This Game Is Improving Communication In My Relationship
I don’t want to play Overcooked with anyone else but my girlfriend. She says she might get jealous.
“Give me the chicken!”
“Was the dishes!”
“Throw me the pasta!”
“Serve the meal!”
The above dialogue might seem like the frantic shouts of a commercial kitchen, but in fact, they originate from my living room (while playing Overcooked 2 as my girlfriend and I navigate the game). Overcooked, for those who don’t know, is a game where you have to prepare meals for customers within a timely manner and score points.
It has been one of the best cooperative games I ever played, but one that can easily set off an argument. Whose fault was it that we just completely bombed that last game? Whose fault is that the kitchen burned down?
There’s a reason why Chinese gamers call Overcooked “Divorce Kitchen” — playing the game with someone else who you don’t mesh with right away can very easily lead to conflict. Nothing builds up rage more, after all, than a partner that doesn’t do the dishes and doesn’t allow the customers to have their food.
I will admit that my girlfriend and I had our roadbumps in Overcooked, especially early on, when I was a noob that had no idea what to do. We failed many missions, and I will have to admit that it was mostly my fault. I didn’t realize that tacos needed tortillas, for example, or that tomatoes needed to be chopped before they could be put on pizza.
However, my girlfriend and I quickly found our groove. We started to shout and talk more during games about what we needed and when. I bet whether my girlfriend’s neighbors think there are complete maniacs playing games in this apartment — they must. But the shouting has definitely improved our communication and our performance.
Nothing bonds you and your partner together more than being thrown a piece of chicken you desperately need, or being given a clean plate. We don’t succeed in every mission, but we communicate very vocally on what food or resources we need, and when. Our second attempts are usually successful after we get a hang of the map, and result in a high five and occasionally a kiss to celebrate the occasion.
Underlying Overcooked, I’ve noticed, is an improvement in real life communication as well. I tell my girlfriend much more about my day to day life and emotional state than I used to. Call me crazy, but I used to think she could just know by being around me. She just told me that when she sees me on the computer, she doesn’t know what I’m doing. For the sake of transparency, I have started telling my girlfriend the most trivial things about my activities, such as what I Google search and when I scroll mindlessly through Reddit.
Our experiences playing Overcooked simply require a substantial amount of teamwork and communication to succeed. But that’s relationships in general — not just some crazy video game that involves a lot of frantic button mashing and shouting.
Of course, I think any of my relationships with friends or family could be improved by playing Overcooked with that person. Or those relationships could end out of sheer frustration.
What I will say, however, is that I don’t want to play Overcooked with anyone else but my girlfriend. She says she might get jealous.