Gears of War–Playtime, Obsession, Foundation of a Happy Marriage

Today is Free for All Friday so I get to talk about what I want. Not quite sure how this differs from most days, but the alliteration–Free for All Friday–makes me happy, so there :P.  This has been an awesome week, a week I have waited almost two years for. Did I get a sweet publishing deal? Not yet. Did I befriend celebrity author Sandra Brown? No, she has pretty awesome security people…and a sprinkler system. No, better than a publishing deal or a celebrity author friend… Epic Games released Gears of War Three .

Six years ago, my brother told me of this device called the X-Box. I was not interested in his silly reindeer games. Like many other Gen Xers, I grew up on Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Centipede and Pac-Man, etc. Yes, these games were addictive, but they almost too accurately mirrored life. They started out new and fun and slow and then just got faster and faster and faster UNTIL YOU DIED. So when my brother approached me about playing a game known as HALO, I only agreed to play to shut him up.

Jaysen, where are you? Someone keeps shooting me in the back of the head.

My brother might not be the best introduction into the world of gaming. He believes that you learn by dying. Not doing. You read correctly. DYING. For two hours, I found myself trapped in corners or under staircases because I didn’t know how to work the controller, thus I spent most of the time seeing only my cyborg feet and getting shot in my cyborg a$$. Not only was I supposed to keep the aliens from killing me, but my brother would pop out of nowhere and shoot me in the face and run away while my character regenerated (respawned).

Jerk.

So we somehow escape the craft that has been boarded by aliens and crash-land on some earth-like planet, where we see this giant ring in the sky (the HALO and the center of the game’s storyline). I would have loved to have learned more, but my brother found a Hummer and promptly ran me over….then ran me over again…and yes, again. I finally managed to respawn and beat him to the Hummer. Ha! Revenge…

….so he threw a plasma grenade in my back seat and killed me again. Yes, I come from a family of sadists and I am their favorite object of torment entertainment.

The odd thing, however, is how well my brother knows me. If he would have held my hand and gently introduced me to gaming, he wouldn’t have ignited my competitive nature. I was going to show him.

Shoot me in the a$$. I’ll show YOU!

The next day I recruited my six-year-old nephew Josh to teach me the Jedi X-Box ways. Josh was a better teacher. Granted, he got us lost…all the time and took ALL the ammunition, but it was a step up from being run over 42 times in less than a minute and a half. I had to grow strong and become a warrior.

*insert montage music* If you need to do a lot in a really short time, you need a montage! A montage!

I trained using HALO. Eventually I graduated to playing Dungeons & Dragons Heroes with my nephew and twin cousins (all six years old). We played all day (it was summer and they wouldn’t stay outside). We learned to fight, to cheat and to win. I gained legend-status among all 4-7 year olds on the block. I gamed three days straight until I’d finally beaten Halo and D&D. The very small kindergartener bards would long sing of my adventures and draw Crayon depictions of my many battles.

After beating HALO 1 & 2 and D&D I finally met my match….Enclave. To this day it is the only game I have never beaten.

*Note to game designers: We need to actually be able to win. Thank you.*

It took seven months of playing Enclave almost every day to finally give up and admit a game had bested me. Ah, but I never could have known how this worthy adversary prepared me for my finest hours of battle.

GEARS.

The Gears of War games are not games; they are an experience. What makes them so addictive really isn’t the battling monsters (cool) or even the Lancer, which is a a SAW fitted with a saw–literally it’s a semi-automatic weapon fitted with a chainsaw (awesome)–or even the Torque Bow (exploding arrows & AWESOME-SAUCE)…it is the story.

Gears is some of THE best writing anywhere. Most novels and movies cannot compare. The characters are real and it is easy to get emotionally attached. Each level reveals more and more of the overall story-problem. There is a plot and we as gamers are participating in this real-time adventure. There is tension and conflict on many, many levels, not only from the enemy, but from allies as well.

Gears is a story of the underdog–Alpha squad fails on their mission to map the enemy tunnels, and Delta Squad, the rejects, take up where their brothers fail. They rise from disgrace to become heroes. Gears is a story of family, love, sacrifice. It is a story of redemption.

