Tips for cohabitating with a non-gamer.

The week I first started playing Final Fantasy VII is the same week that I almost lost my PlayStation for good.  I was quite taken with the game and set up camp in the living room for a long weekend of marathon playing.  At the same time I was so absorbed by it, the various bleeps, blips and button clicks were driving my partner crazy.  It wasn’t until he (jokingly?) threatened to kick my PlayStation to the curb that I realized we’d need to come up with some kind of system if I wanted to get my game on and not drive him insane while doing so.  In this article, I’ll share some tips from my home which allow time for my gaming while simultaneously keeping the peace.

1) If it’s financially feasible, try to have several gaming options available on multiple platforms.  I have consoles hooked up in the living room, several games on the PC in the computer room and a decent collection of portable games for the PSP (PlayStation Portable).  With these various options to choose from, I’m usually able to find something suitably entertaining to play without hogging the only television in the house.  This is also good for those occasional times when I want to be by myself and do some gaming in solitude.

2) Plan ahead of time and give advance warning for major new releases.  If you *know* you’ll be completely hooked on a game and playing it a ton, let your partner know ahead of time.  This gives them time to make alternate plans to be elsewhere, should they feel the need to do so.  The inverse of that can also be useful in planning your gaming sessions, in that you can take advantage of times when you know your partner will be away for a trip to “geek out” (as I like to refer to it) without getting any static.  My partner knows that I like an occasional weekend to myself and will take trips on his own every now and then (in pursuit of his own hobbies) to allow for that time.

3) Try to include your partner in your gaming hobby, if they’re at all interested (without pressuring them, of course).  Add some casual games to your library and buy some additional controllers for your consoles.  Your partner may not wind up playing Demon’s Souls any time soon, but you can still have lots of fun playing games like Rock Band or Mario Kart together (this is especially true when people are over for a party and a group of you and your friends can all play).  I’ve also found that for more cinematic games (for example, Heavy Rain), it’s a lot of fun to play while your partner is watching you and contributing some amusing color commentary.

I hope these tips will prove somewhat helpful to you in negotiating the perils of living in a household with a non-gamer.  The basis for all of them is mutual respect for one another’s feelings and allowing for space when it’s needed.  Thanks for reading and happy gaming!

4 responses

  1. Amanda

    When Splinter Cell: Conviction dropped for PC, it dropped on date night. I told my husband I was making him a nice dinner, and after that, I was okay with being a Splinter Cell widow, despite him repeatedly asking if there was anything I wanted to do that night. He was SO EXCITED for that game, I couldn’t take away Day 1 play from him.

    However, he couldn’t get on to play immediately because of DRM/Authentication server issues, so he and I booted up Left 4 Dead (which he’s also loving) and we played for nearly two hours, before he could finally play his long awaited game.

    It was a great ‘date night’, and I regret nothing and he knows I love him and respect his interests and wants.


    May 2, 2010 at 8:37 am

  2. Best thing about having a gaming spouse/SO; gaming partner for life. My husband is a major gamer too and it’s great that we share such a life stealing hobby together. I really don’t understand how someone survives being the only gamer in a relationship. I’ve seen people do some crazy things to get their gaming habit in without their SO knowing or killing them.


    May 3, 2010 at 3:17 am

  3. JenniferRuth

    Luckily my partner doesn’t mind me playing games so much! He plays some games himself – I can get him to join me on stuff like Modern Warfare or Left 4 Dead but never for more than one hour! Also, he’s damned good at Civilisation.

    I use the tv a lot when I play games like Fallout or a Final Fantasy so to be fair I try and take a couple of weeks break between games that rack up about 70-80 hours gameplay.


    May 4, 2010 at 3:04 pm

  4. Kristina

    I used to date a non-gamer. He wasn’t just a non-gamer, he HATED that I played games so much. I was playing a couple console RPGs and an MMO at the time, and I couldn’t even talk about any of them around him. The worst part was, I had leadership positions in the MMO I was playing, and as it often happens, a lot of my mates had my phone number. So, of course it became an issue when I wasn’t home and got calls or text messages from MMO mates, because it cut into my private time with him. I generally didn’t answer the calls, but there’s little I was able to do about keeping him from glancing at my phone whenever I got a message and seeing it was from a game pal. In the end, I just had to play less.

    Funny thing, after we broke up, he got into FPS.


    May 7, 2010 at 2:50 am

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