Marquette Wire

How video games affect couples

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One hundred fifty five million Americans played video games regularly in 2016, according to a report from Big Fish Games. This means most people — especially college students of this generation — have felt their effects in one way or another. In particular, those in relationships often find their partner’s “gaming” to have a profound role, either for better or for worse, in their shared connection.

Sometimes video gaming means spending less time with a significant other, sophomore in the College of Engineering Paige Myroth said.

“My boyfriend has taken some time away from me to play ‘Fortnite,'” Myroth said.

Myroth’s experience is not unique, as the recently released “Fortnite: Battle Royale” has captivated Xbox One, PS4 and PC gamers alike. The video game recently reported having 3.4 million players online at the same time, setting the new record for most concurrent players. With figures like these, it’s no surprise that Myroth and others have lost their partners for hours at a time to the game.

Jenny Russell, a senior in the College of Business Administration, also said that her boyfriend has played a lot of “Fortnite.” Yet in Russell’s case, she generally has no problem with him playing it.

“It’s a great way for him to destress,” Russell said. “I actually enjoy watching him play video games because it’s just as entertaining for me.” 

Though the pro-video gaming girlfriend doesn’t usually mind her boyfriend’s gaming behaviors, she did admit that his habits have caused friction between the couple.

“The only time we’ve really argued about video games is when he’s playing and says he’s going to be over at a certain time but ends up being late because his games run long, or he starts another one and thinks he has enough time,” Russell said.

 Aside from these scheduling mishaps, Russell does believe that her boyfriend does a good job of prioritizing their relationship in his life. Plus, she added, video gaming has even served to bring her boyfriend closer to her family.

“(My boyfriend) has developed a pretty cool bond and relationship with my brothers,” Russell said. “And family is really important to me.” 

Overall, Russell sees video games as a good thing for her relationship. And while gaming can indeed be a great way to connect with people, at other times gaming serves as a way to isolate oneself from others. 

Edward Duray, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of the Marquette Gaming and Esports Organization, said, “Sometimes you just want to stay in and play games.”

Despite this concession, Duray said that even the most devoted of gamers can’t use their hobby as an excuse for blowing off their significant other. “You still have to make time for those people,” Duray said.

Loved or hated, promoted or warned against, video games have found an unshakeable place in modern society.

Though the virtual hobby is here to stay, it is ultimately up to individuals to decide how much hold gaming will have on their lives and relationships. After all, just because there’s going to be “Fortnite” doesn’t mean it can’t be a good night for a couple.

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