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Five rules for introducing your girlfriend to gaming

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Games are almost always going to be a bit frustrating in parts. In general, this occurs because the developer failed to make what the hell you’re supposed to be doing apparent, or insisted on including a poorly designed mechanic that is integral to progression (not every shooter needs a driving level, damn it). Some games, of course, are just hard.

When you get frustrated, you probably show it. I’m not really angry when I can’t figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do to make a boss battle progress (screw you, Wesker), but that’s not what she sees. All she perceives is a string of profanities, a throw of the controller and a trip outside to pout and have a smoke.

 “No, I AM having fun, dear, I don’t want to stop, I just want to beat this ******* boss.”

Yeah, that didn’t come out right. She’s not going to take much of that, no matter how much you tell her that you’re just getting worked up because you like the game. If you can’t control your gamer rage, you might turn her off of gaming for good.


Me: WHAT?! I MISSED AGAIN? WTF? WTF?! MIRROR’S EDGE SUCKS! I HATE THIS GAME!
Her: So why are you playing it?
Me: What? Because it’s fun.

Frustrating games will probably irritate her even more than they do you. If you’ve been playing games for years, you know that there’s some stupid-ass solution to every seemingly impassable barrier. You know how game mechanics work, and that there’s just a “right way” to play. You know to start jumping on/destroying crates until the solution becomes apparent. She may not, and instead of getting pissed off until she figures it out, she might just turn it off. You don’t want that.

GAMES TO AVOID

Capcom makes brilliant games; they also make games that frustrate the hell out of us, which may be part of the reason we love them. Nevertheless, if you’re introducing someone to gaming, you might want to avoid starting them off with Capcom’s hatred of save points, no matter how much you love the games.

Dead Rising – Not only is Dead Rising hard, it’s confusing. There’s a lot going on, and until you accept that you can’t do it all in one play through and sing “la la la la” every time you get a call from that asshole Otis, it will be immensely frustrating.
Mega Man 9 – I’m not saying the lady won’t like classic games. In fact, chances are she remembers liking the classics lot (everyone remembers Mario, right?). Nevertheless, Mega Man 9 is as great as it is irritatingly hard.
Street Fighter IV – Fighting games are going to be a hard sell. Not only are they violent for the sake of violence, they’re all about timing, and that can get frustrating quickly. Again, great game, but might not be the best way to introduce your girlfriend to gaming’s splendors.

GAMES TO TRY

Prey – Prey is a great game, and a bit overlooked. It’s got aliens to shoot, puzzles to solve, and as in Prince of Persia, there’s no real dying. You cross to the “other side,” shoot some spirits with your glowing bow, and fall right back to the place you were standing when your life bar hit empty – no frustration!
Prince of Persia (next-gen) – Some of the climbing sequences and boss battles can be frustrating, but since there’s no real death, it balances out.
F.E.A.R/F.E.A.R 2 – These might seem like odd choices, but the horror aspect is pretty compelling, the dudes you’re killing are faceless and zombie-like, and the easy mode is actually fair to less experienced gamers. There’s plenty of health, and you aren’t set back too far when you die.

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80 comments

  • Dr_Mr_Paul - March 22, 2011 8:59 p.m.

    i introduced my girl to video games starting with cod4.... she fucking loved it and now plays more cod than i do XP
  • keltar93 - December 14, 2010 4:08 p.m.

    There's an easy way that I found- date a girl already into games. Even if it's on a lesser level than you (she's a big fan of Professor Layton and humorous adventure games), she'll be able to at least understand and respect your hobby. If she flat out denies it as childish, show here some of Tyler's suggestions (Half-Life 2, Portal, etc.) If she refuses, get a better woman
  • olio - March 8, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    Sigh... Now if only I could find a guy that played more than FPS's and Sports games...
  • Edthefreak - August 9, 2009 4:32 a.m.

    My girlfriend is rather casual gamer. I've tested the waters a little bit with her, with games like Viva Pinata and Plants vs. Zombies, they're not balls-hurt hard, and they're fun for both of us.
  • STR33TFiR3 - August 7, 2009 5:21 p.m.

    I would really like it if my GF liked games! I would definitely give the recommended ones a try.
  • xXHaloKillerXx - June 22, 2009 1:18 p.m.

    Marvel Ultimate Alliance is also fun.
  • 98tyger - June 10, 2009 4:21 a.m.

    ....................lol
  • Timothy_Lemon - April 20, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    my girlfriend is hooked on cod 4 & 5. she rinses me at them now hahah. she tried halo 3 but couldn't get on with that but she likes godfather II and lego indy.
  • linkganon - April 18, 2009 7:05 p.m.

    i get really irritated when i have to play a game i do not like but a girl i'm with likes it and she forces me to play this game all the time when i want to stealthfully kill somebody. remember, if you assume you make an ass out of u and me (that came from bad news bears)
  • deathrebellion - April 17, 2009 11:37 a.m.

    the poor poor alien bugs *sniff* *sniff* no1 gives a damn abt them nyway gr8 article i might even try ur rules
  • JCBlueNose - April 17, 2009 8:53 a.m.

    I don't mind the help on games it's just when people try to take over that I get annoyed
  • killemall - April 16, 2009 8:32 p.m.

    I don't really agree with the fighting game scenario though... get a girl drunk and give her a fighting game where you can win by button mashing and she'll want to do it everytime she's drunk... in fact i turned at least 6 other girls into gamers but putting them up against each other in tekken tag. they'll never admit to being gamers though but for some reason all have consoles now... hmmm however, even though i would never admit the thought of blowing up humans bothers me, i've realized...i'm not a huge GTA fan, and i can't get into call of duty4 and only play it cause my roommie likes it.. but gears of war2? i can't stop playing maybe you are on to something~
  • theschwartzb - April 16, 2009 7:39 p.m.

    @FadedLineVigil so what if this article is purely opinion, if you bother to read any of the other comments on this article, you will see that many people (including girls themselves) say that this article is pretty accurate. And although the title of the article says "five rules for introducing your girlfriend to videogaming, it really just seems like a useful article of getting any non gamer into gaming. How about instead of yelling about how this article is sexist, you look at it again, and see that is really an article to try to help gamers to get their non-gamer friends to try out a new activity, and this article is definitely not here to be sexist, even if you think it is.
  • WaywardRenegade - April 16, 2009 4:08 p.m.

    my girlfriend is not a fan of video games by any means, but she likes to play L4D, GTA4, mirrors edge(your right though Tyler...that game is really tough for her) and dead space. Though when she does pick up my x-box its about once a month kind of ironic...
  • JCBlueNose - April 16, 2009 2:47 p.m.

    I think that you play whatever the hell you wanna play whether the girl agrees or not at the end of the day it's your bloody console not hers
  • patriotfan09 - April 16, 2009 2:42 p.m.

    Nice article
  • JCBlueNose - April 16, 2009 2:22 p.m.

    Some Japanese games have really crap graphics
  • Awesomeitude1523 - April 16, 2009 1:01 p.m.

    I admit that my girlfriend has never touched a videogame, but, with this article's help, I'll have her playing Peggle in no time. And bioshock
  • xXHaloKillerXx - April 16, 2009 12:30 p.m.

    cool article!!!!!Surprised Gears of War wasnt a game to avoid.That game pisses me off sometimes!!!Or Halo 3.That game is fun...
  • Accidental - April 16, 2009 11:38 a.m.

    "Why would you not want to introduce gaming to your new boyfriend that way you can show off your skills on games" - JCBlueNose Yeah but I have a slight tendency to show off and not no when to stop so I avoid "showing my skills" unless someone is there letting me no when to stop. Which is sad really I guess...

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