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Each of us was stewing in a different sort of misery, and the atmosphere in the apartment was getting tense. It was around this time that we got our first two player game. I don't remember what it was exactly, it might have been a Baldur's Gate game, but what mattered was that we were playing together. Or maybe what mattered was that we were playing at all. Both of us had played games, mostly on the PC, and somewhere in the shuffle of setting up house, we had forgotten about videogames. It didn't matter how tired I was when I came home from work. I had to play; it helped me remember who I was, and bond with my husband.
Anyone who has looked knows there are a limited number of multiplayer games that use a single console. Tentatively, we moved into the territory of single player games. It was a really careful transition that usually involved one person playing and the other person sitting on the couch watching. The first single player game that I remember buying for this purpose was Wild Arms 3. I chose it mostly because it was really cheap used, and I had happy memories of playing the earlier games. My husband and I took turns playing our games and watching the other play. I had the most amazing revelations watching him. We played games entirely differently.
My approach to turn-based combat was to do quick, immediate damage, and to try to end the combat in the fastest and most efficient way possible. My husband spent rounds buffing before doing anything offensive. I was astounded, actually. It never even occurred to me there was another way to handle combat. Our playing-style differences went beyond combat, though. I dashed from one story point to the next. He would spend hours grinding. If a side quest took too much effort, I abandoned it. He doggedly hunted down every missing item and artifact. Consequently, he defeated bosses with extreme ease due to his preparedness whereas my boss battles were epic, hour-long ordeals. In our small apartment, on our hand-me-down television, our different approaches to life were being played out on a whirling second-hand PlayStation 2. I watched intently, learning how to better understand my husband.
When my husband said that he wanted an Xbox, I audibly groaned. He had been talking about Knights of the Old Republic for a long time. I couldn't possible fathom why he wanted to buy another game system just to play a Star Wars game. But I caved and we bought both the system and the game under the pretense that it was a shared anniversary gift. A gift I deeply resented at the time of purchase and continued to resent until I started to play KOTOR. Having never played Western roleplaying games, I was blown away. My husband didn't get to touch the system again until I finished. So began my love affair with BioWare that still rages today. Don't tell my husband, but I am having several passionate affairs with party members across the broad spectrum of BioWare games.