Ten years ago, with the rise of the internet and gaming online, a meme narrative appeared: gamers, usually depicted as male, spending all day on their consoles and systems to the displeasure of their significant others.
Now, a new meme narrative has been circulating: two people, very much in love, side by side, laughing and playing video games together, a controller in each of their hands.
In a survey conducted in 2019 by GamesHedge, one in three people between the 18 and 24 say video gaming has helped their relationships. Other studies about video games and relationships have opposing finds, but no abstract in studies can compare to the anecdotes of people you ask online.
I asked friends on Facebook if they played video games with their significant others in some way, shape, form and picked the best responses.
While all people with romantic gaming partners verbalized having different video game preferences personally, a majority of couples loved playing co-op or multiplayer games together.
We have one of each system and two TVs in our living room. Mostly play...Halo and co-op games like Overcooked. She plays RPGs and sandbox games... I play everything, mostly most passionate about story-driven games and sports or simulation games. --Robert G.
Collaborating with character classes and being in teams was something romantic gamers liked to do as well.
We play Overwatch and WoW together and we're usually a tank/healer or tank/support combo. --Kathryn F.
Some couples even loved taking turns during single-player games.
We play single player games. She does all the moving around, figuring out maps and solving any puzzles. Then, she hands me the controller when it's time to fight people/things. --Bart C.
Couples also played games together by helping one another either by crafting or receiving items.
In RuneScape, I'll hold items during raids and assist by gathering food or fighting. --Kelsey P.
Are you having difficulty with something in a video game? Fear not. Ask your partner to look it up for you!
I don't like playing games with other people. Sometimes I watch him play and will look things up if he's stuck and he'll do the same for me. --Bethany A.
"Separate but together" video gaming was also common among the responding couples, which I describe as playing different video games at the same time in the same room together.
We play together every night but different games. I play Animal Crossing and he’ll play Fallout typically. But sometimes we’ll play a game like Mario or Pikmin together. --Amanda R.
We play a variety of games together... Minecraft, Monster Hunter World, Ark, Left for Dead, MarioKart and Pokemon. Our games are set up in the front room so sometimes we are playing together but on different games. It's a nice way to spend time together! --Ariel A.
The Covid-19 pandemic has lead to a rise in spending from established gamers and a new hobby for others. Some may have been introduced to gaming by their partners.
I got my partner into gaming. We don’t play together but she was interested in having something to do while I was gaming so we got her a Nintendo Switch and she likes a few of the games on that. --Cody M.
Esports has led to a rise in spectating for sports, as has streaming, which allows you to watch someone else play a video game in real-time. Though a game may not be of their playing preference, some still enjoyed watching their partner play. A partner could have no interest in playing video games but still enjoy watching.
"We both didn't play any games the first like 5 years we were together... She likes to watch me play games like GTA, Red Dead, Mortal Kombat... To the point that she will ask for me to play them so she can watch. Especially Red Dead. Other than that, we just play Pokemon Go together" --Johnny D.
While studies and numbers are helpful for research purposes, it's evident that video games seem to be one of those things in a relationship where it's truly dependent on the factor of love.