Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Amazing Couch Companion

One of the things my wife and I used to do when we first started hanging out was play Halo together. It was one of our common interests—that and classic literature, watching Fellini films, and a few other things.

Our play sessions were exclusively one-on-one competitive matches, and the only maps we really played were "Beaver Creek," "Hang Em High," and maybe a little bit of "Chill Out." Of course, anyone who's opinion actually matters will agree that "Hang Em High" is the greatest Halo map of all time, and it's where we staged our most competitive battles. So many places to hide it out. So many opportunities to pistol snipe from opposite ends of the map. It always seemed like holding down the top of the main platform area provided the most advantageous position—easier to defend from above than to challenge from below.

At any rate, I remember what must have been our first "Hang Em High" match when we played at her apartment, and it was an intense one. She was pretty ruthless with a shotgun and invisibility cloak. I barely won that game by a score of 50 to 49.

I tried to get her interested in playing some cooperative games with me, so when she gave me a copy of Lego Star Wars II for Christmas I thought we could take it for a spin together. I must have gotten a little greedy on one of the early levels, however, rushing off to a distant area of the map to collect some errant blocks while she lingered behind. Unfortunately, this not being a split-screen game, I inadvertently caused her to get screen stuck in some hazard area where she proceeded to die and respawn in continuous succession. She did not find it amusing, and it would be a while before she would agree to play any game cooperatively with me again.

Tomorrow marks our fifth-year wedding anniversary, and while I don't mean to boil our marriage down to being all about video games, this is a video game blog and — once again — we're in the final hours of the last day of the month.

My wife eventually did play more games with me, and we've shared some good times. We bopped our way back to Coney Island while playing through the brilliant Rockstar adaptation of The Warriors—particularly fitting, seeing as she introduced me to the film a couple years prior. We trudged and blasted our way through the entirety of Borderlands 2 and its four DLC chapters. Talk about a long and repetitive game, that one, but with a couch companion it was actually a lot of fun and not a bad way to pass the time together. More recently we shot up enough robots to populate a small country in Shoot Many Robots, and we've acted as each other's wingman (or wingwoman) while playing through each of the hectic campaigns in Left 4 Dead and its sequel. There have been other games as well. It's pretty easy to feel kind of dead inside whenever you binge away the precious hours of your life sitting solitary in front of a TV screen with a controller in your hand, but I never feel that way when I'm spending it with her.

I don't take it for granted that I managed to marry someone who is not only smart, beautiful, and funny but who also likes to play video games with me. I mean, come on! How awesome is that?

So here's to five years of marriage to my lovely companion—fellow vault hunter, space marine buddy, and apocalypse survivor. May we continue to love and cherish one another, enjoy one another's company, and embark on many new adventures both real and virtual.

And I promise I will try harder not to get stupid mad and frustrated when I die.