Fear not, Xbox widows (and widowers) everywhere! There is now proof that your next video game experience could not onlybe fun, but could also save your relationship. Rachel Shukert’s hilarious new article on Salon.com (it’s Premium, so you’ll need a subscription or day pass; of course, I’ll summarize here too) tells the story of a frustrated wife and her video game-addicted husband in a marriage. He spends his time shooting things in a video fantasy world; she fears the man she married has become one of the very aliens he’s always trying to blow up. (”…[N]oise-canceling headphones,” Shukert writes. “You could lock Rush Limbaugh, Phyllis Schlafly and Mullah Omar in a room together with a stack of Hustlers and 10 ounces of meth, and they couldn’t come up with anything more misogynist.”)
The solution? Some old-school advice — “find a hobby you can enjoy together!” — applied to modern technology. In other words: they learn to party like rock stars.
Virtual rock stars, that is. “Like Guitar Hero for people with social skills, Rock Band is a game in which you pretend you can play instruments: a plastic guitar with color-coded buttons, a microphone and a set of “drums” consisting of four round motion-sensitive pads,” Shukert writes. “A motley collection of preselected, pre-licensed songs from a variety of artists — Weezer, Deep Purple, Metallica, Radiohead — have been translated into a series of blinking colored bars that appear on the screen and serve as notes. Hit them, and you are rewarded with stars, fans and new, more challenging songs; meanwhile, sloppy, incompetent playing earns surprisingly real (and traumatizing) jeers of contempt from the tattooed, pierced and computer-generated audience.”
All of a sudden, the headphones are off; it’s as if they’ve renewed their vows. “Our fake band, Sex Baby, embarks on a fake world tour on our fake jet, playing fake stadiums in all the fake capitals of Europe. Our fake selves grace the covers of fake magazines, and our fake fans number in the millions,” she writes. “When our fake manager calls to tell us we’ve been invited to play the fake Hall of Fame showcase in fake Stockholm, my real husband turns toward me, and smiles.
Nicely played! If music be the food of love, party on!