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Rose and Rosie: how video games play a role in our marriage - MW

Rosie Spaughton
I have never been good at games. Relationships, on the other hand, become easy. A young blond man, bisexual with confidence with his two brothers, I found the boys completely incredible and the girls enchanting around. Flirting is my main language and I don't understand why someone can date a disaster.

On the other hand, my brothers never seemed to have girlfriends (or kept them secret) and instead stayed in their shared room with computers, TVs and an Xbox. I watched them play for hours and hours of Worms, Dungeon Keeper, Halo, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. I sat behind them, fascinated by all the pistols and aliens, but I was never allowed to play. If I have already tried to grab the controller, I am useless. No one has the time or the patience to help me get better. So I went back and chased my snobby victim and they continued to hunt for the Covenant.

Years later, when I met Rose, my current wife, she told me about her favorite pastime when beating her brother at Top Spin on the Nintendo GameCube and how she grew up looking at her. My girlfriend spent hours meticulously building the most perfect amusement park on Rollercoaster Tycoon. Playing games with her family affected her life, and before we moved in together, she wanted to share that competitive ability with me. Rose set up her Xbox 360 and the first game we ever played together was Grand Theft Auto. To my surprise, my inability to drive in what could even be considered a straight line was met, not with frustration, but with complete joy. The kind of joy you get when Lara Croft goes swimming and starts breathing heavily.

Rose was drawn to my utter futility, causing me to play games after the game while she cried because I couldn't do anything. She thought it was funny, she started filming it and put it on our YouTube vlogging channel. Our audience was obsessed with these videos, which led us to start a comedy game channel; Let Games Games, where my utter lack of skills become our brand.

For the first time in my life, someone really liked watching me play.
Rose taught me everything she knows about gaming. Her knowledge, coupled with her determination to exact revenge on innocent bystanders, who simply revived in GTA, was hot. Plus, I like the noises as she tapped the controller.

I learned about different consoles, different types of games, and I quickly found my favorite one.

There is only one game that I've played well and that is Fortnite. Having been an avid fan of the Battle Royale movie and then The Hunger Games, it was my perfect game. I like the idea that there can only be one winner. Now that I have a headset and a microphone, I've made new friends both online and in real life. I like an ongoing competition with my sister who is going further in the battle rankings, and that's what I can do in the evening with Rose to really relax. When it's a stressful day, or when someone hurts me, there's nothing I love more than taking a pickaxe to some buildings or shooting a banana with a handgun. Playing games, like relationships, gives people joy - just requires practice and confidence.

Rose Ellen Dix
Rosie wasn’t lying when she said playing games with my family impacted my life. I was a Sega and Nintendo girl, while Rosie spent most of her childhood tied to a tree. Sure, accidentally wiping Commander Keen from the family computer and replacing the folder with one entitled “Poo poo wee wee” caused an immense amount of upset. Fortunately, as a seven-year-old I was forgiven, but I’ve done plenty of questionable things since.

One that’s gone down in family history is the story of MeatSim 6. The first-person shooter Perfect Dark was one of my favourite N64 games, the spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007, and my first experience of a strong female lead.

The game included a co-op “combat simulator” mode where players could choose from a variety of foes and then fight them together. My brother and I would usually take on a type called MeatSims: the least intelligent and lowest difficulty combatant in the simulator – apart from my brother. I thought it would be somewhat entertaining to rename my usual Player 2 to MeatSim 6 and enable friendly fire, thereby disguising myself as an enemy automaton. Then I repeatedly killed him with single shots to the back of the head and he couldn’t understand how he was being victimised so artfully by the game’s bottom-rung AI. His suspicion grew fast, but not as fast as my kill count. The moral of the story is never trust those closest to you, and don’t underestimate your little sister’s thirst for an indefensible kill. This is how I was raised.


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