Friday, March 19, 2010

Oldie But Goodie - Anne Forsythe speaks

BDM dredged up this article in his latest on the mothership. I read it. It resounded within me. But in a kind of weird way because my situation is the opposite of hers.

The article is written by Anne Forsythe, wife of Aaron Forsythe, who played professionally and currently works for WotC. It's very intimate - which I appreciated and enjoyed on many levels. And the article touches on her ordeals as she worked through her husband's addiction to the game and how they somehow got through alive.

It moved me, even though I couldn't exactly relate to her position. I'm the one playing Magic in the relationship. I'm the one to blame for the mess of cards in the apartment. And I'm the one that's all, "Uhhh I'm going to play Magic today... and on Saturday... and I'm going out of town for a Magic tournament next weekend." But just to show how backwards it is, I was the one that felt incredibly guilty about doing so. My boyfriend just waved me off and said, "Have fun." Or he would joke and say something like, "Fine. Leave me all alone by myself." Which would actually make me feel worse, but not so much anymore. I don't think he was always so good-natured about my relationship with Magic. But maybe I've found some kind of balance between Magic and Other Things.

My guilt about it, though, stems from the fact that, if my boyfriend were off doing things without me, and I were left to fend for myself most weekends, I would not be happy about it at all. I would probably feel exactly like Anne Forsythe did. And suddenly I understood exactly why Magic could break apart relationships. Although it is still hard for me to put it into words - I think a more common example might be WoW.

World of Warcraft is definitely a game both girls and boys enjoy. And when it hits one member of the relationship but not the other, it can get really tough to live with the WoW player. They just don't want to do anything else! And on top of that, they have all these online friends that you have never met or talked to, but your SO treats them like family! And the raids require specific scheduling to execute, and so your SO's time is no longer his or her time. It belongs to the game.

Magic can be very similar. The tournaments are always scheduled. Generally, they take up weekends (which can be very awkward). The Magic community is like an alternative family. And like Anne Forsythe talked about, some of the members of this family can be very hard to talk to - they talk in jargon. They don't talk like normal people. Often, they DO just ignore the people that don't know anything about the game and aren't willing to accomodate them with regular conversation.

But this isn't true for everyone. When introducing your gf/bf to Magic players, just choose wisely.

Anne gives the advice for SO's to just learn the game. I don't think this is actually necessary, but it could help. My trick is just to keep Magic as far away from my boyfriend as possible. Well, I still can't help the Magical items strewn about the apartment - so many booster packs - and he will often grab my packages of ordered cards from the mailbox. But other than that, I don't play Magic around him. I don't drag him to tournaments. Not that I would be able to. Not that I would want to, even. (What the hell would he do? It's like dragging little kids to a car show. Or worse, jewelry shopping. I remember very painfully my parents doing this to me as a child.) My boyfriend hasn't met any of the people I play Magic with outside of our mutual friends in college. And he's basically never touched a card. He has no interest in the game. I've tried to get him to play, but it's always a "bad time."

And to be fair, he does all kinds of things I can't participate in or don't want to participate in. Like researching finance, learning Japanese, and playing single-player video games like God of War, Ninja Gaiden, or Bioshock or whatever. These kinds of video games make me very dizzy after watching the screen for a while, so this dissuades me from playing them - but then again I don't want to play them anyway.

So we compromise - we go out to see movies, play Halo or Super Mario Bros. Wii, or laze about together.

But now that I think of it, this wouldn't work for every couple. So if you can't keep Magic a separate thing, maybe teaching your SO how to play is really for the best. Because it's true what Anne says, Magic is not just "going away" like those other hobbies. Once you're hooked, you're hooked for life. It's definitely a different animal, even though on the surface it doesn't look like one.

I think this is a fault of many - to blame the person not willing to get into Magic. Calling him or her close-minded, stubborn, or uncaring. This is not a good way to approach the issue at all. Just because someone has no interest in this game you are so invested in is no reason to get indignant. There are tons of reasons not to fall in love with Magic on first sight, and none of them really REQUIRE explanation. I think, in the case of Anne, her not being a "gamer" is a big, big part of it. If someone is not a gamer then I don't really see why he or she would have ANY interest in Magic whatsoever! It is a game, and I think you have to be somewhat of a gamer to like it.

It's such a gamer's game after all.

But with any luck, Magic will take over the world, and you won't have to deal with the issue anymore. Because Magic would be mainstream! Kind of like how Starcraft has taken over South Korea. Yeah... that's gonna happen. ;)