My apartment is relatively compact, meaning the kitchen, dining room, living room and study all occupy the same room. What this means is, I don’t have the luxury of a basement “man cave” where I can stash all my videogame consoles and musical instruments. What this means is, my wife frequently finds herself in the room with me while I’m playing videogames. And that probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing—it’s easy enough to plug in headphones, which provide a better sound experience anyway—but I have this one compulsion that drives her crazy.
Anytime something even remotely awesome happens in a game I’m playing, I spin around in my chair and plead with Summer to sprint over and watch whatever is happening onscreen. The only problem is that the games I enjoy playing involve a string of awesome moments happening in rapid succession. Like a series of wired-together C4 base charges attached to the bottom of my brain stem. Also really good videogames tend to trigger my more annoying, overenthusiastic impulses.
A beautifully rendered cutscene begins to play: “Holy…oh my…Summer, you’ve gotta see this cutscene. Look at how well that guy’s hair is modeled. Each strand appears to be powered by its own custom-built physics engine. Hey, you’re not even looking!”
A boss fight: “Hey, Summer! This boss is crazy! He’s got like tentacles coming out of his face! Check this out!”
A pretty in-game sunset: “Summer, you won’t believe how gorgeous this is!”
A bit of funny dialogue in a Tim Schafer game: “Summer, this is hilarious! Let me start it over so you can hear the whole thing.”
With the exception of a brief flirtation with Guitar Hero II, my wife does not play videogames. She can appreciate why I find them compelling, but that’s about as far as it goes. And I’m fine with that. I have no interest in being married to a female version of myself. I simply want to compound my excitement with someone else’s. I have the same problem with books. When I read a passage that I find particularly memorable, I want to read it aloud to every last person on the planet. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to entertainment journalism in the first place, because it was the closest I could come to broadcasting my enthusiasm to the whole wide world.
If I sneak up behind an enemy combatant in Splinter Cell Conviction, executing a monumentally badass stealth kill on him, and nobody’s around to appreciate my handiwork, did it really happen?
Jason Killingsworth is Paste’s games editor. He is based in Dublin, Ireland, and writes about music, film, tech and games for a variety of outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonkill or drop him a line at jason [at] pastemagazine.com.