the time and tried to turn her on to a game that might be similar enough to Peggle, but was ultimately a better experience in my mind. I tried to get her to play Journey. My mental thought process said, they’re both puzzle oriented, really gorgeous and have music, that while different, is pretty good. I was horribly, horribly wrong.

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