[Rerun] Non-Gamers Just Don't Get Gamers

This one, written in 2004, was lost with a prior iteration of Popehat; I was inspired to dig it up from another site when I noticed someone following a now-dead link from Kotaku to find it. It concerns "Saga of Ryzom," a MMORPG (that is, for non-gamers, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing game, like World of Warcraft) that went off-line for good early this year. Here it is, after the jump:

See, my wife just doesn't understand me.

No, I'm not trying to pick you up. I'm trying to explain why I don't like to play most games in front of her.

Games require suspension of disbelief. They require acceptance of the bizarre, the illogical, even the embarrassing.

My wife can strip all that away with one raised eyebrow and one innocent-sounding question. I go from happy gamer to self-conscious adult. I think this is some sort of revenge or something.

Case in point – a while ago I was playing this new MMORPG "Saga of Ryzom" that I have blogged about. I have a fairly young character and am doing young character things – worse, MMORPG things. Things that you can't really explain to a non-gamer without realizing that you sound like my three-year-old explaining why the toy dinosaurs are attacking the Thomas the Tank Engine train track (Answer: "Because they eat trees an the trains are made of trees an . . . an . . . an this train carries trees, and Thomas says 'no no don't eat me!'")

So I'm trying to get some magic and fighting experience and killing things on the outskirts of the newbie village. I'm fighting Yubos, which resemble irritated furry zebra-striped pigs.

Katrina: What are you doing?
Me: Playing my game.
Katrina: I can see that. What's that you are killing?
Me: Uh, Yubos.
Katrina: Yugos?
Me: YuBOS.
Katrina: They look like pigs! Why are you killing pigs?
Me: I'm building experience to become more powerful.
Katrina: By killing pigs?
Katrina: Whatever. Is that your house?
Me: No, that's the starting village.
Katrina: Are the pigs attacking the village?
Me: Ah, no. Not really. They just hang out near the village.
Katrina: What happens when you kill all the pigs?
Me: They keep respawning. They never go completely away.
Katrina: They have babies?
Me: No. No, they just, um, more just appear.
Katrina: Pigs appear out of thin air?
Me: YUBOS. Yes, basically.
Katrina: Hmmm.

A silence for a while.

Katrina: So, are you a wizard or something?
Me: Well, my guy has magic and fighting skills.
Katrina: Like that guy Gandalf?
Me: Uh, sure.
Katrina: Is that a spell you are casting?
Me: Yes, an acid spell.
Katrina: How come you have to cast it so many times to kill that pig.
Me: Well, I'm pretty inexperienced.
Katrina: But it's a PIG. You're supposed to be a wizard. What kind of wizard can't easily kill a pig?
Me: Um . . .
Katrina: Is it a particularly POWERFUL pig?
Me: Sigh.

Later, I'm fighting hand to hand and trying to get my magic skill up by self-healing. Because the pigs don't hit too hard, thus lowering the chance of getting wounded and thus of getting experience for healing myself, I've removed my armor.

Katrina: Why are you NAKED?
Me: Uh, he's not really naked.
Katrina: No, he's got that cute little thong. Did you pick out that thong for him?
Me: No. It's standard.
Katrina: So you can't make him completely naked?
Me: NO.
Katrina: But why are you hitting pigs naked? Won't they bite you?
Me: To make it easier to get wounded so I can heal myself and get experience.
Katrina: You WANT to get wounded?
Me: Well, yes.
Katrina: Can't you just ask somebody to hit you?
Me: NO.

Later, I'm trying to harvest resources.

Katrina: What are you doing?
Me: I'm searching for resources.
Katrina: What do you use resources for?
Me: To craft stuff.
Katrina: Crafts? Like arts and crafts?
Me: Uh, well, I can make armor and weapons and stuff.
Katrina: What can you make.
Me: Um . . . right now? Only boots.
Katrina: You can only make boots?
Me: Yup.
Katrina: Hey! Look! It worked! You found something! What is it?
Me: Uh – it's bark.
Katrina: Bark?
Me: Yes.
Katrina: Why are you digging bark out of the ground with a pickaxe?
Me: Well, that's just how its done.
Katrina: Have you found anything else?
Me: Uh, shells.
Katrina: Shells?
Me: Yes.
Katrina: This game is about collecting seashells?
Me: That's just a little part of it.
Katrina: Do you make boots out of these shells?
Me: No. I haven't found anything I can make boots out of yet.
Katrina: Oh. [Long silence]
Me: I'm going to go lie down now.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Williamw says

    I remember playing X-com and saying to my wife, never seen that kind of alien before, she goes "Maybe it wants to be your friend" Huh?? And if she asks me one more time if I've won Wow yet I may lose it.

  2. Shkspr says

    On the other hand, it is just as annoying when your wife is prepping a raid in Kara and tells you, "We've got enough DPS. But the backyard probably needs to be cleared of dog poop."

  3. Armando says

    hehehe. I think this post very well examplefies the difference between the sexes when it comes to the hobby of gaming. I'm a single guy, and I just keep quiet about my hobby when I date. I just can't tell a girl, 'I just conquered a the whole galaxy last night on SoaSE and I'm going to conquer your thighs tonight'.

  4. says

    I don't think it's the difference between the sexes. I think it's analytical non-gamers attempting to understand.

    I may have found the world's worst game to attempt to explain to a non-gamer. My wife watched me playing Persona 3: FES for a while. After asking the very obvious questions ("Are they shooting themselves in the head?" "Why are you in school?", etc). I had to resort to "It's a strange Japanese thing".