Sure the shooting bad guys and making stuff go BOOM is a lot of fun and strangely cathartic, but the real draw to this game is the characters. We want to understand, to make sense of why this war ever happened. We care. We want to play the next level and the next because beating the game is the only way we will ever sleep. We need resolution. We need the bad guys to be defeated. It is a strange desire. We need the world to be saved while at the same time we are hoping the save is temporary because we want a chance to be able to save the world again.

Unlike the old arcade games, the new games–HALO, Gears, FEAR 3, etc.–have incorporated the essence of what it means to be human. Stories. We are a story people, and that is how you hook us. Stories are in our DNA…along with violent tendencies and addictive behaviors. Marry all three and you get a winner.

The Gears saga sucks you in and you cannot help but care. For those Gear Heads out there, tell me you didn’t have to pause the game in Gears 2 when Dom found his wife. You KNOW you cried. Even the dudes. You got tears. It’s okay. You’re among friends.

Sure there are all kinds of asshats out there who have played video games until they starved to death or died from their heart exploding from too many energy drinks. I can’t speak for them. I have yet to resort to wearing adult diapers during gameplay (been close, but there are lines best left uncrossed). But gaming has this wonderful way of uniting those of us who never understood football. We can have cool gamer tags (I am known as Miss Mayhem) and meet on-line to….play. We can shoot each other in the face and play King of the Hill and laugh and be childlike.

Gaming is also great for dating. It’s how I met my husband. He’d never played before. Mwah ha ha ha ha.

“Hey, little boy. Ever heard of X-Box? I have free candy.”

Hey, it worked. Less than a year later we were married.

Gaming is actually a great way of getting to know who people really are. Ladies, if you are single, dudes dig gamer chicks. Learn to game. Something about a woman and a shotgun that is infinitely hot. Ah, but there is more to gaming than just being smokin’ hot. This is one of the best ways for us (ladies) to see who a man really is.

Can this dude play as an effective part of a team? Does he lose his temper? Can he have fun? Does your gaming partner hog all the treasures with no consideration for others? Is your gaming partner an ammo whore, keeping all of it for himself? Does he share frag grenades and ammo cans?

Science shows that a man who won’t share ammo isn’t worth dating let alone marrying.

Does your partner charge off ahead and leave you to the monsters? My husband and I are such an effective alien-killing force that frequently even the game can’t keep up. THAT is teamwork. And the best part is we get to have fun, unwind…and PLAY.

Stories unite us and ignite us. Being able to PLAY is key to balance. Oh, I have to confess that after several bad bouts of tendonitis, I have learned more moderation when it comes to gaming. Yet, I still want to plunge ahead and unlock the next clue, the next key, the next adventure. And this is why I LOVE Gears. I have to confess that one of my big life goals is to write a video game. There, I said it.

So what is your obsession? How you do play? Are you a gamer? What are your favorite games? Why? What makes you passionate for your hobby? Do you love Gears? Tell us why. Here is the Gears 3 trailer for those who want a taste of what I ambabbling  raving about. LOVE THIS! Yes, my leg is thumping.

I do want to hear from you guys!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of September, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of September I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: GRAND PRIZE WILL BE PICKED THIS MONTH. I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced at the end of September) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.

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  1. #1 by Cheryl Sonnier (@CherylSonnier) on September 23, 2011 - 11:06 am

    It’s great to see other women gamers who write (or should it be writers who game?). Either way, it’s good to know there are more out there.

    I didn’t meet my husband through gaming, but we game together. In fact I blame him for introducing me to MMORPG games. Before that I was pretty much a console gamer (started with Pong, yes I’m that old). We make a great team and always have each other’s back. My daughter and her boyfriend play together too.

  2. #2 by Samuel on September 23, 2011 - 11:10 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I havent played ‘Gears’ with my sons, but we played the Conflict series, and had the best time ever!!! We are a relentless, unstoppable killing machine!

    I never considered how you might be able to tell things about a prospective mate just by gaming with them, but its an excellent point. And YES, we do love girl-gamers. I don’t play all that much, but knowing that a girl can kick ass in first person shooters always impresses.

    Nicely done, my friend.

