Yeah, I just made those terms up, sorta.
As regular readers know, I’m in a relationship with another gamer. We have similar tastes and similar behaviors in a lot of ways, which is (presumably) why we get along so well.
But though we’re both gamers, we’re very, very different kinds of gamers. I flit from game to game, dropping in, riding the rush of a new experience, having fun and then paddling back out to the gaming ocean to find another ride. (Yes, apparently I’m going to torture the titular analogy to death.)
She, on the other hand, dives deep into the nuances of a game that grabs her. She’s been playing EQ2 since launch. That’s over four years, for those not counting. She loves the game, knows it so well she’s like a walking EQ2 encyclopedia, and is loyal as hell to it. I’ve tried to tempt her into other MMOs time after time and I don’t think she’s ever lasted more than a month.
She’s the same way with single player games (which, honestly, she didn’t often play until recently). I got her Animal Crossing: City Folk for Christmas, and it took her a good two months to get around to trying it. Once she did, she was hooked. She logs in every single day. She has charts and printouts of all the fish, bugs, art and fossils you can find, and tics them off as she adds them to the Museum. She took in-game snapshots of the terrain, moved those over to her PC so she could exactly match the palettes, and developed patterns for the game that blend in seamlessly. She used these to create pathways through the world so that the grass doesn’t get trod down. She has the town’s individual acres marked out with other patterns so she can focus on getting a ‘perfect’ score for the town.
Describing it, she sounds incredibly anal, but all the while she’s doing this, she’s also chatting with the townsfolk and having a blast finding new things, always with a big smile on her face. The few times I’ve dipped into this kind of completionism, I’ve done it with a furrowed brow and I “gotta get this DONE” attitude. She just does it all casually.
It’s fascinating to me, watching her play a game. I envy her in some ways. I wish I could have that kind of focus. I’m a poster child for adult-ADHD (diagnosed and everything); unless I happen to get into a ‘hyperfocus’ frame of mind, I just can’t stick to one thing like she does. And that’s ok. It’s actually pretty fun to vicariously enjoy all the nuggets of coolness that she uncovers; there’s so much hidden stuff in really good games that I would *never* uncover.
On the other side of the coin, I think about how much she misses by playing so few games. She’s not really a ‘student’ of gaming in the same way I am; for her, they’re all about having fun. I have stacks and stacks of games laying around the house. Part of that is because when I’m really busy (this is a recent self-discovery) I start buying games as a broken way of trying to scratch the itch of wanting to play. But part of it is also me really, really wanting to experience all kinds of games. I’m fascinated by what each one brings to the table. I’m a sucker for bargain bins. Grabbing for $10 poorly-received games is totally worth it. Even if the game is wretchedly bad, I’m adding to my knowledge of gaming’s culture, history and technology.
If you’re waiting for me to make a point, I’m gonna disappoint you. I don’t really have one. I’ve just been finding it interesting to watch her play Animal Crossing, and while doing so I realized that she’d solved every Sudoku puzzle in her copy of Brain Age for the DS, and every puzzle in her copy of Mystery Case Files: Millionheir (the two other games, besides EQ2, that I’ve seen her play). That’s when it dawned on me that I was living with a completionist! It’s like lions and antelopes lying down together or something.
And speaking of lying down, here’s hoping you’re all having a pleasantly relaxing weekend. We sure are. Last of the chores (cleaning guinea pig houses, see below) are done, we’ve got no more committments. I’m going to be playing Rune Factory Frontiers on the Wii, and I just got an apparently bad 360 game for $10 (Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom) that I’ll be checking out. Assuming I can pull myself away from Aquia on the DSi!
Unrelated guinea pig picture: it’s so tiring having your house cleaned!