The Fanatic Issue

The Fanatic Issue
Those Left Behind

Logan Westbrook | 3 Mar 2009 13:16
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What I'm more concerned about, though, is the changes in her behavior since she started getting into the game. It's rarely anything major; instead, it's a lot of small things that you feel almost petty for mentioning. She stays up later than she used to, and she's less prompt about doing the dishes than she was. You feel silly making a big deal about it, but when you've cooked dinner for someone in pans that you had to clean yourself the night before, only to have them let the meal go cold while they grind their fishing skill, you begin to feel a genuine sense of neglect. Worse, the game has a tendency to inflame her already quick temper. To see her slamming my old wireless mouse into the desk because it died on her, or getting an earful of misdirected anger when she thought she wouldn't be able to get Wrath of the Lich King on the day of release is worrying, annoying and a little frightening, all at the same time.

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Sometimes I start to wonder if it's actually me who's in the wrong. After all, she's a grown woman and doesn't really need me to set up "boundaries" and give "structure." If she played the game in marathon 50-hour sessions, neglecting even basic hygiene and consuming only junk food, then I'd need to step in. But since that isn't the case, maybe I should just let her get on with it. Besides, it's more than a little hypocritical of me, after years of nigh obsessive gaming, to begrudge her playing WoW so much. I'd like to think that even at my worst, I wasn't quite so hopelessly absorbed by a game as she seems to be, but I'm not sure that that's true. Am I really so childish that I can't stand not being the "gamer" of the household, so much so that I perceive my wife's leisure activities as a threat? Am I really so co-dependent that my wife having friends of her own is cause for alarm?

I've spoken to my wife about my feelings, and by her own admission she's a WoW fanatic. Maybe it's something I'm just going to have to get used to. I've thought about making a new character and going to join her, but I'm not sure I can face that long grind again. Maybe that's selfish of me. Maybe if I really cared, I'd be there in Naxxramas with her. As it stands now, though, we're living in two separate worlds. So if you take anything from my story, let it be this: It's easy to get wrapped up in the escapism that videogames offer, but before you lose yourself entirely, spare a thought for those left behind.

Logan Westbrook is a news contributor and moderator for the Escapist.

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