Yesterday I suffered. I went to the store with my boyfriend little knowing that his seemingly innocent purchase of yet another video game was going to put me over the edge. Just to put this conflict in context, I would characterize my relationship with video games to be tumultuous at best. As a child, my family had no money and therefore I had very little exposure to the gaming world, with the exception of a half-dozen Sega Genesis titles. I can remember some of the satisfaction I felt when I beat a level, but generally I view video gaming as a waste of time. With the exception of Wii games, where a person is physically doing something besides repeatedly pushing buttons, I feel people go into a mental coma while causing bloody carnage. Besides the odd exclamation, I never hear a peep out of my boyfriend as he is busy shooting something, his eyes glued to the glowing screen.
My latest nemesis in my dire quest for male attention is Call of Duty: Black Ops. As of this morning, the game has raked in over $360 million in sales this week, so clearly there are many other frustrated girlfriends. Just to put this into perspective, the only other release that has garnered anywhere near this amount of sales, is the latest movie in the Twilight series, which brought in $70 million. To be fair, I have nothing against the game itself, and the graphics do seem quite intricate and innovated, but rather I grow increasingly mad whenever I am forced to compete with a war simulation. Yesterday I found myself trying to fit conversation into game pauses, and chores could only be started after a mission was completed. My boyfriend literally could not listen to me unless he paused the game which caused me to repeat myself over and over. Becoming more and more resentful of the power that this fake world had, I lost it. I threw a temper tantrum and demanded that he hear me and contribute some time to the household chores.
It was not my most flattering moment, but I think that he got the message that his gaming policy of isolationism is not really going to fly with me. He tried to convince me of the validity of gaming as a hobby, similar to any other. Sitting on the couch pushing buttons and exclaiming every once in a while does not strike me as a good pastime. Unless of course you are playing with another person, and it can be viewed as a bonding experience of sorts, but that is the exception. Also, if one reviews video games or writes about their gaming experiences, then I can see it as a legitimate pursuit. If it brings you together as a couple to shoot a zombie's head off, then go for it, but if a person simply sits by themselves and kills, then I don't really understand the appeal.
Considering the widespread influence of video games I think that it would take an effort on the part of women similar to that of the Greek ladies in the play Lysistrata. In that play, women withheld sexual favours until the men in their lives negotiated a peace settlement and ended the Peloponnesian War. Things have not gotten tense enough in my household for me to go to these extremes, but it would be an amusing parody for a woman to raise her voice in protest of war simulations that steal away their partner's attention. If I have a quick moment while his game is loading, I may share these thoughts with my better half. Or just hope that he beats it quickly, and I will have his attention before the next over-hyped title hits the stores. I live in hope.