I don’t play a ton of shooters, but after getting super obsessed with Apex Legends, I wanted to try Titanfall 2. I also wanted my boyfriend to try Titanfall 2, but I’d always rather play with someone sitting on the couch than online. Me and my boyfriend live about 10 minutes from each other—it would just feel silly to me. Since I had already convinced him to grab the game while it was on sale, this weekend I asked if he wanted to boot it up, just to check it out. We ended up having a wonderful time, and through the insight I gained just from passing the controller, I got farther than I had on my own.
Since I grew up with an older brother, passing a controller back and forth for single-player games has always felt pretty natural to me. Whenever my brother got frustrated or needed to rest his hands, he passed the controller to me. I didn’t often play well, but sometimes by getting a fresh set of eyes (and hands) on things, we could figure out a tough puzzle that eluded him. It was also a great way to learn how to play things. Nothing better than a more experienced player guiding you without judgement.
I had my moments of being a backseat gamer while my boyfriend and I played Titanfall 2—at one point I turned to him while he was futilely trying to climb up a tree and said, “Honey, you gotta do the objective.” At the end of the day, though, having someone to hand the controller to when I couldn’t figure out who the hell kept shooting me was not only a relief; it lead to both of us playing better.
When I played the game on my own, I had kept getting stuck in the same bottlenecks over and over, trying to defeat all the enemies instead of running past them. Playing with my boyfriend, he realized that you didn’t have to kill everyone as long as you kept moving. I’m a pretty stubborn person, so not shooting everyone to death had been anathema to me. I’m not sure I would ever have moved on if it weren’t for my boyfriend graciously taking the controller from me when I got frustrated.
I was glad I was able to help him, too. Titanfall 2’s movement is all about speed and fluidity. My boyfriend doesn’t play as many games as I do, just by virtue of not writing about them for a living, so at times wrapping his head around how to get through environments was challenging for him. Being able to show him how to traverse tricky platforming sections where you were expected to wall run and double jump without much leeway made me feel like I was sharing part of my life with him that I don’t often get to share with anyone.
Playing games for a living can be really isolating. Just finding time to share with someone I love can be hard, especially if I have the weight of an unfinished game hanging over my head. I’m glad I found a way to bring my boyfriend closer to a huge part of my life. I’m also glad that this new avenue for togetherness involved giant robots.