Thursday, 24 February 2011

All Your Bears Are Belong To Us

Other Half is a enigmatic creature. She routinely scorns my geekery for higher pursuits, but her interest can be captured if you play your cards right. Over our time together, I feel I have become a master of this delicate art. I once tried to explain this concept to her through the equally fine art of interpretive dance, but she just looked at me for a while, unblinking, and then left the  room. I'm a firm believer in interpretive dance. It makes for a great conversation stopper at parties. I speak from experience.

I've recently been playing a game called Red Dead Redemption on one of our PS3s. We have six consoles overall. Other Half likes to pretend she thinks this is too many, but since the colour actually drained from her face when I suggested returning the Wii and her special Goldeneye game/controller set, I think it's safe to say she enjoys them almost as much as I do. We tend to have reasonably similar taste in games, although hers tends towards the first person shooter variety, and I prefer more strategic, turn-based games because my aim onscreen is about as good as my aim would be in real life. I spent most of my time during Resistance: Fall of Man with my camera view pointed inexplicably and rather sadly into the sky as my player was continually riddled with bullets.

At this point Other Half  has been on a two week long Grand Theft Auto binge (and I'm not sure I care for the way her elbow twitches every time we walk past a particularly shiny car) and she's being rather derogatory about my new game, which is basically Grand Theft Auto but with cowboys. It's even made by the same superb company. Introducing Other Half to my games, especially these kind of games, is a bittersweet business, as I am fully aware that given fifteen minutes she will be beating the everloving crap out of me and all my high scores/previous amazing achievements. The things we do for love.

Other Half: So, what, you just shoot animals? That's awful!

Me: Didn't you just take out a whole branch of the Mafia?

Other Half: That's totally different.

Me: Well, you have missions in this game too. You shoot the animals to skin them for pelts, which you can sell in the towns. You get to lasso horses and hunt down wanted criminals. It's pretty fun.

Other Half: That's stupid.

Me: It's awesome.

Other Half: Where's your car?

Me: It's the Wild West. You get a horse. And sometimes a wagon.

Other Half: Again, that's stupid.

It occurred to me that Other Half was perhaps protesting a little too much. I continued to play, ignoring her, while she read a book on the other side of the couch. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her glancing towards the screen. I completed a mission and went out to the next one, stopping on the way to save a lady from being hanged. I shot some bears in the face in slow motion. It was like being a cowboy Superman. I was living the dream.

Other Half: So, what kind of guns have you got?

I knew it. Hook, line and sinker. She wanted to play but she'd called it stupid. She'd take time to come around, like a feral animal.  I talked soothingly about the guns for a while as she inched closer. Eventually:

Me: (casually) Do you want to try? I'm going to the bathroom anyway.

Other Half: Well, I suppose. If you're going for a minute I could try...

I returned minutes later. She was jabbing at the controller in frustration.

Other Half: What is wrong with this bloody horse?

Me: (defensively) I've grown quite fond of J-Lo.

Other Half: You named the-you know what, nevermind. How do you reverse it?

Me: I'm sorry? I don't think I heard you right.

Other Half: How do you reverse it? I can't get it to walk backwards.

Me: Didn't you grow up on a farm?

Other Half: Yeah, so?

Me: Turn it around, for god's sake! You don't reverse a horse! It's not a BMW!

Other Half: (dawning comprehension) Oh, I see.

Other Half went on to surpass me at Red Dead Redemption, completing it three time and earning all the trophies. However, I still kick her ass at Risk. She hasn't noticed that I always start from Australia.  It's just a matter of time.

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