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Five rules for introducing your girlfriend to gaming

I’m not a miserable sexist ass; I’m just a practical observer. One thing I’ve observed is that men and women are different (I figured that one out pretty early on). Since I’m a rational person, I’m aware that nothing is entirely one way or another. Even the divide between life and death is ambiguous (uh, zombies, amirite?). So, for the record, I don’t think this list applies to every woman ever, just like I don’t think that Ann Coulter is representative of anyone except the alien parasites living inside her.

Now that the fine print is out of the way, here’s how it is. Many of the games you like are probably targeted to men. This doesn’t mean women can’t enjoy them, it just means that the female perspective was probably not given much consideration. When the growing female demographic is targeted things get even worse. Instead of finding the center of the female/male gender stereotyping machine, they crank the lever all the way to housework and puppies. It’s as if publishers stopped reading about gender roles in the ‘70s.


Above: This is from a real book from the ‘70s 

Screw all that nonsense. My fiancée may not be as dedicated to the medium as I am (it’s sort of my job and stuff), but she can discern a quality game from a mopping minigame as well as anyone. She’s not going to like every game I like (as I said, games are often targeted to men, and I get a rush when dudes’ heads explode and shower the screen with brain debris - not her favorite thing), but she’s aware that you don’t have to be an introverted escapism junkie to think that Half-Life 2, Dead Space, Portal and BioShock are cool.


Above: I never thought my fiancée, a self-professed extrovert, would ever be more excited about a game than me. BioShock 2 has proven me wrong. REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE!

Gaming shouldn’t be perceived as a solitary activity - it’s usually more fun when shared with friends or your special someone. Don’t let her be corrupted by game marketing; don’t let her assume that she ought to be playing games about cooking. If she’s genuinely uninterested, then you better leave her be, but even a tinge of interest can develop into a hobby you can enjoy together. So why not try? If you’d like to introduce your significant other to gaming (or anyone else who’s a bit unsure), here are a few rules I’ve learned through experience.

Oh, if you are a girl, you already like games, and you’d like to call us hypocrites and complain that our content is overly male targeted, well, I’d just like to welcome you to the internet. Keep fighting the good fight!


Call of Duty 4 doesn’t bother me emotionally - it’s easy for me to objectify death.  I know that what I’m seeing is a representation of reality, and that somewhere in the world real bullets and bombs are falling on real flesh, but I tucked that reality deep into the seedy back lot of my mind (where I keep all of that troublesome emotional stuff) a long time ago. The lady is less interested in ignoring the violent truth. A perfect headshot is an injection of adrenaline for me, but for her it’s the mutilation of human lives. Hey, we’re different, how about that?


Above: “KILL! KILL! KILL! Oh right, I mean, isn’t war terrible? ” 

This isn’t a difficult issue to overcome – all you have to do is look for games that are more removed from reality. There are lots of other things to kill besides dudes in camo. Aliens are a great option, because games rarely address the ethics of wiping out an entire alien species, and even if they do, their stories are generally too convoluted for it to matter.


Above: “We’re being invaded by giant bugs, should we see if they come in peace? Oh, yeah, you’re probably right… they’re giant bugs. Soooo… we should probably kill them all.”

Monsters are good too. They’re inhuman abominations, and they generally don’t feel much in the way of pain or suffering (and if they do, you’re there to end their misery, right?). If you absolutely must kill dudes, it helps if the absurdity is turned up to eleven. It’s not such a big deal if the situation is so ridiculous that it can’t be taken seriously, which is also why the lady will see Quentin Tarantino movies with me, but is less interested in brutally realistic war movies. Tarantino’s films are violent, but they’re also completely nuts.

GAMES TO AVOID

Grand Theft Auto IV – While she might accept it as a critique on America and purely a work of fiction, don’t expect gang violence to be her first choice.
Call of Duty 4/Call of Duty: World at War – Blowing up dudes in the Middle East or Pacific islands is less likely to be her idea of a good time.

GAMES TO TRY

BioShock – It’s moody, with stunning art direction to keep the senses entertained, and you’re killing strange, possessed, unreal people in a dream-like environment.
Silent Hill (series) – Horror games are surprisingly accessible. The gore might turn off the squeamish, but if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find that undead nurses don’t pack the same emotional charge that soldiers’ heads do.
Earth Defense Force 2017 – EDF 2017 is simple and fun, and alien bug things have a hard time tugging on anyone’s heart strings, except in the literal sense.

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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