My wife is not a gamer, and the fact that I am has caused some friction in our relationship from time to time. I can sit for many hours at my desk playing or writing about video games, activities that neither involve nor interest her. It can be the “sports widow” syndrome at times, though my games don’t have seasons.
We have adapted somewhat over the years. I don’t spend as much time on video games as I did in past years and I hope I am a bit less oblivious. And she shows a peripheral interest in what I and my daughter are playing, though I am not sure my daughter and I being the “gaming club” in our house and talking about them a lot was a big help there. My wife went to EVE Vegas with me, though she was more about the parties and socializing. Internet spaceships themselves aren’t of interest.
My wife isn’t totally disinterested in video games. But her interests are far more casual. She plays Windows Solitaire and I keep a Solitaire and a Video Poker app on my iPad which she plays some times.
And then came Pokemon GO.
Back in early July, when the game showed up, she downloaded it to her iPhone so I could play it. And I did create an account and got things rolling, and even picked Team Instinct for the account, mostly because it seemed to be the downtrodden group.
But the app was on my wife’s phone, and she uses her phone a lot. She is on her third iPhone and it is clearly part of her life and/or lifestyle. So the idea that I would be spending a lot of time playing Pokemon GO on her iPhone was probably a non-starter.
So she began to play for me.
At first it was rolling by the local Pokestops. Then catching the occasional Pokemon. And soon I was getting texts with screen shots of new catches or of the account leveling up.
At the same time our daughter was also playing, but she wasn’t as into it after a couple of weeks. So while she was out in front in levels, her motion forward had slackened dramatically… at which point my wife’s competitive nature kicked in.
There is a reason we no longer play Scrabble after Thanksgiving dinner, and it has something to do with my wife’s family having very faint understandings of the concepts of being a “good winner” or a “good loser.”
My mother-in-law would sit at the table and trash talk, brag about every play, demand constant audits of the score, abuse the rules with half-assed challenges like “use it in a sentence,” and whine about how this wasn’t fair because she was born in Germany, to the point that I stopped playing to win and started playing to ensure she would lose. If she was downstream of me I would leave her no good scoring opportunities, and if she wasn’t I would feed whoever was a series of double and triple word scores.
I may have lost more often that I should of, but she never, ever won, and so we were all spared the stream of trash talk that would have come from such an event.
(I am exaggerating a bit on that story, but not by as much as I wish I was.)
Anyway, since my wife will read this, let me say that this sort of competitive behavior was perhaps passed on to her to some slight degree, which drove her to catch up to, and then pass my daughter in Pokemon GO levels… and not quietly, to my daughter’s annoyance.
So the Pokemon GO champion of our house is my wife.
And then I went and got an iPhone last week and she wanted to know pretty quickly if I had installed the game yet. I hesitated for a couple of days, but eventually installed it… and then made a new account.
My first account is now her account. She did all the work on it. So she changed up the avatar to be her rather than me and is still pondering names for the one-time name change option Niantic has given players.
On my account, I hit level 5… largely thanks to the fact that my desk at work is within range of a Pokestop, so a few times a day I look in on it… and went with Team Mystic. So now my daughter is Team Valor, my wife Team Instinct, and I am Team Mystic. We now cover all the teams.
Now to see how the game will develop. Right now “catching them all” is a sufficient goal for both my wife and I, but the game lacks so many of the features of the core Pokemon RPGs that I hope more is planned for it going forward beyond simply adding new Pokemon now and again.