292: The Husband & Wife Videogame Super Team

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I haven't done this kind of cooperative play for years, but it reminds me of when I was a kid, and the whole family was obsessed with Lode Runner. We kids had the reflexes - more or less - but we weren't so good at the puzzles. Fortunately Mum was very good at figuring out just how to drill down to that one piece of gold, or how to navigate a level without getting trapped. Dad liked to give us advice too, but we found that pretty annoying because he never stopped giving us advice...

Mind you, although Mum will tell you she's terrible at video games, she isn't just the brainy puzzle-solver of the family. She is still the only person in the family to complete Diamonds, an obscure Atari 8-bit game similar to Dig Dug. None of us kids ever came close to finishing that game.

I miss gaming as a family. It made a comeback of sorts when I bought my sisters a Wii - especially playing Boom Blox Bash Party. ("Hey, maybe if you hit that block there from the right angle, it'll topple onto that other block there, and then...") It's not the same, though. Mum refuses to touch the Wii on the grounds that she doesn't need to waste any more of her time, and I no longer live at home and rarely get a chance to play with the rest of the family.

I'm so glad to see this kind of his-and-hers co-op. My wife and I have been doing this for close on ten years now, our Marvel to your DC, as it were.
While we certainly did share some team-single player moments, such as working through the puzzles and mind-twisting madness of Eternal Darkness, our greatest moments were always pure co-op mode. Baulder's Gate, Gauntlet, Final Fantasy XI...

And Smash Bros.

Yes, the Smash. With a Link and Zelda pairing, no less, to demoralize our opponents with unrelenting cuteness. A marriage of sword and magic, our devastating Nintendo-nuptials.

These days were content playing World of Warcraft together - always having a tank and healer that know the ropes makes the newest expansion a blast.

So cheers to you all who rock the consoles with your significant other. Remember, your wife shouldn't just be your best friend, but can also be quite handy with a sniper rifle.

Sadly my wife gets no enjoyment from video games. She lets me play them far more than I should, though, and feeds and waters me while I do, so it's fine.

My daughter, on the other hand, is a BLAST to play with and my son will get there soon...

Actually, one of the funniest things I've ever seen was the two of them playing Ilomilo the same way as you & and your wife game - except she's 6 and he's 3. :D

My wife originally had no interest in video games but over the years of dating then marriage she got into them - it started with, of all things, Command and Conquer and then Red Alert. But it was crystalised by Everquest. More recently we do more of this combo console gaming you describe. I do the jumping about she does the puzzles. She is just good at puzzles compared to me.

Years ago when I asked her why she even gave games a try in the first place it was because A) it was clearly a big part of my life so she wanted to try them out and B) I was passionate about them and spent time (inadvertently) explaining things to her which, she said, eventually sucked her into video gaming. I know all those hours spent playing EQ, Diablo, Diablo 2, Baldurs Gate various MMOs has made us a better team in non-gaming realms as well. I become the instant envy of friends and acquittance alike.

That was back in 98 so been gaming together for more than a decade and co-op games are top of my list so I can play with my wife.

Jumwa: When she's not around to game with, I usually end up closing out of my games and reading instead, because they no longer hold a candle to the experience I get with her.

Exactly. If my wife cant play I don't play and vice a versa. In my long experience the progression of co-op goes like this me+wife >>> friends >> random multiplayer <=> solo. My kids are still too young for me to decide where they fit into that spectrum though I thoroughly enjoy playing the simple games they can handle at this point and look forward to the 5 man dungeons of the future MMOs.

Katbot: When she's not around to game with, I usually end up closing out of my games and reading instead, because they no longer hold a candle to the experience I get with her.

So true! I cant count the times where I'll be playing the tank type in a raid/group or equivalent and my wife is the healer and she saves my ass and vice a versa. Its very satisfying. Marriage just intensifies that experience.

:)

Nice article. It was nice to see a sort of human interest story as a change of pace. But even better are the stories it has evoked in the replies. You are really bringing in some lovely nostlagia, as well as shedding a light on a different kind of playing. Kudos.

This article made me grin from ear to ear and nod in agreement as I'm lucky enough to have a girl who plays games just as much as I do.

She plays Fable, and Dragon Age, etc, as LoTR is her favorite thing under the sun, but her favorite game is, and I'm not kidding, is Black Ops, a game I can not stand. She loves playing multiplayer, but her fondest times are when she coaxes me into some time in Nazi Zombies. Now, I'm better in multiplayer, but she is a master at zombies, and she gets a kick out of ordering me around when the Undead 3rd Reich comes to play.

...Which is okay, because I'm into S&M. xD

EDIT: MMO's are also a staple of her game diet. She plays BOTH Guild Wars and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning.

I'm just now getting her into tabletop stuff, which she's enjoying immensely, if the way she roleplays is any indication.

I fail to see what this has to do with console wars.

But congrats on becoming a father.

congrats on the new baby. We just had a baby, and got a Wii. One of the nurses in the hospital was super fussy, and told us, "Never shake your baby, no matter how angry you are." We joked about how the baby could play Wii with us, about taping her to the Wii-mote. Which birthed the phrase: "Never shake your baby, no matter how bored you are."

