By Rachel Phillips
Due to popular demand, I think it is important to discuss how you as a gamer can involve your girlfriend or wife in the pastime (passion, obsession, alternative lifestyle, whatever you do) of gaming with you. First of all, I must point out that I cannot guarantee results. It really just happened to me. Like many gamers, I have a bit of a competitive edge and tend to get addicted to games.
Scenario 1: Your girlfriend/wife has never played videogames in her life, and because of the low exposure has no desire or interest other than the mild curiosity she has with you in general.
Tips: Well, this is what my situation was. But the key here is to start simple. Wii Sports was my first real game, and because of the physical activity involved, I was intrigued. It also helps if the starter game is one that you completely suck at. Nothing makes a girl more excited about videogames than the possibility (or probability) of beating her boyfriend/husband at one. Now I am definitely not every case, but if you try to bring yourself down the beginner level, gaming is less intimidating to the beginning gaming girlfriend, and the opportunity to not be beaten into the ground every time is definitely a plus, and it will keep the girl’s interest in gaming longer. Also, if you can fake losing (and I mean, be good at faking) and let her win once in awhile, this could also benefit you in the long.
Suggested games: Wii Sports, PlayStation Eye games, Flow and Flower, Castle Crashers, or games that require minimal button combinations. Adventure and mystery games are also good, because you can work on something together.
Scenario 2: Your girlfriend/wife used to play, but has lost interest, and may even resent you playing.
Tips: How sad! My first guess would be that you play a little too often and by yourself. Work it into an evening at home, homemade dinner or pizza, a movie, or game night. Creativity is in order here. I know it sounds tacky, but how bad do you want this? Maybe find a game that she used to play and loved. Find some two-player games that you are not very good at, and learn the game together. Also, make sure that she is allowed to touch your game console, even when you are not around.
Suggested games: Mario Party, Pixel Junk Eden, Boom Blox, Animal Crossing.
Scenario 3: Your girlfriend/wife is “too old” for videogames and you feel that she may even see you as childish for playing them.
Tips: I believe that a conversation must take place here. This is your hobby. This is what you like to do. Maybe playing Animal Crossing would throw off the idea that games can be an adult pastime as well, but point out the subtle nuances that mature the game in her mind. She has things she likes to do, and probably wants you to participate (shopping in department stores, reality shows, wine tastings, double-dates with people you don’t like…). So make it clear that this is important to you and that you as an adult enjoy them. Also, make sure you keep the conversation mature. As for games, I would introduce some arcade-type games, games that can also be found on the Internet. Many women that do not play videogames may play Internet games, and possibly also enjoy playing it on a bigger screen. If you feel that she thinks you are childish, just be yourself and keep gaming. Perhaps it’s an attitude thing. If you act like an adult while playing the game, then there is no reason for anyone to think you are childish. And your wife/girlfriend may follow suit once she sees that gaming is truly an adult pastime.
Suggested games: Games that you can also find on the Internet, Pop Cap Games, Linger in Shadows, Club house games, Personal Trainer Cooking.
Scenario 4: Your girlfriend/wife says that she does not have time to play videogames with you.
If lack of time is the issue, then perhaps you need to prioritize your relationship and have a good discussion with her about how happy it would make you if you could share this passion with her. This also goes for other parts of the relationship. You need to make sure that you are not infringing on her own time to herself, and also that you are balancing the rest of your life in the time you have. Respect her if she doesn’t have time, and be good about your own time, and maybe you will be able to get her to join you in both of your free time.
Suggested games: Short ones. Games that you can play for a little bit and easily put down if you need to. Super Puzzle Fighter HD Turbo Remix is a good one because you can play very short competitions. Find games like that. Stay away from games that take more than 5 minutes to beat a level.
Scenario 5: You use gaming as an escape from your girlfriend and want to keep her separate from your gaming experience.
Tips: Well, making that known to her will create animosity between her and you every time you turn on your console. Call it your “me time” or something, but I strongly advise against using gaming as an escape from her. Not wanting her associated with your gaming is a bit selfish. But then again, if you are truly happy in your relationship with you, your gaming console, and your girlfriend, you won’t seek advice in what to do in this situation. Just make sure she really is happy with the situation. No, I really mean happy. However, if you would like to keep some of your gaming time to yourself, make sure that you make it clear that it is “me time”, not “game time”
Suggested games: I don’t think this applies here, I think you know what you are doing.
Scenario 6: You do not have a girlfriend and want to find one that games.
Tips: Go to an anime convention. Those often have more than just Naruto-obsession costumed girls. Other than that, I can’t help you find a girl. That’s a different website (Cosmopolitan for men?). Once you have a girlfriend, however, you can revert to the above tips or enjoy the gaming passion she may already have established.
Suggested games: Find out what she likes first and then play it either in front of her or talk about playing it in front of her. Then you will have something in common. Do not under any circumstances do anything creepy to find out the favored game: that will be bad. Very, very bad. Just ask her. Something along the lines of “I heard you like video games, I’m playing this game right now, here is what I think about it, and what do you think?” It doesn’t matter if she hasn’t heard of it, because she’ll tell you, and then you can explain it to her and voila, you are talking to her!
Tips for all scenarios: The one thing that really bothers a girl with a gaming boyfriend is when he plays games that he is amazing at and flaunts his superiority in the gaming world. This is why it is important to play games that you may not be awesome at. The results from playing games with your girlfriend will be more rewarding and ego-boosting than playing a game you know you are good at.
Games not to play with a reluctant girlfriend/wife: Halo and other FPS’s, games with button combinations that are longer than 3 buttons. Women are not so simple that they cannot handle the button combinations, and you will find the girl that completely disagrees with me, but find other games, most will thank you for it.
If you have any more tips or game suggestions, post them on the feedback forum for this article. All opinions and ideas are welcome, all good ones will be exalted, all others will be duly noted.