Playing Together

Anniken and I, we’re the odd couple. We met through work, which is isn’t that uncommon. I was the skinny office geek, she was the office hottie. We were working in a tech company, and as with the majority of tech companies, most of the employees were guys. To say that she got a lot of attention would be an understatement. To make a long story short, she ended up dating me, which surely came as a surprise to most of our fellow co-workers when that cat was let out of the bag. I consider it my personal “Revenge of the Nerds"-moment. Now we’re living in a family house outside of Oslo, we have a station wagon and a 9 months old daughter who just decided it’s about time to wake up from her morning nap. BRB, AFK, etc.

Anyway. I’m far from a relationship expert, but spending quality time together is important, perhaps even more so after Vilde was born. How you define “quality time”, however, is subjective as it usually involves doing something you enjoy. Because I’ve still not grown too old to play video games, I’m trying to get Anniken hooked as well to make it something we can do together. I’ve got no illusions that she’ll ever join me in a game of CS:GO or just one more turn of Civilization, but these days there are a lot more to video game genres than just first person shooters and turn based strategy games.

First we picked up The Wolf Among Us during a Humble Store sale. The Wolf Among Us is an episodic interactive drama graphic adventure video game based on Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series. The game is quick to get into and can be described as an interactive movie, or create-your-own-adventure, if you will. There is a lot of dialogue and you chose one of four options dialogue options to progress through it. There are also a few scenes requiring the player to respond to a series of quick time events, but there’s nothing too complex. The Wolf Among Us is, in other words, a game that has great potential to be something we could play together: And we had a few nights of good fun, trying to find out who was running around decapitating fables. We even talked about doing another play-through, playing as The Dickhead Wolf by always choosing the most violent option. But that never happened. The Wolf Among Us is a good game, but it’s not a game that keeps it strength through multiple play-throughs.

Next up, we gave Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons a go. It’s a story-driven puzzle-platformer adventure about two brothers and their quest through a beautiful fantasy world too collect water from the Tree Of Life to save their father. Brothers is a curious tale, directed by film director Josef Fares. It’s a great game, although the controls can be a bit fiddly until you get the hang of it. Unfortunately, Brothers didn’t quite cut it as a two player experience in the same way as A Wolf Among Us did. There is some simple puzzle solving, but there is also quite a lot of running around, which isn’t very engaging for the player without the controller. After a little over an hour we decided to call it quits and we haven’t played it since.

But playing a game doesn’t necessarily mean playing a computer game: There are a lot of intriguing boards games available as well. My board game experience is very limited, and I stopped playing board games when I was a kid. I’m guessing it was about the time my father brought home the Commodore 64. After that, I mostly wrote off board games as old fashioned entertainment. But they are not dead, far from it. Right now we’re in the middle of a board game renaissance - old games are being reincarnated and we’re seeing a lot of new and interesting games from up-and-coming-designers. Because of this, we decided to take a stab at a board game.

After very little research, we bought Ticket to Ride. It was supposedly good fun for 2 players, had a short setup time and a game wouldn’t go on for hours and hours. The rules were easy to learn and we’ve played a couple of rounds, but none of us are terribly excited about the game yet. It might be that we have to play a bit more, or it might be that we need to find more players to increase the entertainment value.

So, in short, we haven’t really found any games we both enjoy yet - except for The Wolf Among Us, which we finished. I’m thinking we need to perhaps dive into adventure games, which curiously enough also have somewhat of a renaissance now, much thanks to Telltale Games, Double Fine Productions and Kickstarter. If you, dear reader, have any suggestions for games - both computer games and board games - that are great for two players (or even four or six in the odd event that we’re having people over), please let me know. And I already know about Ubisoft’s crazy We Dare, so there’s really no need to suggest that. How crazy is We Dare? Have a look at the trailer. I have no idea what Ubisoft were thinking.


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