System Lords

System Lords
The Husband & Wife Videogame Super Team

Chuck Wendig | 8 Feb 2011 12:16
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And that's how the Husband and Wife Videogame Super Team was born. On that day, we played a marathon session of Portal, rocking the metaphorical pants off of insane Aperture matriarch, GLaDOS. When the Jonathan Coulton musical end credits began to crawl, we basked in the warm glow of a union far truer than that of piddly pish-posh earthly marriage. This unification was both cosmic and eternal.

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Afterwards, we had some cake.

Okay, I'm probably making that last part up. Because the cake is a lie.

***

Portal was only the first.

Other games have since fallen to our mighty combination of brains and brawn - any time the words Action and Puzzle smash together to form a videogame baby, my wife and I are there, hands on our hips, capes flowing in the wind, ready to conquer.

I mean, Braid? Come on. If either of us were left to conquer that twisted time-traveling Mario-on-mescaline adventure, we'd both have head butted the game console to death. But together, we were not only able to beat the game but could also sit and talk afterwards about what story the game was trying to tell. Instead of spending our time apart in isolation of our individual hobbies, suddenly we were sharing this time together - even if together we were spinning ourselves dizzy trying to figure out just what the hell was going on in that game.

World of Goo - there's another one. That one we approached with a different tack. Both our computers were in the office, and we sat back-to-back playing the game at the same time. We'd share strategies on building our quivering goo towers, and occasionally hover behind one another.

About a month ago, we traveled and had to suffer a handful of overly long plane flights. On such a plane flight, it's often easy to hunker down over your chair and nest in total seclusion - maybe you mutter to one another over a $15 bag of pretzels, but for the most part it feels like you're just trying not to die from a pulmonary embolism. Not us. Nope. Right there on the plane we pressed our rings together and formed the married-couple equivalent of Voltron, baby; I whipped out the iPad, cranked open Cut the Rope or Little Things and together we turned each game into chopped liver.

One guy in our row looked over at us and asked, "What are you doing?"

Duh, mister. We're playing games, fool. Together! As one!

Hell, it happened just last night. I decided it was time to pop the cherry on Assassin's Creed 2 (I know, I'm behind, shut up). It's a game with robust visuals and an engaging story, so the wife is happy to check it out. But she's not just along for the ride. She is no passive observer. As I'm gamboling about Renaissance Italy like a drunken monkey in Klan robes, she's pointing to places to hide, she's helping me solve puzzles, she's showing me doors and doctors and spots where I can leap to my almost-death into a hay cart. (When Ezio makes such daring dives, we both swoon and share in the dizzy vertigo.) I'm just the dipshit who knows how to waggle the stick and stab the buttons. Without her? Ezio would probably be pickpocketing whores and monks for six hours.

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