NEEDFUL THINGS [Author: Lum the Mad]

Many of you play online games.

Many of you are married or in otherwise somewhat meaningful relationships.

Occasionally the sets merge. And this can cause problems.

Take, for example, this note from a place where you wouldn’t ordinarily expect such… well… “sharing and caring”, the EQ Sullon Zek board. You know, sharing and caring are for carebears, right? Well, no.

It’s not just EQ here. EQ is just the tip of the iceberg. Last night she was scheduled to work late. I admit that I was a little excited to have some time to play for a change. So I logged on… and she came home 5 hours early. That was fine, but I really wasnt ready to log yet. I had notified my friends I would be on, we were actually having a lot of fun together and although she didnt say a word to me… she was mad because I didnt log right off. When we went to bed she didnt say one word to me… when we woke up this morning she didnt hardly look at me. I’m just tired of having to feel this way. So this morning I deleted EQ off my computer and canceled my account.

From other comments in the thread, most peope could relate.

I spoke with her very seriouly 2 weeks ago saying, “listen if the game is on our computers.. I will play it.. there is no controlling it in me at this point (2+ years in). To rid this lets just get rid of it totally and I will just move on” We thought on this alot. I then said.. well hey what happens when Star Wars Online comes out.. or the AD&D MUD? Is this saying I cant play games anymore??

Im married, 2nd child just got here last week (both children born during the time I played EQ). All the conflicts with family caused me to delete EQ from my computers about 2 weeks ago. Im still lurking the boards, and keeping my discs in storage (in case I ever decide to come back) but some things are worth more than others. My play-time was damaging my relationship with my wife and job. Playing a cartoon game isnt worth screwing up your RL. Take a good break, Im going to.

You are lucky to have chicks if I had one I wouldnt touch my computer. You guys need to grow up and quit playing games designed for people MY age.

(OK, so not everyone could relate.)

Closer to home, a friend of ours has been relating for some time now horror stories of a turbulent marraige that she’s trapped in for various reasons. One of her escapes is Everquest.

She hadn’t logged in for a while, which caused some concern. My wife finally talked to her and found out the reason for this — it seems her husband took her Everquest CD into work one day, installed it on his PC, somehow got her password, and methodically deleted almost every character she owned (most of which were 56+).

When confronted with what happened, his response was “Good. Maybe you’ll be normal now.”

I wish I had an answer for her. We offered her couch space, but for whatever reason she’s sticking it out. The guy who posted on the SZ board is staying with his wife. Funny how that goes.

Because, you know, if you go through hellfire and damnnation to stick through a broken marraige, well, that makes you normal now.

From my own perspective, I’m married to a wonderful woman who spends even more time in these virtual constructs than I do. Many folks are as equally lucky. After all, more than a few of them actually met there, “in game”. For these folks, they have at least one thing in common with the people whom they chose to spend their lives with, until death or divorce do they part.

And when there isn’t that shared addiction — if you are playing an online game in spite of your spouse’s disapproval — there are some issues there.

Jealousy — you’re spending more time on “That Game” than him or her.

Betrayal — you’re probably talking to Other People. You probably have more in common with Those Other People. It’s threatening.

Loathing — games are “immature”. If you didn’t spend so much time on “That Game” then you would probably be working harder and making more money and buying her more stuff and spending more time on his needs.

And finally – above everything else – Confusion. What is this thing that you stare at, that takes more of you than I can?

What it all comes down to — for many, these games are escapist art. If you are attracted to escapist art, there is something you need escaping from.

And s/he knows this all too well.