But seriously, I am the Medic to my husband's Heavy, and I back up our older daughter on Mario Galaxy while feeding the baby. We play RPGs and compare notes; he hates puzzles in games that I find a piece of cake and vice versa. The family that games together...has a buttload of fun.

I haven't really played a game solo in years. In my flat we didn't really play unless at least two of us were around. We'd always help each other out and wisecrack about the way we played, so much so that when my friends and I look back on the games we played, we don't remember who actually held the controller.

Last year, I went to work in a different country, and only had time for some decent single player games in the last month. For the first time in a while, I was really a single player. They all seemed flat and dull. I thought it was because of some change in modern gaming trends that I didn't get on with, but that wasn't true. Somewhere along the line, gaming without an audience, or someone to banter with, became half an experience.

So just a little warning. It's the best way to play. But you'll wreck the solo experience for yourself.

I wouldn't trade it though :)

Chuck Wendig:

His fingers, her brain - together, Chuck Wendig and his wife are an unstoppable force of gaming mastery.

You piteous console-gamers! Bow before the master-race that I am - a PC gamer! For when I game, I... always... play... alone...

*Generates mental image of a lone child in a forsaken post-apocalyptic playground. Cries a little inside.*

That is quite genuinely one of the coolest things I've ever heard. Their child will become the Ubergamer. :D

This was an awesome read. My wife and I had the exact same experience with Portal. Knowing nothing about the game before starting, I was running around shooting walls at random. Then my wife says, "Try shooting there." I laughed...like she would know any better. So I tried it. And it worked. From then on I always appreciate her sitting next to me, working with me to solve puzzles and help in a myriad of other ways. It has actually made a solitary pastime into something enriching in both our lives.

Excellent article! Reminded me of playing Mortal Kombat as a kid in a crowded arcade, and yes the crowd yelling out the combos for various moves / fatalities :)

I do all the spatial awareness stuff for the other half. And read the map.

Aside from the stale "cake is a lie" joke which needs to die at this point, I really liked the article! On a side note: Duct tape might work but NEVER use super glue, I've made that bad choice before.

This is how my boyfriend and I do it for games that I simply can't play, such as horror games. I was the one who owned a Gamecube, I was the one who thought that Resident Evil 4 looked cool enough to buy, and I was the one who was so terrified of it that I couldn't even play five minutes into the game. What can I say? I'm a total wuss. But he had no problem playing it. So since it was my Gamecube, he couldn't play unless I was around, and I watched him. Then when I saw shiny objects laying around, I would point them out. When I noticed a boss' weak spot while he was madly dodging and shooting at it, I would point that out. I noticed things that he couldn't in the heat of the moment, so he got everything he would have otherwise missed and I got to see all of the game being played before me. I actually know and remember so much about the game just from watching it and giving helpful advice that I do consider myself as having played it.

Well, my brother and sister will sometimes ask for help, and I'll give it, but I usually try to get them to learn to do these things on their own for their own sake...or maybe I just wanted them to leave me alone. I forget which.

But it's true. It does seem like we've taken a dip in the dark side of the social pool. The sad part is, it's not always that easy to fix. Or am I just making excuses?

Enjoyable article - I bet these kinds of teams are more common that you would think.

I'm a little unusual here - my entire family is into gaming, of some sort or another. My dad used to play D&D all the time - stories such as a barbarian who used a stone pillar as a club and bashed a dragon's head in aren't all that rare. Also, I have, in one day, talked to my (younger) sister about Minecraft, my step-dad about Fallout (the recent ones), and my mom about.. well, most of the recent Bioware games. There's probably times where we're all just playing away on our game of choice. I guess I should be proud of converting an entire household to video games?

That's not even counting school. There are times I spend more of my school day talking about games than I do actually working...

I've always loved telling gaming stories, and I've run into some games lately that just have some awesome ones - Minecraft, in particular.

Back when I was on the old SEGA G my little sister used to tell me what to do while I moved the character around. I was really sad when she grew up and started liking makeup and pink and didn't want to play with me anymore.

Though I am starting to be the 'go here and do that' for my husband. He's smart, but he doesn't think fast enough.

...

Dang double poster I am.

EDIT: The heck? Why did it post a new post instead of editing the other one like I asked it to?

Man, I really wish I could get my girlfriend to play/enjoy games with me. We've tried co-op a few times on stuff like New SMB Wii or Little Big Planet, but we wind up just yelling at eachother and getting mad, since platformers are all about precision movements and timing -- a hard thing to synchronize most of the time. If only she'd indulge in another genre. Although she did help me beat God of War 2 (she's really good at QTE's apparently). She usually just says she doesn't have time for games and would rather be spending her time doing other things, so when we both have free time together, it sends her in to a rage if I want to play video games.

On another note:
I don't mean to insult you man, but... you seriously needed help to figure out Portal? Forget Portal, you needed help figuring out stuff in Assassins Creed 2? Really?? You are quite lucky to have your wife, I'll leave it at that.