  3. #3 by Kristy K. James on September 23, 2011 - 11:17 am

    Yay Centipede and Phoenix. Can I play games like Gears? What a silly question! I can’t even figure out the remote control for my television, lol. The most challenging games I can win are a racing game and Mah Jongg Dard 3D. But I have to say, reading this blog, these games sound like more fun than I’d originally thought. Maybe I’ll give them a shot. If nothing else, it’ll give my kids a good excuse to laugh at me. :)

  4. #4 by Lena Corazon on September 23, 2011 - 11:21 am

    Love, love, love. I played video games off and on as a kid (Super Mario, Donkey Kong, etc.), but my parents wouldn’t buy me a console because they thought it would “fry my brain,” or something like that. It wasn’t until I started dating my first boyfriend, who worked in video games, that I started playing. First I’d sit and watch him, and help him figure out strategies… and then one day I decided that I wanted to play.

    I was a dismal failure for the first few dozen tries, but eventually I got okay, and when he upgraded to a new X-Box, he gave me his old one and a half dozen games. I’ve fallen in love with BioWare’s ‘Dragon Age’ and ‘Mass Effect’ franchise, particularly because they have that “Choose Your Own Adventure” angle that I love. Mass Effect’s storylines, in particular, are really addictive. I also like ‘Portal’ and ‘Fable.’ I play 3rd person games better, but I’m trying to get used to FPS, ’cause sometimes all I want to do is dash about and kill things. :p

  5. #5 by ramblingsfromtheleft on September 23, 2011 - 11:25 am

    Okay, so on this day of all days, I am once more reminded of the disconnect of boomers and X’ers.
    I am a boomer and my kids are GenX … Gees, does that mean I could be like your mother? How weird is that? I grew up on AM Radio, B/W TV and all day Saturday movie free-for-alls at the local theatre for 25cents. My son tried for years to get me involved. Pre-game boy or other home games, he was the local champ of every game at the video/record store. He held titles and walked with an air of confidence, knowing he could slay the evil demons. He sucked up fantasy fiction like ice cream, devoured every game machine, computer game and is still a champ.

    Me? I have a hand/eye coordination problem. I could also use the excuse that I am a southpaw, but hey, one excuse per post is enuf. It’s my B-day and soon I’ll hear from the kids and the grand kids and feel about one hundred by day’s end. Thanks for the great memories you gave me. If not of me, even better, my kids. It is said that the generation we grew up in is nothing compaired to that of our children. Keeping the connection with dozens of them on Facebook and watching kids who wandered through the halls of our apartment for years, now all grown with kids, doesn’t really make me feel old … it does what you teach every day. It connects me and keeps me young, even if only at heart. Loved this :)

    • #6 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 23, 2011 - 11:27 am

      I hear Boomers rock the Wii. Something to think about for Christmas :D.

      • #7 by Ellan Bethia (@ellanbethia) on September 23, 2011 - 3:52 pm

        lol, I’d say there’s a disconnect between boomers, also. I took up gaming some 7 years ago when World of Warcraft was 1 year old–at the age of 51! I played it for 5 years then moved to Warhammer Online (until it began its self-destruction) and am now playing Rift. I have to admit, though, science-fiction MMOs do not catch my fancy.
        Rambling, the learning curve is there, but it is not unscalable. It is also another way to lay down new neuron pathways. Keeps your brain young. Best of all, you get to meet Gen-Xers and even younger players. The past may be a different country, but this ‘country’ is awesome to explore.
        And, yes, I write fantasy and historical fantasies. Sometimes (often!) I Wish the days were longer.

  6. #8 by Diana Douglas on September 23, 2011 - 11:25 am

    My son & grandson are completely addicted to video games. I’m surprised my daughter-law-in hasn’t taken a baseball to the x-box. I loved your post. What I loved most was learning a new word. Asshats. It’s a great word. I plan to use it often. lol

    • #9 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 23, 2011 - 11:28 am

      It’s one of my fave words. I stole it from Author Kait Nolan.

    • #10 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on September 23, 2011 - 6:58 pm

      I stole “asshat” from Liz McLennan! I didn’t even know it was a thing! ;-)

  7. #11 by Stephanie M. Lorée on September 23, 2011 - 11:26 am

    I met my Old Man through gaming, and I’m a bigger nerd than him. I’m more into RTS’s or RPG’s than FPS’s (and I’m going into acronym shock).

