The day has arrived. Many have installed the cursed data onto their computers, and they have since been lost to it. Their loved ones have stopped hearing from them. They don't eat, they don't sleep, the only sign of life is the clicking that emanates from their dens. A highly anticipated game has been released, and it has consumed all. Or at least that is the stereotype that we have believed in for so long. But how many of us are actually swayed in this fashion? How many truly lose themselves to a new game this way?
A soul that has been lost to a game is determined mainly by the observer. We are going to look at two main people in this situation, the gamer and the spouse.
To the gamer the road has been long. They have waited years to play the game. The gamer has seen press releases, read the official website, and ordered the game ahead of time. Now that they have the sought after treasure installed on their system the wait has ended. With a bated breath they activate program and immerse themselves in the pure joy that is their game; assuming the servers are working and there are no game breaking bugs that don't let you sign in (looking at you Diablo III).
For the most part the gamer is still actually aware of their surroundings, contrary to popular belief. They may stop talking and barely move, but they are still aware. If their name is called they do answer, after a moment. The gamer is just enjoying their hobby and is not intentionally ignoring others in the house, but can have a hard time splitting their attention. When asked for help a gamer will typically try pause the game or find a safe spot to park their character to respond, but this can take time. They still love their spouse, and but they love their games too.
Now the other side of the coin. Disclaimer on this though, I have never been the one ignored for a game. I may be off here, so feel to correct me.
The spouse is normally not as voracious a gamer as their other half. They may dabble from time to time, but no where near as much as the gamer does. They try to respect the hobby of the gamer. But when the long road ends and a new game releases they can fill with dread as their loved one is about to be lost for many hours. The spouse gives the gamer time with their game. Eventually they do start to feel slighted though. When the gamer gets off work, gives them a token hello when they see each other, and goes straight into the game. The spouse knows their other half still loves them, but becomes jealous of the time devoted to something they have a hard time sharing in.
Things can become worse when the gamer does not really say anything for hours on end and takes a long time to answer questions or respond to requests for help. The spouse trys to talk to the gamer, and gets only short and quick responses. The vacant stare towards the screen as eye contact is never really made. The spouse starts to feel that they are not as important to the gamer as the game is.
So as we can see from the two views, the gamer is enjoying their time, focusing on the game. They are not intentionally ignoring their spouse, but they have waited a long time to play their game. When a gamer is playing a game and someone is speaking to them they have to split their attention. MMO's have not really helped this as people here, despite being a social game. When in combat, people will ignore tells until it is safe to talk, and this is accepted. The problem comes when the gamer starts doing this in real life. They do still love their spouse, and are not intentionally ignoring them, but to the outside observer it seems this way. The gamer seems lost to their spouse, and would love to show them them why they are so engrossed in this, but understands this is not their thing.
So does this sound about right to all you couples out there? Or do you have a different dynamic? Are you both gamers? Do you schedule your together time and game time so no one feels ignored? Sound off in the comments.