In case you didn’t know, I’m a video gamer. I grew up on video games like Pokemon, Super Mario, Zelda, Pac Man, etc. As an only child, video games gave me a lot to do when I was bored in my house alone. When I went to my cousins’ or friends’ houses, we would all take turns playing games as well.
I’ve played pretty much every genre but my favorites are RPGs, puzzle games, and simulations. When I first got to college, I decided to buy myself a PS3, much to my roommate’s dismay. I started playing Assassin’s Creed, which became one of my favorite series. I also found games like Portal, Persona, and Ace Attorney, which all inspired me to learn deduction skills and problem solving.
However, I have a problem with video games, or maybe it’s just my personality. With games like Assassin’s Creed, when you are given a mission, you must complete it, and only then will the game let you save your place. If you die in the middle of a mission or desynchronize, you have to start the mission all over again. This isn’t so bad for missions that are short or don’t require sneaking around for half an hour, but I can clearly remember the mission in AC III that made me quit the game (and I haven’t played since…). It was a lot of crawling around in the grass, trying to go undetected but every time I was almost at the end, I would get caught and have to start all over. I don’t know what it is about me, but when I get really close to the end and die over and over again, I have to take a break.
Recently my fiancé and I have been playing games together. In college, I actually did a lot of research on video games (and incorporated it into my classes, as well) and I learned of the many benefits of gaming and gaming socially. If you want to check out some of the things I learned, watch Jane McGonigal’s TED talk on the health benefits of gaming. She also wrote a book that I love called Reality is Broken.
There are also articles like this one that highlight the benefit of gaming as a couple. I love playing video games with Junkyu because it adds a fresh dynamic to our life. After a long day of work, we come home and clean, make dinner, do the dishes, etc. and before we started gaming together, we usually found a task to do alone until bedtime.
Now, whenever we both need a break and we want to do an activity together, we put in Warriors Orochi 3 and team up against zombies and samurai to invade Japanese castles. We can play together, and the game is great for someone like me because we can save the game during battle. Before we knew that, though, we had to restart many times after one of us died. The game is set up so that if one of your team members dies, you fail. I think it instills a heightened sense of teamwork in us because we want to look out for one another. We can work together to fight bosses, or we can head in different directions to clear different areas.
Junkyu also helps me continue even after I die and want to give up. Having someone by my side saying, “No, you can do it! Give it another shot!” gives me just the boost I need to keep going. We learn a lot about one another while gaming together, and we have learned better communication skills as well. In the game, we can get lost or confused, so we need to on our strategy before we take on a mission, and then we need to be patient with each other during gameplay so that we are a more efficient team.
We are already thinking about new games we can play together. I used to disregard the little note on game boxes that says 1 player or up to 4 players, etc. because I never counted on playing with anyone. Gaming was only a social thing for me if I went to a friend’s house or went to our weekly college game nights. Now, when asking my friends for game recommendations, the first thing I make sure to ask is, “Is it a two-player?”