    When I was younger I had this lovely babydoll tee that said, “I pwn boys.” I miss that shirt.

  8. #12 by Deborah Krager (@DebraKristi) on September 23, 2011 - 11:26 am

    I was laughing so hard while reading this because it hit home for me. To say we are a gaming family is probably an understatement. My husband makes games for a living. Sometimes that work comes home with him. My kids don’t mind one bit. My son is completely obsessed with anything Halo or Portal 2 right now and can answer any technical question you throw at him. We won’t allow him to go into anything more mature than that yet. My daughter is anxious to break the age barrier that will give her the freedom to play such games.
    I once pushed myself so hard through a game that I popped all the blood vessels in my thumb pressing the controller with such vigor. I had a black thumb for weeks! But hell! I was opening cans of whoop a$$ all over the place! I was making my mark! LOL
    We have friends without kids that have one room dedicated to multiple gaming stations so that all their friends may come over and play on-line together all at once. Now that is some serious gaming!

  9. #13 by Ashley Prince on September 23, 2011 - 11:27 am

    I have been meaning to play video games with my husband. In fact I convinced him to buy Space Marines for me. But I just feel so stupid if I can’t work the controller.

    • #14 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 23, 2011 - 11:29 am

      One thing that might help is to invert the Y axis. You can do this in the Settings. This will keep you from looking at your feet all the time and is more natural, more like joysticks we grew up with. Then just practice.

  10. #15 by Graeme Smith on September 23, 2011 - 11:33 am

    Lady Kristen

    Oh. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear – did I say ‘oh dear’ yet? :-P.

    Once upon a time – don’t so many stories start that way? – there weren’t these computer thingies.

    Once upon a time, there was table top.

    Yes, I’m old :-P. Try not to hold it against me.

    Later, after table top, there was PBM. Er – PBM? That’s Play By Mail. Think of it as as Gears, or Lord of the Rings Online with, like, really, _really_ bad lag :-P. Players would write (yes, and when computers came along, type) turns. ‘Well, I’ll try this. But if this happens, I’ll try that. And if he comes along – well, I’ll talk fast. Then _run_.’ For nearly mumblty-mumble years I would submit 20 page turns once a week to one particular game. All RP and game mechanics. The GM would take all the players’ turns (most of them not 20 pages long :-P), work out what happened – and send out the results.

    Then there were MUDs (Multi-User-Dungeons). Then… well, there were lots of thens :-). And eventually – the MMORPG as we know it.

    Sephiranoth the dragon (yes – you even get to fly :-P) has lived in a game called ‘Horizons’ for over seven years. And where you find Sephiranoth, the Fool, the Thunder, you find Sonea. The Fair. The Lightning. No. We’re not married. But we’ve been a team nearly all those seven years. Even wrote a book together (commissioned by the games company) about them. Yes, it can be bought. It’s POD on Cafe-Press – you can find the link on their site if you want to:

    http://community.istaria.com.

    We danced in Vanguard, Saga of Heroes. We dance in Lord of the Rings Online, and we’re still dancing. And you know one of the things I’ve found out about female gamers?

    They’re all. Quite. Mad.

    In fact, they’re not just mad. They’re cycle-paths :-).

    Sephiranoth, who is twice the size of a house, with fire breath, claws and a nasty habit of dropping out of the sky onto enemy heads, has a standard approach to things. He’ll sniff the air. Taste a leaf. Inch a step closer. Peer round a corner. Sniff the air… and so on. Soni?

    Soni;s different :-).

    Soni will see the strange loomy cave, or house on the hill, with fore dripping more bode-ing out of every corner than modern science can count. Then she’ll grin, and say ‘Hey, Sephie. Lets….’ And poor Sephiranoth will have to flap his wings as hard as he can to catch the rest of the sentence. To catch up, so he can hear her say ‘… go take a look!’

    And as the door slams behind them, and the skeletons, dark mages, slimy plant creatures and tax inspectors pour out of every wall and every tunnel – then she screams, and calls for help, right?

    Does she hel…. er, um – heck :-). Then it’s ‘Lightning bolts to the left of me, dragon fire to the right – here we are, right in the middle of fun’ :-)).

