Tips for gamers: Every so often, stop playing BEFORE your partner asks you to stop

A number of gamers I know have a crazy way of determining how long they can keep playing on any given session. It’s the “I know it’s time to stop playing once my partner starts screaming” method. The rules of this method are simple – if they haven’t yet started foaming at the mouth, you still have time for another game or two. Clever.

Quick – stop playing before your girlfriend explodes!

(Image Source: Super Mario Wiki)

I guess I can almost see the appeal, it’s pretty much a mini game itself, right? It’s like carrying a bob-omb when playing Super Mario – run with it as long as you can. There’s great rewards if you can pull it off, but get greedy and keep at it for too long and KABOOOOM! You know you should’ve thrown it away while you had the chance, but the fun and adrenaline got the better of you and now it’s too late. Hope it was worth it.

While this may “work” most of the time, I recommend that you, at least every now and then, stop playing before you reach that point of near explosion. It’s likely that your partner will be pleasantly surprised and appreciative!

I have created a few simple graphs to help illustrate this for you…

In Figure 1, below, I have graphed the relationship between my partner’s time spent gaming and the crankiness of me, the girlfriend. Please observe that crankiness increases exponentially as gaming time increases.

Figure 1: Relationship between Crankiness of Girlfriend and Time Spent Gaming

On this next chart, I have indicated where many gamers feel they should stop playing and also where I recommend they should stop gaming. The trick is to stop before they expect you to, rather than when they force you to… hazzah. This graph not only illustrates the resultant levels of girlfriend crankiness for both these scenarios, but also shows the differing rates of return to initial level of happiness. The rate of return is much greater the shorter the time spent gaming, i.e. the earlier you wrap up your games, the quicker you can be back in the good books!

Figure 2: Rate of return to initial state of happiness for different points of stoppage

Please also note that when graphed, this important relationship resembles a happy smiley sun, (see Figure 3, below). That is no coincidence. Heed my advice and there will be plenty of sunshine and happiness and rainbows and puppies and yay.

Figure 3: Sunny graph

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Hi, I'm Vicki and my partner is a gamer. I help bridge the divide between gamers and non-gamers. If you'd like to get in touch, you can reach me at

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • So much of what you put in here seems as though it should factor into common sense. Always good reading, however. And I’m glad you’re around to say it. It’s curbed a few of my potential tantrums. :)

    I would especially like to slap the Tips or Gamers into a certain someone’s face every now and again! ^_~

    • I think the fact that it all seems so common sense is precisely the reason why this misunderstanding occurs. It’s some good ol’ Hindsight Bias at play – of course shutting down your computer before she starts yelling seems obvious, once she’s already started yelling… haha
      Well, I feel that by writing it down, neither gamers nor partners of gamers will have any excuses for any irrational behaviour :)

      Glad you’re enjoying my posts and I’m happy to hear they’ve helped! Thanks for reading <3

  • Great site! My wife is gonna love it. :) I’m gonna go tell her about it now!

    Oh wait, she’s in bed asleep and I stayed up playing games. :-/

  • Loved this post – and while it *should* come as common sense, I will admit that I too, have been guilty of waiting to see what the reaction eventually is, though generally I am -pretty- good about stopping before the Bom-Omb detonates (amazingly funny parallel, btw). I rather liked how your chart turned into a smiley face to boot. :P

    • Haha, why thank you! As much as I want to yell “SHAME ON YOU”, I know that many other gamers in relationships, if not most, do this too. I hope my charts have helped raise awareness on this epidemic.

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