Gamers, as boyfriends, get a bad rap.
No, seriously. The Gloss insists that gamers are among the seven men you should avoid, and all gamers talk in “lolspeak” (ahem, it is leetspeak, ladies) and want to travel to other locations to meet people they’ve gamed with, which kind of leaves us wondering why, precisely, wanting to go to another country to actually meet the people who live there instead of going on a landmark tour is a bad thing. WikiHow features an article on “How to Get Rid of Your Boyfriend’s Game Addiction”. EvilWoobie complains that “hardcore gamers are the most high maintenance of the boyfriend breeds”…wait, breeds? As in dogs? And we’re the weirdoes?
Hell, Datingish actually goes all the way and offers the math that gamer=@$$hole. This is so accepted that girls taking “revenge” destroying their boyfriends property is pretty common on YouTube. Here’s one destroying her boyfriend’s Starcraft 2 beta. Here’s another with a girl destroying her boyfriend’s XBox. And in addition to that “Achievement” T-shirt, you’ve got items like the “Girlfriends Against World of Warcraft” button. It seems that anything with two X chromosomes and a heterosexual disposition has a mortal enemy, and that enemy apparently isn’t patriarchy or the glass ceiling or societal demands of impossible-to-achieve perfection, but controllers.
Keep in mind all of this is from websites that, by and large, don’t see anything wrong with spending $400 on shoes, $400 that could have gone to something more useful, like a PS3 bundle.
Here are a few simple reasons that gamers make good boyfriends that these sites have missed. Hopefully they’ll reconsider, as gamers have a lot to offer.
Gamers Know The Value of Planning Ahead
Scratch a hardcore gamer, and inevitably you’ll find a guy with the mentality of Batman (although probably not the physique): somebody who does a lot of planning. Whether he’s trying to find every piece of some obscure weapon that’ll give him an advantage on the next raid, or trying just to survive a boss battle, gamers are people who appreciate tools and how to use them.
Ask a gamer to get around, he’ll find the optimal route to your location. Ask a gamer to configure something, he’ll bother to actually look up the manual, and see what the problem is. Granted, if he’s played a lot of role-playing games, he’ll probably first check your DVD player for traps before configuring it, but at least he’ll know what he’s doing.
So when you go on a date, gamers are prepared. Although you might want to make the “mission objectives” and “unlockable items” clear beforehand, if you know what we mean.
Gamers Know The Value of Being On Time
Every single gamer, ever, has grown up with the timed mission. Go here, get this, place this here, do this within a certain amount of time. This can range from the ridiculously restrictive time limit to just “don’t spend forever, will you?” But it has the great result that a gamer knows the value of punctuality. Give a gamer a time limit and he sees a challenge. Give a gamer a strict time limit, he sees something that should have a decent reward tied to it.
The end result is you have a guy used to doing ridiculous things under pressure with limited resources. So if you call your gamer boyfriend with, say, a plumbing emergency, he’ll show up five minutes before you expect him to with a full toolbox and a print-out of common plumbing problems. He also may suddenly be sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom halfway through the repairs, especially if he’s stout and stereotypically Italian, but that’s just a risk you’ll have to take.
Gamers Can Deal with Annoying People
The eternal bane of every video game is the escort mission. You get saddled with some idiot who happens wanders off cliffs, into gunfire, over landmines, etc. Or maybe he just gets stuck somewhere and won’t move no matter what. Does that sound like anybody you know? Or a lot of people you know?
Gamers have been made immune to fifth wheels thanks to years of escort missions. Seriously. No matter how irritating the best friend, or the kid brother, or the co-worker, your gamer boyfriend can deal with it because he knows how much worse it can get. At least there’s no traps for them to blunder into, unless you’ve got a relative you really don’t like.
Gamers Can Deal with Angry Idiots
As if the computer A.I. weren’t enough, you’ve also got the eternal bane of any gamer: other gamers.
Maybe you’ve never socketed in that headset that he uses whenever he plays “Call of Duty” into your ear, and good for you for not doing that. But if you did, you’d discover that on the other end of that earpiece is less a method to communicate with other people and more a relentless stream of verbal sewage from prepubescent sociopaths glorying in their anonymity. Seriously. Being called a [Ed. Note: censored for extreme profanity and also for disgraceful insults to the charming city of Cleveland] by a twelve-year-old happens so often they should probably make it an achievement.
As a result, there is nobody in the real world that can irk a gamer. It’s just pretty much impossible. The annoying customer at the mall, the driver that cuts him off, you name it, he can deal with it, and probably serenely. After all, once you been called [Ed. Note: Censored, and what did Cleveland ever do to gamers?], it’s hard to get worked up over anything.
Gamers Are Great At Repetitive Tasks
You want a gamer cleaning the house or doing the dishes. After invading enemy territory to spend dozens of hours fishing, a quick vacuuming is a snap.
Gamers, Above All, Are Grown-Ups Too
So maybe the preceding thousand words or so are a little tongue-in-cheek, but we’re being sarcastic in service of a point: just because a guy plays games doesn’t automatically make him a jerk, an assumption most female-centric sites seem a little too willing to jump to. It’d be a bit like assuming that any woman who thinks all gamers are fat, sweaty overcaffeinated virgins is a shallow twit. Sure, some of them are, and possibly they’re overrepresented in the pool of women writing about dating, but the group’s just too large for us to make that assumption right off the bat.
Yeah, gaming is a pretty intensive hobby, and there are people who are way too into it, which usually coincides with being a bored teenager/college student. But what seems to have been lost track of here is the fact that the same is true of every other hobby on the planet. There’s no essential difference between a WoW player and, say, the girl who you take out on a date and she spends the entire time talking about how much she hates her coworkers or “Gossip Girl”. They’re both people in desperate need of some perspective and a hot spicy cup of maturity.
Granted, games do suffer from a bad rap from culture as a whole. If a guy is going to be shown in the movies as immature and unable to commit, almost inevitably he’ll be on the couch, holding a controller. But do the math: all the kids who grew up playing Nintendo in the ’80s are now adults, and sure, some of them are sad, lonely people who write about video games for beer money, but most of them are grown adults with jobs, cars, and disposable income.
So why the hate, and why is it this over the top? Not even football gets this much loathing, and the term “football widow” has been in common usage for decades. We’ve got a guess: it’s both sides’ fault.
Notice that most of the examples we posted are from sites aimed at women in their early ’20s. As we said, being a hardcore gamer tends to coincide with a period in your late teens and early ’20s where pretty much all you have to do is go to school, work a lousy job, and consume mind-altering substances. So video games can be incredibly appealing because they fill the time and actually put all the cranial circuitry you’re wasting at your retail job to some sort of use.
This also tends to be the period when you’re bad at dating. Everybody’s bad at dating at this time because nobody actually knows what they want from a partner. Little girls grow up being exposed to all sorts of cultural toxic waste about the first guy you meet being charming and perfect, and then, after the initial high of liking each other wears off, you realize you’re dating a guy with a crappy job that he hates and who dedicates most of his energy not to you but rather to mastering grenade cooking.
He’s not mature enough to explain he hates a good chunk of his life, she’s not mature enough to deal with not being the center of attention all the time, and inevitably, innocent game consoles come to brutal ends on YouTube, T-shirts with snarky message are bought, and people blame it on the games instead of their own emotional problems.
In short, it’s not gaming’s fault. All we’re saying is give gamers a chance. They’ll probably surprise you.
That said, don’t touch the Starcraft. Zergs before hoes, woman. - Uproxx