    And yes, I’ve known other female gamers, even if not so long. And you’re all quite mad, I tell you. Mad, I say! :-P. Now – if you’ll excuse me – Soni just saw another strange, loomy house. Hang on! Wait for me!

    • #16 by Graeme Smith on September 23, 2011 - 12:27 pm

      Lordy. I’m getting old. I just checked – I’ve been playing Horizons over nine years, not seven :-).

  11. #17 by Jess Witkins on September 23, 2011 - 11:35 am

    This post was hilarious. I haven’t played too many games since Nintendo. I used to love playing Battle Toads, Knockout, and of course Mario. I’ve watched many a roommate spend hours gaming, but have been too chicken to try out myself. Guess I’ll have to give it another shot. It definitely is a good way to unwind and play at the same time.

    By the way, I like your alter ego. She’s badass. Wonder what she blogs like…

  12. #18 by ChemistKen on September 23, 2011 - 11:36 am

    My wife got somewhat into gaming when I convinced her to play Half-life with me in coop mode (on the PC). It was great teaming up against bots, but inevitably one of us would accidentally kill the other, so, of course, that person would feel the need to retaliate to keep things even. Eventually, our games devolved into deathmatches between the two of us – with the bots basically playing the part of spectators.

    Never got into Gears of War, though. I don’t care much for gamepads. Give me a mouse every time!

  13. #19 by Ruth Madison on September 23, 2011 - 12:11 pm

    I love to game. I haven’t done the shooter ones as much. I’ve been World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs. Your description of Gears of War makes me want to try it, though!

  14. #20 by Carrie Butler on September 23, 2011 - 12:13 pm

    Oh, Kristen, this made my day! I did a post on gaming this week, too. (Mine was MMO-centric, but still.) There must be something in the air! :) Great post!

  15. #21 by educlaytion on September 23, 2011 - 12:49 pm

    I like every single thing about this post. You are such a favorite of mine. I would totally murder aliens for you and Shawn. Someday I’m coming to Texas and we’re gonna form a devastating squad of mercenary killers. So true about the stories behind the gameplay. I bet most gamers don’t even realize how much that plays into their obsession.

    • #22 by shawn on September 23, 2011 - 1:33 pm

      Bring it!

  16. #23 by Darke Conteur on September 23, 2011 - 1:16 pm

    Oh, I am SO a gamer and so is my son. I came up with his online name ‘Sithboy’ because he was heavily into K.O.T.O.R. (Knights Of The Old Republic-Start Wars 1st person RPG), and no matter what he did, he couldn’t be good.

    We spend hours on our xbox. He likes Halo, I can’t get the hang of it. I”m more of a CofD (Call of Duty) girl. Modern Warefare 2 blew me away. I was soooo pissed at the end! Can’t wait for MW 3. We play Fable 3 together, and there’s nothing like racking up a pile of zombie corpes. We can get to level 17 together, but he’s gotten farther on his own.

    I’m also a big Sims 3 fan. I buy content from the Sims site for the game. Heck, I bought a new computer JUST so I could play Sims 3! Which reminds me, I need to download some packs.

  17. #24 by amyshojai on September 23, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    “Stories are in our DNA…along with violent tendencies and addictive behaviors. Marry all three and you get a winner.”

    Sounds like a slam-dunk recipe for a thriller book, too!

    Incidentally–small world–I am currently on a mountaintop with two of my best writer buds for a week of R&R, and one of ‘em mentioned her hubby met this AWESOME blogger writer at some speaking gig & bought her book and and and…her name is Kristen Lamb and….*YOU BE FAMOUS-ER THAN MOST EVERYONE!*

  18. #25 by Annalise Green on September 23, 2011 - 1:53 pm

    I’m SUCH a gamer. But not first person because I have horrible hand-eye coordination. I usually watch my brother play. The one exception is when my cousin had a neat version of House of the Dead where you typed to shoot. I beat that game the first time I played, my highest WPM is 114. ;)

    I usually play games that are considered “girly” or “casual” although I disagree. There’s nothing casual about a lot of them! Sims 3, Harvest Moon, Persona stuff, Phoenix Wright, anything Bioware has ever done besides ME because yeah, shooter. I kicked butt at KOTOR.

