Five rules for introducing your girlfriend to gaming

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.

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.


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.


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.


  • Xtapolapopotamus - April 15, 2009 7:28 p.m.

    I glanced over this article. Tyler, you are a sexist pig. All kidding aside, good article. Should help lots of people get their girlfriends to at least take a look at gaming.
  • fattestninjaever - April 15, 2009 7:35 p.m.

    Nice. My love interest is into Nazi Zombies, I'm glad I know where to go after that.
  • Lavos - April 15, 2009 8:41 p.m.

  • theeambassador - April 15, 2009 8:48 p.m.

    after you beat resi 5 and get infinite ammo, turn the lights out, and let her go thru with you again in split screen co-op and just protect her or nudge her in the right direction(if she asks)when she gets stuck,she actually got a rush from blowing shit up in the car chase and after we beat the giant majini together she raped me
  • BodyDamage - April 15, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    great article.
  • zanthox - April 15, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    Well, I just got my girlfriend to try out Peggle and within a matter of days she beat all the challenges... Guess it is time to step up a level or two...
  • GamesRadarJoeMcNeilly - April 15, 2009 9:27 p.m.

    I've had the "conversation" in Rule 2 more often than I care to admit.
  • WonsAuto - April 15, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    I love Peggle.
  • RebornKusabi - April 15, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    I might absolutely fail when it comes to even getting a female's attention for more then 5 seconds however I do have a very good friend who has a girlfriend and while she hates playing video games, she loves watching him play them. They have figured out a common love for Survival Horror games so he has been playing alot of Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and older Resident Evil (Him and her both strongly dislike the last two games). So no, Tyler is not wrong in his assumption (Though I would call it fact as my sister also loves the Silent Hill and the older Resident Evil games as well) that women love a good Survival Horror game. Anyways, great article man!
  • TrevorISme - April 15, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    Some of this is so true! like I was sitting around with my girl friend and my friend and his lady, and we were getting bored, so my friend turns on my xbox, puts on Peggle and we all have a blast taking turns between levels or when we lose its fun fun fun for everyone
  • PCG_Evan - April 15, 2009 11:32 p.m.

    My girlfriend hadn't played a PC shooter in her life, and when I showed her L4D, she burned through all four campaigns on normal difficulty, and later came back to play on advanced--successfully. As much as there are some unique mechanics tied to the co-op and special infected, she had more fun with it than Portal, for whatever reason.
  • TrIp13G - April 15, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    I am definitely bearing these tips in mind. I've got a woman I'd like to get into gaming proper, and this article definitely pointed me in the right direction. Thank you, Tyler.
  • Hobojedi - April 15, 2009 11:53 p.m.

    The last page is so true and right.
  • MildlyAmused - April 16, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    For non-indoctrinated females, this article is a great idea. Come on guys, use this gold mine. I'm tired of being mistaken for a 12-year old boy on L4D. More girls = more fun. ^_^
  • Romination - April 16, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    this is a good article. I think that the headline is a bit's more of 'how to get a nongamer interesting in gaming into gaming more', but with anecdotes about your fiance (ooh la la) weaved in. and it seems it would totally work in that regard.
  • BanHer - April 16, 2009 1:24 a.m.

    As a girl gamer, I can honestly tell you that this is the most accurate article I've ever read that's about girls in general. You honestly nailed it.
  • bjt2012 - April 16, 2009 4:23 a.m.

    Burnout Paradise = girlfriend gold Fast cars crashing in an open world environment really got my girlfriend to play
  • phoenix_wings - April 16, 2009 4:40 a.m.

    Hmm...The only thing that I can relate to this is article is that my friends (who have consoles somehow) who aren't that into gaming. They play the more casual games, like...ehh, trivia games on their consoles. They're fun, but not something that I would typically enjoy for long periods. See, that's something that i would personally start with if I had to introduce someone into gaming. Very casually, get them on the Wii bandwagon, and then gauge their reactions. If they get bored with the kiddie games, move them up to other ones that are easier, but a little more advanced. That would be suitable for me--having a relationship with someone that understands that games can be fun, and understands my passion. And enjoys it too--maybe not to the extent that I do, but close.
  • Accidental - April 16, 2009 9:08 a.m.

    I hope that I will not have to introduce gaming to my future boyfriend. Its rather an important part in the criteria for my next partner. CoD4 junky looking for love!
  • JCBlueNose - April 16, 2009 10:14 a.m.

    Why would you not want to introduce gaming to your new boyfriend that way you can show off your skills on games

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