It’s rare for my girlfriend to acknowledge my habitual need to game. She possess a limited capacity to care for such juvenile endeavours and a frequent nonchalant reaction to my rare moments of triumph. Gaming is treated as more of an intervening distraction as apposed to a domestic liability in our relationship. A regular activity tolerated rather than accepted. But she has always been moderately intrigued by the Uncharted series, primarily the infatuation she harbours for the honourable thief, that has dismissed more organised militias than Alan Sugar has apprentices, Nathan *swoon* Drake. So I wasn’t entirely surprised by her eagerness to partake in his most recent adventure, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. But it was with conditioned trepidation that I accepted her request as her skills as a gamer could be described as marginally more adept than that of a arthritic sloth. But I concluded that with enough guidance, a healthy supply of beer and some concentrated retention to my advisory instructions that eventually repetition would breed familiarity. Who knows perhaps the exposure to my favourite past time could evoke a further marital bond between us, hurling us into carnal abandon. I was wrong. In fact it’s been rather painful, like watching an Olympic diver mess up their routine and belly-flop from the top board with an echoing thud! Forgive me Nate, forgive me.
Watching my girlfriend play Uncharted is a bit like observing my Nan trying to change the channel with her glasses case. You feel compelled to intervene, if only to spare Drakes mangled diaphragm. And you’re completely helpless in preventing the incessant suicide of Drake, as the infrastructure of some venerable cliff cracks, the jutted remains of some decrepit architecture crumbles into the sea below, swiftly followed by Drake plunging into the abyss in total disillusionment like a disabled lemming. The discernible look of contempt etched across Drakes face is evident as you yourself begin massaging you’re temples to leverage some kind of sanity. Not even the incremental dosage of alcohol could assuage the numbing frustration I developed watching her play this beloved franchise. She has the spatial awareness of a blind fish. No sense of direction. It’s like watching a snail getting it’s shell hooked on a nail, as it slowly figures out that it’s not actually going anywhere! Her puzzle solving skills are as astounding as a toddler trying to put variously shaped blocks into the corresponding holes, but instead sticking them up their rectum! Even the most self explanatory functions seem to allude her like shooting, jumping or basic movement. She is also about as receptive to direction as a monkey in its own simian porn movie. For example, this is just one innocuous incident that occurred a couple of hours into her play-through….
Blasé girlfriend: How do I do that?
Mildly irritated boyfriend: You just did it a minute ago?!
Blasé girlfriend: I can’t remember that!
Mildly irritated boyfriend: You’ve got to hold L1 and then press….
*Drake plummets to his death*
…..down. What did you do that for?
Blasé girlfriend: I pressed the button!
Irritated boyfriend: Yeah, the wrong one.
Blasé girlfriend: No, I pressed that one *points to the circle button*
Irritated boyfriend: Yeah; the wrong one. You’ve got to press the first left shoulder button and then down on the left stick.
Blasé girlfriend: Which one is the shoulder button?
Very irritated boyfriend: That one on the top left. The smallest one!
Blasé girlfriend: I thought you said I had to press L1?
BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL?!
But I guess that from her perspective even the most basic of controls are rather complex for someone that hasn’t dedicated the better part of three decades getting acquainted with every generation of console controllers. I guess a more patient and decorous manner might inspire a natural development and perhaps generate a dormant skill set absent from her formative deficiencies. Mercifully she appears to be grasping the simple steps necessary to ensure success in combat and it is satisfying to observe her steadily progressing. Yeah she still requires gentle persuasion, and sometimes vocal coercion to help nudge her in the right direction. She occasionally insisted on scaling vertical surfaces with no clefts to leverage, which made Drake look like a cat on a scratching post. She would swing across perilous ravines only to again fall to her death like a Tarzan with Alzheimer’s and she did utilise aim assist, but you could tell that she was beginning to adhere to the structural principles of any game. She began to understand which doors can or can’t be opened. That the camera is pointing in the direction of a specific objective. That punching thin air is suggestive that the enemy you were fighting is probably subdued. That a linear game means you can only go forwards or backwards. And that you should always heed the advice of your much maligned, though charmingly modest partner. Well perhaps not so much the latter….
What’s the best way of dealing with a partner that doesn’t share your interests? Or worse, tries to understand them! Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.