Of Love and Games

Of Love and Games
The Dating Game

Wendy Despain | 10 Feb 2009 12:32
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I wasn't really sure what to expect from my first year at Project Horseshoe, but the last thing I imagined was spending most of the conference talking about dating geeks.

I should clarify: I enjoy dating geeks. In fact, they're my favorite dating material. I just didn't expect my love life would make much of a conference topic.

Granted, it wasn't just my tastes under the microscope. Also in the workgroup were Richard Dansky (Red Storm Entertainment), Dustin Clingman (Zeitgeist Games), Steve Meretzky (Blue Fang Games), David Warhol (Realtime Associates) and Jeff Pobst (Hidden Path Entertainment). For the record, they're all married. And all men. A few other women dropped in occasionally to provide feedback, but most of the feminine perspective came from me. I hope it wasn't too skewed by my pro-geek dating preferences.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's how it got started: Richard Dansky stood up and said, "Videogames and movies are always being compared to each other, but one of the most important movie genres is the date movie. Why don't we have date games?" As I looked around, it seemed to me that the men in the room were all thinking "Yeah, why don't we?" and the women in the room were all thinking, "Hah! You have to ask?" At least, that's what I thought, and the brief grimace I shared with the other ladies in attendance indicated there was some consensus on the matter.

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That impression is what got me into what came to be known (informally) as the "Wendy and Richard Make a Porno" workgroup. The conversation was serious, though. Just what is it that makes a movie perfectly acceptable as a date option, and videogames a little ... wrong?

We started with the easy part by listing all the characteristics that make movies the perfect date activity - including the whole experience of going to a movie, not just the narrative content of movies that are marketed as "date material."

Here's what we came up with. Movies are classically good for dates because:

  • Movies are easy to access - There's no special equipment required; you just show up to the right place at the right time and buy a ticket that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
  • Movies are passive - All you have to do is sit back and watch. It's not your fault if the pacing is slow or the main character just can't seem to crack a puzzle. If the movie turns out to be not as great as you hoped, you can still have a laugh about how bad it was. It's not like your date was directly responsible for the performance.
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