The dating site eHarmony claims to match prospective couples based on 29 dimensions of compatibility, not one of them being video game skill level.
This is an enormous mistake.
With games spreading into every niche these days, even couples that found Pac-Man "too technical" might find themselves picking up a Wii, popping in a goofy innocent-looking game they can play together, like Super Mario Bros. Wii, and transforming into another divorce statistic within the evening. I am oversimplifying, of course. There are some rare exceptions that end in murder-suicide instead.
If you care about your relationship, do not play...
5Super Mario Bros. Wii
If you haven't played this game, you're probably wondering how a cute little platformer with cartoony plumbers, mushrooms, and turtles could set a happily married couple at each other's throats. I was too, so I rented it. Bad idea.
It turns out the game designers spent a lot of time studying all the common wounds lurking beneath the surface of a relationship and came up with a game element to reopen each of them. Here's just a few.
Nobody's good at communication in a relationship, which is why marriage counselors can just safely tell you to practice communicating better while they read a newspaper and pocket your $200.
"What? No, go on, I'm listening."
This game puts that hollow advice to the test, asking you and your partner to keep both of your characters on the screen at the same time. If one character advances upwards, and the other isn't ready, the bottom of the screen will rush up and suck the character you failed to communicate with into a bottomless void of death.
It's easy to ignore the other person not cleaning the bathroom when it's their turn, but you can't ignore your Luigi falling to his death off the edge of the universe while your partner bounces obliviously higher. The only silver lining presents another potential pitfall for your relationship, as you get to return from the afterlife in a floating bubble that follows your significant other around like a haunting reminder of his guilt in your demise.
"Youuuuuu killed usssss, Mario...."
B. Personal space
Even obnoxiously clingy couples will go insane if glued to each other 24/7, so everyone needs their own personal time and space, whether it's a woman's Sunday football-watching time or a man's scented candle and bubble bath time.
Guys and their "man time", am I right?
Many couples don't explicitly set aside these boundaries, they just fall into the habits over time, without realizing why.
That's why they'll forget to tell each other when one of them is trying to perform a delicate maneuver on a tiny platform, while the other, less skilled person leaps up to the platform in blissful ignorance and knocks their partner into the abyss. Falling into old habits, the woman will teach him to stay off the fucking platform the same way she taught him to respect her football time -- by yelling at him. Of course, that never works because he gets all hang dog and wounded.
"Oh my God, moooove..."
I mentioned earlier that when you die in this game, you return in a floating bubble -- it hangs serenely above lava, obstacles and jumping puzzles until your partner pops it. But that floating reincarnation bubble can actually be activated at any time, not just after death, effectively excusing you from the obstacle course. That means I, being the shittiest of gamers, can hit the "A" button and float invincibly around the level while I yell at my boyfriend Mike to hurry up and get past this damn jumping puzzle. As long as one player reaches the goal, both of you get to advance.
He can also literally carry me through.
Suddenly he is having flashbacks to those times when I yell to inform him that the dog threw up and he arrives with a paper towel to find me happily watching TV with my back to the mess. We have done a really great job of denial about these incidents and the last thing I wanted to do was remind him.
Although this wouldn't be a problem if we could train our dog to do this.
But the thing is, he also can activate the "count me out" bubble. If both players go into bubble mode, the game goes, "Hey, no," and you both die, just like we would both die of toxoplasmosis from the cat litter flooding the house if we both tried to "bubble" ourselves from that responsibility for too long.