Some of these clips of great comedy about video games are a lot of fun (most of them are barred to the UK), but they often don’t reflect the reality of a household where both of you are gamers. For example, Christian Finnegan talks about arguments, and the tradition of how people tend to keep bringing up past rows over and over and how they’re never really settled.
In our house, both being gamers, we know when an argument has reached a Checkpoint, which keeps things refreshingly linear. We’ve made too much progress to start the whole thing from scratch, so you just have to put up with whatever dialogue choices you’ve made to that point and keep moving forward. Trying to revisit a previous argument is as futile as trying to go back to the previous level, only to find that the door is barred behind you. Tough s***, sucker! You should have picked up the Achievement Points the first time around.
On the minus side, you do have to learn the Doorway Dance. This is when you’re trying to get into a room when someone’s on the console, and you have to sort of hover and work out when the cutscene has kicked in and it’s safe to walk in front of the TV. You also develop a non-verbal language based around nods and head-tilts to communicate “you can run cross the room now”. A breakdown in this etiquette results in the death of the player character, swiftly followed by a blazing row in the non-gaming world.
Dara O Briain points out that gaming is “the largest entertainment industry in the world” that people are too embarrassed to admit they enjoy. Amid his hilarious observations is the quip about playing Grand Theft Auto IV in his underpants on his day off … and being stuck in traffic. Why in the hell would you want to play at being stuck in traffic? (This being one of the many reasons I never finished GTA 4.)
Everybody is a nerd on some level, and given that about four times as many people bought Oblivion – a game about Elves and goblins – as bought the last Kanye West album, so I think we should embrace our geekdom.
On the other hand, gaming does have a unique place in entertainment in that if someone is into sports and you’re not into sports, you don’t give them That Look. You know, the look that says, “I stopped playing ball when I was nine years old – sheesh, what’s wrong with you?” Some people watch soaps and I don’t watch soaps, but I have watched soaps in my life, so I get it, I just don’t partake. These eyebrow-raisers, they’ve played games too, I’m sure. I mean, it must be impossible to have gone your whole entire life and never played a video game. You don’t go up to a chess player and say “board games are for children, silly”, so it seems crazy to take that attitude over someone playing Mass Effect.
Of course, you get it. I get it. Him Indoors gets it. The 11 million subscribers of World of Warcraft get it. These comedy guys get it. Geek is the new normal, and for comedians, that makes it fair game.