  19. #26 by Marc Johnson on September 23, 2011 - 2:10 pm

    I’m taking all weekend to play Gears 3. I even took Monday off. Somewhere in between that, I’ll probably watch football and try to write. I do have a second book to get out.

    I’ve played all three Gears, but this is the first one I’ve actually owned. I disagree with you. I don’t think the story’s that good. I don’t think most stories in video games are that good. That’s probably why video game movies suck.

    These days, it isn’t strange to see a woman gamer because of the Wii, DS and smart phones. It is somewhat strange to see a girl who’s playing Call of Duty, Gears, Halo, and Madden.

    • #27 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 23, 2011 - 2:28 pm

      I must be easier to please, LOL. I have played all the Call of Duty games, Medal of Honor, Black Ops, Halo 1, 2, and 3, Fear 3, Army of Two 1 and 2…

      …I dig FPS games, so maybe I’m weird. I am jealous that you get all weekend to play. My hubby has military stuff this weekend :(. The story for Army of Two is REALLY interesting.

  20. #28 by MaLinda Johnson on September 23, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    LOL Loved this one! I am very familiar with feeling like all I do is die in video games, but I do love Wii Sports (at least in that one, no one is allowed to shoot me.)

  21. #29 by susielindau on September 23, 2011 - 2:52 pm

    You are toooo funny! I can’t relate. I am addicted to writing on my computer though….My son and daughter would be able to comment. I missed the ship that sailed off to the land of video games. With my competitive streak, its a very good thing!!!

  22. #30 by Trish Loye Elliott on September 23, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    I so want to start playing. I’m afraid I’ll get addicted to it and neglect my writing. I’ve tried a friend’s Call of Duty and I sucked but I loved it. I saw the Gears 3 trailer and WANT to try it. Maybe I’ll finally take the plunge and buy it for myself for Xmas. Thanks for the post. Good to know I’m not the only girl out there who likes this stuff.

  23. #31 by EmilyR on September 23, 2011 - 3:20 pm

    Your post cracks me up, b/c I recent played Call of Duty with my son and spent the entire time squealing completely uncharacteristically while my character got shot. Again. And again. Then my competitive spirit kicked in and I quickly learned some strategic moves to save myself!

  24. #32 by Catherine Johnson on September 23, 2011 - 3:36 pm

    I love your analogy about teamwork, but I can’t say I’ve gamed much since Arcadians (do you remeber that?) I know what it’s like not to have a bathroom break during a grand prix though (in the days of Senna and Prost) To be passionate about sometging is to truly live.

  25. #33 by Chad Swayden on September 23, 2011 - 4:03 pm

    Love Gears!!! And this is so awesome that you do too! Just got Gears 3, played 4 hours the first day and forced myself to quit because I didn’t want it to end, like a good book. Sometime when I’m enjoying a book I’ll only read a chapter and then quit because I dont want the story to end. Same with Gears. What an amazing story. Finished the game, my wrists hurt, my eyes feel like marbles in my head but it is so worth it.

    And you will need heavy artillery! Oh yeah….

  26. #34 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on September 23, 2011 - 7:07 pm

    Okay, Kristen. Confession. I was a Pac Man and Ms. Pacman kind of girl. I love Tetris and every word game. In fact, @Lshirtliffe and I have been goin’ at it. But I cannot get into video or computer games. I don’t know why. My son plays Minecraft. Wait, it might be Mindcraft. I honestly can’t remember because when he starts talking about how he is growing cacti or how he is destroying this or that or doing something on a server with friends that involves collecting bricks of lava, I totally zone out. It might be because in college I had your experience with DOOM: the whole walking into corners for hours. Glurg! Who had time for that shizz?

    That said, I think you are spot on when you say dudes LOVE video games. And chicks looking for dudes would be wise to learn how to play video games because that is way hot for gamer dudes. So how do you like THIS idea? *whispering* What say you we open up a video game/speed-dating arcade. I’m telling you, we just stumbled onto a skillion dollar idea. We could call it: Die4U.

    (Do you like how inserted *we* in there?)

  27. #35 by Kimberly Mullican on September 23, 2011 - 9:50 pm

    I just laughed myself stupid! My son and your brother must share genetic code. He always wants me to play “slayer” mode in HALO just so he can shoot me in the face and laugh while his cyborg runs away. BRAT!

