When I read the other day that the Playstation 2 was being taken off the market after a decade-plus long run I had mixed emotions. I had a horribly, unbelievably long relationship with a PS2 fanatic and upon hearing the news, a flood of old memories came rushing back to me. I spent many years hating my significant other and blaming it on the fact that his preferred companion was his PS2. He loved that damn Playstation, much much more than he ever loved me.
The funny part of this tale is that I was the one who bought it for him. And if I knew then what I know now, I would do it all over again.
For my boyfriend's (at the time) 22nd birthday, he gave me an ultimatum - buy me a Playstation 2 or else. "Or else" referred to something that I'd rather not discuss at this time, but you can strain that dirty part of your brain and fill in the blank. A Playstation 2 it was! Despite the fact that we lived in a one room, not one bedroom, studio apartment and I paid all of our bills, my decision was very clear.
Within days, the Playstation 2 dominated our tiny one room and I often banished myself to the loft bed to read (it was the only other area in our room/apartment). Given the fact that this guy was jobless, you would think that he wouldn't be spending money on games for his new shiny fun, but he did and often.
The first game he became obsessed with was Madden NFL 2001. To start, I am not a football fan, so let's understand that I already hate this game based purely on its directive. Additionally, there is a "soundtrack" to this game that, at the time, included such winning bands as System of a Down and other new-metal crap. These same few songs played ad nauseam, every time someone scratched their cup, it seemed, and I went from despising these songs to singing them throughout the day to punching my own brain in an attempt to get them to leave me alone.
The next horrific thing about this game is how often John Madden talks throughout; it's endless. The guy comments on any and everything that goes on. And have you ever heard John Madden speaking? He sounds like he's talking from inside a Boston Cream doughnut and the cream is being inhaled into his lungs with each "Touchdown!" It's frightening.
The obsession my ex had for this game hit absurd levels. He was a Buffalo Bills fan and I think there was some inherent need to make this team win something, anything, so he played and played and played until the Bills were the greatest team in the league... of a made up videogame world. One or two Superbowls weren't enough and at some point I recall him taking the Bills to the championships in the year 2025, where oddly enough they were not wearing space uniforms.
His sports obsession didn't stop there. Cabela's Big Game Hunter was also often played. Big Game Hunter is exactly what you think it is; it's a game where you walk around shooting at animals. Look, I am not a big fan of hunting. I think it's somewhat cruel and mean to animals that don't have the ability to defend themselves. They have horns; you have a rifle. But if that's what you enjoy doing then who am I to stand in your way, freedom and all that. However, I don't want to see deer and elk being slaughtered while I'm trying to eat dinner. It's gross. And in video life, you are much more likely to kill these animals because you don't have to use weird bird calls or moose pee to attract them. They just show up and then you shoot them in their faces and blood spills out. It's disgusting.
There are certain video games that guys like to say to their significant others, "We can play this together!" as if this is some sort of romantic gesture and in any way the reason that they purchased the game. The game I first heard my boyfriend say this about was Grand Theft Auto III. Firstly, this is not like Sonic the Hedgehog II where one of you can be Sonic and one Tails and your main goal is to collect coins and run fast. GTA is not a trivia game that you can gather together over a few beers and some chips. This game is not even a game where you can switch off players like Mario Brothers. Grand Theft Auto III is game for one person to play and his bored friends to sit around and watch.
In playing the role, often, of bored friend, I was supposed to not care that half the time my boyfriend was finding hookers, having sex with them and then killing them and taking their money. This was a game for the both of us to share together!
The list goes on and on of PS2 games that potentially broke up our relationship. Many an evening I stormed out as he continued to try and skate a quarterpipe in Tony Hawk Pro Skater III, AFI blaring through the speakers. But in the end it wasn't the PS2 that broke us up at all, it was him cheating on me with a real other girl! When we finally called it quits, I debated keeping the thing just to be a dick (Hey, I bought it), but ultimately decided his new girlfriend should have to put up with the same crap I did.
In retrospect, I went about the videogame thing all-wrong. Why did I care that he wasted his time playing video games all day? I mean, aside from the fact that he didn't have a job. When your significant other plays video games it's a good chunk of time that he isn't bothering you. He isn't asking you where his keys are, he isn't pretending to fold clothing and he isn't looking for an affirmation of what a great guy he is, he gets virtual trophies for that. And you have more time to go get your nails done or whatever.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.