“Things start to go wrong very quickly”
Salvaging my relationship after playing Overcooked
Are you ready?” my boyfriend asks, as he boots up Steam on his computer. “You betcha,” I reply, grabbing a controller. It’s our first time playing Overcooked together, and I’m feeling good about it. We know how much fun co-op games can be, and we love food and cute animals, so this should be perfect.
Except things start to go wrong. At first we play in silence, broken only occasionally by the exchange of terse orders. “Grab the plates. Chop those tomatoes. Fetch that pan.” It’s going well, though I’m not sure that approaching the game like it’s a covert operation is the best method.
As we start a level where a busy road cuts our kitchen in half, I feel stress radiating from him. I begin to panic, hopping between tasks. “What are these pizzas doing here?” I ask at one point. “Those aren’t pizzas, Kimberley, they’re dirty plates,” he sighs, and I remember I was supposed to be in charge of the washing up. I’ve also taken up every available surface with onions. Chopping, cooking, cleaning, and trying not to fall over each other proves too much. Who knew making a simple burger with tomato and lettuce would be so hard?
Too many cooks
It goes from bad to worse. The floor cracks in half. One side of the kitchen is on fire. No one has their mushroom soup. Animals shouldn’t be running a restaurant! I don’t hear my boyfriend vibrating beside me. “The meat’s burning, Kimberley. Kimberley, did you hear me? THE MEAT IS BURNING.” I look up to find four pans of diced beef blackening.
“This is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?” I shout. “That’s what games are about, fun!” “This isn’t fun!” he roars back. “This feels like going to work!”
The controllers end up in a bundle on the floor. As he deletes Overcooked from his Steam account, I turn to the corner in a sulk and don’t talk for another 30 minutes.
“Maybe we could play the second one,” I offer the following week when things have thawed, fiddling with the straw in my iced coffee. “You make sushi and there are new characters.” I look up to see him staring at me stonily, I take that as a no.
That weekend we begin playing Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, which has 100% more bunnies and 100% less stress. Our relationship has survived, though scars remain.
Before the whole kitchen went up in flames