    I wouldn’t date my son – he is an ammo hog and a gratuitous thrower of plasma grenades.

    If only I had time to learn the game well so I could blow him up 25 times a minute!

  28. #36 by Sonia G Medeiros on September 23, 2011 - 10:21 pm

    Oh man! I’m totally sold. Only problem with me and video games is I want to stay up until 3 or 4am, until my eyes are burning and my butt is completely numb. Sigh. Not real good for writing or, you know, homeschooling the next day. LOL

  29. #37 by Pat Phelan on September 24, 2011 - 12:46 am

    This is Sonea. Fair to the Fool. Lightning to the Thunder.

    My introduction to MMOs was 15 years or so ago with a game called The Realm. The best part about that game was little gift boxes tied with pink bows that spawned randomly.. and they had surprises inside them. I was hooked.

    After that came several years of Everquest. And then, one day I bought the game called Istaria (Horizons). My character, Sonea, started out as a fumble-fingered Scout that couldn’t hit a blighted kwellen if it begged her to. For a time, she tried her hand at crafting (Istaria has the finest crafting system I’ve encountered) and she all but gave up on adventuring. Until Sonea met Sephiranoth the dragon.

    With that big ole dragon as her hunting partner, Sonea (and I) had a blast. She learned to throw lightning bolts as a druid, but I was such a wimp. I would hide Sonea under Sephi’s wings and let him do the heavy lifting. Sure, Sonea threw a lightning bolt or three, but in the early years, her main jobs were polishing her nails and keeping Sephi healed.

    Until the time when ..

    Newly risen to 100 seasons, Soni went with Sephi to dance with the fire walkers, that they might celebrate. First, Sephi brought to Soni two walkers, and then he cried for help and stood still whilst she defeated the two.

    Next he pulled three, then four, and finally she succumbed under the might of five walkers. Being of the gifted, she quickly returned to the field. The pair resumed their dance and in the next moments Sephi proved to me that Sonea Finder was a force to be reckoned with.

    Sephi gathered to him all of the fire walkers. The very ground rumbled with the thunder of their passing. And he brought them to Sonea. And he died at her feet. When Soni first felt the earth tremble, she began the casting of a fearsome magery, the Dark Cyclone. She stood her ground whilst the cyclone blew itself out. Then she healed herself and cast a lightning storm on the foe yet standing.

    Dust settled over the field. For a time, naught moved (while I stilled my racing pulse and caught my breath). And then, Sonea climbed up from the rubble. And she smiled.

    Sonea revived Sephi, and he counted the dead whilst she relieved the walkers of their treasures. When the debris was cleared, Sephi exclaimed that Soni had faced 16 and lived to tell of it!

    I’ve been hooked on killing ‘whatever moves’ ever since. I get such a thrill out of smacking down the foe. And the more of them, the better. And there is always another one to slay. I still find it hard to put my staff away.. and go.. to.. bed.

  30. #38 by Jami Gold on September 24, 2011 - 1:56 am

    No, I haven’t played any games like this, partly because I know my obsessive tendencies. :)

  31. #39 by Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos on September 24, 2011 - 10:22 am

    I guess I shouldn’t complain so much about the time my son spends playing Xbox. It’s good to know he’s maybe getting more out of it than excellent eye hand coordination and the ability to save us from zombies! Great Post!!

  32. #40 by EllieAnn on September 24, 2011 - 7:25 pm

    The first time I played HALO I ran around staring at the sky and screaming. Not sure if it was the character in the game screaming, me screaming anytime I got shot, or my gaming partners screaming in annoyance.
    Awesome post! I love the line about any man who doesn’t share ammo isn’t worth dating or marrying.

  33. #41 by Candice Coghill on September 25, 2011 - 5:05 am

    Love love LOVED this post ! Omigosh !! Quit tempting me !!

    I’m a Gamestress from way back, during the Pleistocene Era — Pacman, Tetris, Mario Brothers, etc. — and my dinosaur bones haven’t yet caught up with video gaming, much to the betterment of my writing and my life, in general, I’m sure ! I must confess to a bit of an addictive personality and admit that I have played on-line games (Bubble Speed !!!!!) for hours until a recent, yet unresolved software conflict brought my gaming to a screeching halt. I whined so much in e-mails to the techies that they offered me a Skype session to try to resolve the conflict ;)

    As to your theories linking gamester personality traits with suitability for dating or marriage, I agree ! My ex used to beat up on pinball machines to such an extent that he should have been named “TILT” and that should’ve been a clue that he had an abusive personality !!

