Group Play

Group Play
The Game Room

Greg Tito | 23 Sep 2008 12:03
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We compromised, however, and moved all the videogames into what used to be the formal dining room. Out the window (literally) went the frou-frou tablecloths and napkin rings; in came the Nintendo 64, the PlayStation, Friday the 13th and vintage "Vote for JFK" posters, Miserable Bastard (a 3-foot glass bong), and four dudes playing snipers-only one-shot GoldenEye when they should have been studying. But what was supposed to separate girls from boys actually brought us together. Perhaps it was the proximity to the kitchen or the cuteness of Yoshi, but Leslie started playing in our Mario Kart games. She was god awful at first, complaining that the controls weren't working. But soon she was karting like a champ and could consistently hit me with a greenie from long D (a green shell from a great distance, for the layman). Leslie became a gaming junkie, if only to hang out in the game room.

But after college, in the real world, the state of my social gaming life rapidly became nonexistent. I moved to an urban environment where space is at a premium. The average New York City apartment's square footage leaves little room for a computer, let alone a space devoted to gaming. Living with your significant other is a challenge no matter the circumstances, and having a game room in the same apartment that holds a bed, 76 pairs of shoes, 47 dresses and nineteen Lladro statues is near impossible. My circle of friends were in the same boat; the girlfriend was never happy to have a group of men smoking and playing Double Dash all night in the same room in which she had to sleep.

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All that changed when a good friend moved to the city after law school and got an apartment in my neighborhood. His bachelor pad was perfect; a large living room with an open videogame policy. At first, I would go over to play FIFA or the occasional Halo match on his Xbox. But when he got a Wii, our little club became a lot more inclusive.

The ladyfolk flocked to his humble abode to create Miis and throw down frame after frame of bowling. What used to be a male-centric activity now occurred after dinner parties and wine tastings. A whiteboard prominently displayed a bracket for a bowling tournament in which one of the ladies placed second. Now, my wife is just as excited to hang out with my friends as I am. And when you add the recent acquisition of Rock Band, my social gaming life has increased tenfold even as I enter my fourth decade.

It feels good to have a game room again.

Greg Tito is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He writes for the stage and produces work through his company, Deadline Productions. Greg is an avid role-player and is currently participating in too many campaigns, but he still finds time to write books for D&D 4th Edition for Goodman Games.

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