I have a lot of male friends who are gamers, and they all seem to have the same ultimate goal in life: to date and possibly marry a woman who’s hot, nice, and also a gamer. For 95% of these people, this is an unattainable dream, not so much because of their looks, intelligence or other limitations but mostly because of a thin pool of qualified candidates. Despite what some people would have you believe, the amount of men that play games more than casually greatly outnumbers that of the women in the same category, and I often see those same male friends having to compromise. Sometimes, the luckier ones get someone that doesn’t mind playing Bejewled at work and can live with someone playing games. Too often – and this has happened to me often in the past – guys have had to settle for someone that doesn’t give a flying shit about video games, and often treats them the same way they treat boys’ night out and other things men used to do; things to be guilted over, and ultimately weeded out of his life to make him “grow up”. Guys like this can sometimes be seen in those massive lot deals on eBay where they sell their entire video game collection so they can put the money towards a mortgage. I feel sorry for these people, and I have a feeling that as the years pass and the initial joy of marriage wears off, they’re going to start to feel sorry for themselves, too.
While I feel sympathetic, I have no shame in saying the following to the that 95%: MAN, does it feel great being in the other 5%.
I met my current girlfriend on the online message board I used to run. You could write a book on the differences between us; our race (she’s Chinese, I’m Casper White), our genetic makeup (she’s 5’0″ and petite; at my fittest, I was a solid 215lbs. at 5’9″), our personality (she was exceptionally shy in ’05 and still is fairly reserved; I’m what one would call “opinionated”), you name it, we weren’t alike. Our differences couldn’t mask the fact that we connected like gangbusters almost from the first time we talked to each other, and that we had video games in common. Being on a Fire Emblem board, we obviously had Fire Emblem, but we also loved JRPGs and could talk forever about everything from old Final Fantasy games to Suikoden. We didn’t limit it to video games, either; I have ten hour conversations logged where we talked until the sun came up about anything and everything we could think of.
We eventually met at her college on February 10th, 2006. I remember that weekend well; we watched some wrestling DVDs (I brought my Hulk Hogan set; she’s a casual wrestling fan and I spend a lot of time explaining the backstage aspects to her, so I brought my Hogan DVDs because she could relate to them), I took her on her first date ever, and in order to play DS games with her, I even bought my first DS, a purchase I’ve not regretted in the slightest. This led to an embarrassing situation where I got just a little too involved in a game of Nintendogs; you never want to be caught going “oh, who’s so cute? Yes, you are~ Yes, you are~” to your DS in front of someone who can use that for blackmail. Her birthday was that March, so I got her a PS2, which gave us the dual benefit of me not having to bring my own system with me whenever I came up. I would continue to come up all throughout college, and though the situation isn’t perfect – we’ll call the situation between her parents and I “tenuous” and leave it at that – it’s as perfect as I could ever ask for.
We’ve played and beaten Suikoden V together. I’ve gotten her the last two Persona games, the last of which we’re both totally hooked on, between her playing and my watching. She brought her Japanese Dreamcast games over for us to play. I’ve gotten her into my own Japanese games, including the earlier copies of Fire Emblem, the series that brought us together. I’ve poked fun at her for beating her at Soul Calibur, which has prompted her to kick my ass in the game (she’s deadly with Kilik) as well as literally (have I mentioned she’s a black belt?). I’ve scared her so witless during a game of Fatal Frame that she almost broke my controller from throwing it across the room. She’s tried to talk me into cosplaying as the Prince from Suikoden V (unsuccessfully, to the benefit of all involved). We’ve gotten into Gundam together. We’ve played Dance Dance Revolution in her dorm room in our underwear. There are so many memories I can conjure up that are related to video games, which doesn’t even include the ones that have nothing to do with them, but wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the games that brought us together in the first place. Now, we write together on this very site, and once she realizes she’s a very good writer, her work will take off like neither of us can imagine.
We sit three years later, planning our wedding, having convinced ourselves that we’re going with a gamer theme, the only question being which game. Do we go for a Suikoden theme, with the Prince and Lyon in their Queen’s Knight uniforms on the cake and 108 wedding guests? The tried-and-true Mario or Zelda themed wedding? Do we go with Crono and Marle from Chrono Trigger, and dress the wedding and reception up with time themed elements? How about we dress like Luna and Alex from Lunar: Silver Star Story? Or do we go with a Fire Emblem themed wedding, and pay homage to the game series that has meant more to me than any other game in my life? We have so many choices, but one thing is absolute: our relationship grows stronger by the day, she truly is the Luna to my Alex, and when a friend of mine, an assistant manager at a local Gamestop, looks at me and says I’ve got the perfect relationship, I can look at him and concur that, yeah, I pretty much do. Unlike times in the past, I won’t even feel a twinge of guilt in saying that.
Happy third anniversary, Aileen. I love you. Every step.