  34. #42 by Les Howard on September 25, 2011 - 10:20 am

    *shows age* My family used to play games like Monopoly, Careers, Clue, Scrabble, Rummoli, Yahtzee and Crokinole on the dining room table. Nobody could beat my dad at Cribbage – or horseshoes.

    As a teenager, I was pretty good at pinball which I learned between games at the local pool hall.

    Then my kids *shows their age* dragged me into the arcade and introduced me to PacMan and his progeny, Frogger, Centipede, Qix and Space Invaders but I was never very good at any of them. I tried Tetris and MahJong on my computer but liked Flight Simulator better. I think my current computer included some games but I don’t even know what they are.

    Today, I’d rather play bridge or poker. Nobody will play Scrabble with me anymore because they don’t like the insane scores I usually rack up. (I’m the guy that always has the Qs, Zs, Xs & Js saved up while manipulating his way towards the triple word scores).

    Sadly, I’ll have to wait a few years for my new grandson to show me how to play Xbox or the next newer and better game. He needs to learn to talk first.

  35. #43 by Ted Henkle on September 25, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    “…dudes dig gamer chicks.”

    Yes, we sure do. For any of you gamer ladies who live in, or will be visiting the Seattle area, Geekgirlcon is less than a week away:

    http://www.geekgirlcon.com/

    I’ve been a gamer since my teen years. Unfortunately, I’m hyper-sensitive to motion sickness. Yes, the screen action of most games, especially in FPS games, can make me ill within seconds. While I have a couple dozen PC & PS-II games, that have been pre-screened by friends, I’m primarily limited to table-top boardgames, miniatures and RPGs.

    I draw nearly all my creative inspiration from gaming.

    Awesome post Kristen! There are so many cool quotes in this post! Thanks.

  36. #44 by Eric A. Maskell on September 26, 2011 - 8:55 am

    I agree. When I first met my wife she wasn’t too into games but slowly she came around. Now we play mostly City of Heroes and usually are a force to be reckoned with.

  37. #45 by neyska on September 26, 2011 - 9:50 am

    I also introduced my husband to gaming. I am mostly a PC gamer, but occassionaly we play games like Halo together. I love gaming and would really love to write a game script (in fact, I have a manuscript I think would translate well into a game with some key changes). Every now and then it is quite liberating to stand on top of a building and snipe bad guys, or good guys even. Cheers to all types of gamers!

  38. #46 by Ash Christians on September 26, 2011 - 11:25 am

    It’s a bit of console jumping, but the Uncharted series for PS3 has also gotten a lot of praise for its story. A lot of people have said it’s more like you’re playing a movie than a game.

  39. #47 by Rachel A. Hanson on September 26, 2011 - 11:39 am

    Thank you for writing about this! I recently started playing Gears with my husband. I was hesitant at first, but after seeing how excited he was about Gears 3 I consented. It’s awesome! I’m already a pretty big fan of Halo & Mass Effect, but Gears of War is quickly becoming one of my favorite games. If only I can beat the first game, haha.

  40. #48 by Elena Aitken on September 26, 2011 - 9:36 pm

    I love this post, Kristen. My hubby and I play Wii together. It’s how we reconnect. I like the ‘cutsey’ games so we play the LEGO series and Rock band of course. I’m a mean drummer. It’s true!

  41. #49 by Jolyse Barnett on September 29, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    We love the Wii, too. Appreciate the humor, and it’s good to know I’m not the only word-nerd who also digs Mario goKart, Harry Potter and Donkey Kong.

  42. #50 by submeg on October 5, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    Yes, all females should play games! Finally, a voice of reason. I point out some awesome benefits that all females will gain from playing my favourite, Call of Duty: http://submeg.com/2012/08/11/why-all-females-should-play-call-of-duty/

  1. K.B. Owen, mystery writer » Blog Archive » A “try-something-new” mashup for Watercooler Wednesday
  2. Your Dragon Ate My Pac-Man! | Debra Kristi

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