I used to have this sort of thing with my sister - especially when playing Tomb Raider games. She'd usually very skilfully and dextrously pilot, while I solved puzzles, remembered the locations of things, navigated and wrote a strategy guide. Naturally, she participated in these too, and I had my turn at the controls, but the scenario I describe is usually what we found most comfortable.

These days I have more or less the same thing with my boyfriend =)

Raiyan 1.0:

You piteous console-gamers! Bow before the master-race that I am - a PC gamer! For when I game, I... always... play... alone...

*Generates mental image of a lone child in a forsaken post-apocalyptic playground. Cries a little inside.*

Wow....
You made me sad inside.......

This article was less "OMG WARM AND FUZZY" and more "Uhhhhhh?"

If you are honestly telling me that you couldn't figure out portal or braid, then you must also be admitting that your brain does not have a fully functioning right hemisphere. Then again, the left side also controls logic, so maybe you are just full-part-retard? Those games are single sitting games. You can literally beat braid in 2 hours. The day I bought it, I had beaten it in just under 3. Portal is 4 hours of fun, but outside of the additional challenges (such as minimal use of portal) there is nothing remotely difficult about this game.

At least your wife is kind enough to pity you and not judge, so you have that going for you.

R4di4ti0n.:
This article was less "OMG WARM AND FUZZY" and more "Uhhhhhh?"

If you are honestly telling me that you couldn't figure out portal or braid, then you must also be admitting that your brain does not have a fully functioning right hemisphere. Then again, the left side also controls logic, so maybe you are just full-part-retard? Those games are single sitting games. You can literally beat braid in 2 hours. The day I bought it, I had beaten it in just under 3. Portal is 4 hours of fun, but outside of the additional challenges (such as minimal use of portal) there is nothing remotely difficult about this game.

At least your wife is kind enough to pity you and not judge, so you have that going for you.

Too true. I have been medically categorized as "Full-Part-Retard." I am lucky to have found a mate who accepts me for my mule-kicked monkey-brain.

You, too, will be lucky some day in love, sir.

Hell, with your excellent bragging skills about how well you play video games -- I mean, Braid in 3 hours? Interrobang! -- I've no doubt you'll end up with your own special mate in no time, Guy Who Uses Tons Of Numbers As Letters In His Name! Thanks for reading.

-- Chuck

I've always been a lonely ogre in a cave. I grew up all my life like that, even when my family was always huge. I have 4 sisters, I'm the only male and one of my sisters has special needs. She's the only one who's remotely interested in video games, but I always bore myself to death whenever I try to play with my sister.

Remember Natalia from Goldeneye 64?, remember how annoying she was, crossing in your line of sight and standing there for you to shoot her the hell up?, my sister is more annoying than that. I mean, she (surprisingly) has a good time, but I'm almost in comatose state, yawning and almost snoring.

Then there's my other sisters. One is married and she almost satanizes videogames, giving my nephew a hard time, because he loves videogames as much as me. The other prefers to watch some retarded novela and listen to Justin Beiber (sadly, I'm not joking) and my other sister prefers to spend all the god damned day posting stupid pictures in Facebook.

Then, most of my friends are non gamers, even if they are remotely interested in a game, it's always FIFA, wich I despise with my heart. One of my friends is a true gamer, but he lives almost at the other side of the city, in a very dangerous area and I can't afford to go at his place whenever I want, because I'd be, literally, risking my own life.

Then there's my cousins, one of them loves Super Smash Bros. Melee. Sadly, he and most of my other cousins likes to play only in Corneria, with Samus and no items. Don't get me started when he came to my place and started playing Brawl. Only one of my cousins is a true gamer at heart and he frequently comes to my place to play something and that's the closest thing I've ever had to play with someone next to you and have a great time.

Many of the girls I know aren't that into gaming, they prefer to listen to that abomination of music called reggaeton and listen to Camila (a lame mexican pop group, almost as annoying as the Beiber himself).

I envy you, this is exactly how I want my marriage to be, someone special whom I'd love to spend my time with, even better if she loves videogames as much as I do. And even better if a third or fourth player joins us. I just hope that happens to me someday.

Brilliant article, you're a very lucky man to have found a woman that'll play games with you in that way. I'm working on trying to get the girlfriend more interested, but it can be quite tricky. However, she tells me she loves playing Guitar Hero, so we'll see how that goes. :)

Also, congratulations on creating the third piece of your gaming Tri-Force!

everything i read be this guy is epic, plain and simple.

I sometimes think my wife is more of a gamer than I am.
She's the one that got me into CoD and she's the one that really wanted to get Skyrim...until I reminded her that it has the same freezing that prevented her from wanting to finish New Vegas (she platinumed Fallout 3 mind you, and played through all the dlc as well), and she prefers playing on the PC...unless we're playing 2p.
The problem is that with online gaming, a lot of devs no longer put splitscreen into their games.

The husband is upstairs playing Football Manager 2012 (or similar) for hours; I like games where you hit things with swords. No co-op play here! Good thing we have other interests in common.

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