Susan and Charles literally never would have met were it not for Dragon Quest VIII. Check out how gaming started and continues to fuel and change their relationship… And how they work through the omnipresent gamer-couple question:
“Who gets the TV tonight?”
How long have you been playing video games?
Susan: Since I was about 3 or 4 years old. The first time I remember playing a video game was when my brothers and sister got our NES from a friend, and I saw all of them taking turns playing Dragon Warrior I. It looked fun and my sister let me share her save slot, though I probably had no idea what I was doing.
Charles: Ever since I can remember – probably around 23 or 24 years.
Did games play a part in how you met?
Charles: Yes, around 2006 we met in a chat room in “Slime Knights,” Square-Enix’s now-defunct promotional fan community website for Dragon Quest VIII and later other games in the series. We lived 200 miles apart.
Susan: Definitely. It’s kind of a long story, but if it wasn’t for video games or the internet, we never would have met. Funny enough, we met on a forum for Dragon Quest VIII in 2007. The forum shut down a few years ago, but it was called slimeknights. I had just beaten the game and went online to see if anyone had analyzed the story or was just talking about other things like character development (I do this kind of thing a lot, haha), and I stumbled upon the site. It was a site that you earned “mini medals” to trade-in for DQ items. I thought it looked fun, so I joined. The site had a chatroom and I was bored one day and popped in. Eventually I ended up entering it almost every day. I got along with four of the guys in there really well, and a month later we ended up making our own chatroom on Skype because the slimeknights chat became overcrowded with annoying people that we didn’t like. Fast forward to 2010, and all five of us were still talking daily to each other in the Skype chatroom. My best friend from elementary school was graduating from college in San Francisco, and I was going to go visit her for a week as well as see the city for the first time. I mentioned it to the guys and they joked about wanting to go too, and from there we all decided that it really wasn’t all that far-fetched of an idea for the five of us to fly to San Francisco for a vacation and finally all meet each other in person. The trip was fantastic, we all had fun, but I felt like I had some really good chemistry with one of the guys and I developed feelings for him (it was Charles). While waiting in the airport to fly home, I wrote up a huge honest LiveJournal entry about what I was feeling and all that, and he happened to see the entry. He messaged me privately on Skype the next day. We confessed that we both liked one another and realized that it was possible that we could make a relationship work, since we only lived 4 hours away from each other at the time. Neither wanted to risk our friendship, but the cards were already all laid out on the table at this point, so we figured, “Why not give it a shot?” We’ve been a couple since that very day, May 31st, 2010 and plan to stay together for a very long time.
Do games play a role in your relationship now?
Susan: Absolutely! We both play video games every night and we’re both interested in what one another is playing.
Charles: Yes, we enjoy playing modern cooperative games – we’ve had a great time playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii. together, for instance – but we also introduce each other to our favorite classic games. She’s introduced me to some great JRPG staples like Tales and Grandia, as well as the first 3D Metroid and the Zelda games. Likewise, I had a wonderful time watching her play through Chrono Trigger (and Cross), Final Fantasy VII, and literally every “Metroidvania” Castlevania game.
What’s your favorite game to play solo?
Susan: I’m a huge fan of JRPGS and 1st party Nintendo games, so I spend a lot of my free time playing old SNES/PS2 games, Final Fantasy games, Zelda games, etc. It’s hard to pick a specific favorite game, but I guess it would be the Tales of series.
Charles: I enjoy challenging games with well-designed gameplay, so lately it is Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. I might have gotten the most enjoyment out of Ninja Gaiden: Black. I am tempted to list 20 other games. Do you ever get a single straight answer to this question?
What’s your favorite game to play together?
Susan: I have a blast playing dungeon crawlers with him. Some of my favorite video game memories with him are from when we played Champions of Norrath together, and recently we’ve been playing Diablo III together too. We pretty much will play anything that’s two-playered together.
Charles: Probably Rock Band, although we had a blast playing through Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath a few years ago. We’ve also spent at least a couple dozen hours together designing a house in The Sims 3.
What is the best thing about gaming together?
Susan: Probably the fact that I always have someone who I can feel comfortable with chatting about video games and is interested in them too.
Charles: The fact that I have someone who won’t roll her eyes when I want to play a game, but instead will want to watch or join me or kick me off to play something herself, is something I try not to take for granted. We’re usually a pretty private and lazy couple, so games give us something fun to do together in our free time without having to interact with other people or put on pants.
What is the worst thing about gaming together?
Susan: Having to share the TV! If we had a bigger place I guess there wouldn’t be any issue though, haha.
Charles: Although we both consider games an important interest and hobby, we actually have very different taste in games and ways of playing them, and it can be frustrating sometimes. We can play through the same game separately, thoroughly enjoy it, and scratch our heads at the other person’s experience.
Me: “How can this be your favorite game when you haven’t even begun to understand the combat system!”
Her: “How can you walk past half the NPCs without talking to them!”
Any funny stories about being a couple of gamers?
Charles: Before we were dating, the reason we knew the other was so nerdy and impenetrable to non-gaming acquaintances was we joked that any explanation would have to start out at square one: “Okay… you know Final Fantasy, right?”
Susan: At an apartment complex once, the guy showing us around was really “jokey” and thought we had met on OkCupid or something because when he asked that question we had just said we met “online.” He must have been terrible at reading people, because he kept trying to guess what dating website, and the more he asked, the more awkward and annoying it got.
How does gaming make your relationship better?
Susan: It always gives us something to do together. Even if only one of us is playing a game, we like to both be playing games in the same room so it’s like we’re still spending time together. Plus, who can resist the opportunity to snuggle on the couch while one person is using the DS and the other is playing on the PS3!?
Charles: Aside from the fact that it’s a great way to have fun together, it’s also good way to learn and cater to each others interests. I’ve made her chain chomp earrings as a Christmas gift, and we buy each other games. We’ve also done some other gaming-themed crafting together, such as Starman and Pac-Man cookies and a Castlevania-inspired picture frame. There is talk of attending a video game music concert together.
The Lesson of this Love Story
Being a geek couple can mean living happily ever after with some pretty sweet perks: awesome present insights, endless convos about game play, and just sharing plenty of quality couch time together.
Just be prepared with a separate version of your ‘how we met’ story for folks who don’t understand that something called Final Fantasy has sequels.
Many thanks to Susan and Charles for sharing their story with us!