Five rules for introducing your girlfriend to gaming

A nonstop gun-fest might keep you interested for six hours, but in my experience, she may need more than that. The occasional break from the carnage to solve a problem doesn’t hurt anyone, and it gives her a chance to feel the sense of accomplishment I feel when I score three consecutive knife kills in CoD 4 multiplayer.


Left 4 Dead – Left 4 Dead is amazing, but it’s about shooting zombies, and that’s pretty much it. It assumes a lot of knowledge about how to succeed in shooters, and caters especially to gamers who like playing online co-op. While the special lady in your life probably welcomes social gaming, she probably doesn’t want to play online with your friends, and definitely won’t like playing with random kids who ask her if she’s a girl every five seconds. Unless she has a bunch of friends to play online with, online coop probably won’t work. And if she does have a bunch of friends itching to play L4D with her, she’s probably already into games, so why are you reading this?
Ace Combat (series) – The Ace Combat series is great for those who like flying jets around and locking on to targets. Fires of Liberation is one of my favorite games at the moment, but she’s not interested. It’s too abstract - I’m shooting at little dots in the distance. There’s nothing to solve, no mystery or exploration. All I need is the roar of a jet and the satisfaction of seeing the word “DESTROYED” appear when my missiles hit their marks – she needs a little more thought in her games.


Portal – Not only is Portal one of the best games ever made, it’s also very accessible. It assumes some pre-existing knowledge about the mechanics of first-person shooters, but nothing that can’t be overcome within an hour or so. It plays with the player with unmatched cleverness, and every puzzle is satisfying to solve. As a plus, there’s no violence against anything human… just, human-ey robotics.
Half-Life 2 – Valve’s landmark series is a great introduction to gaming. The pace is fairly slow (compared to other shooters), and there’s a lot of gameplay variety. A few elements might become frustrating (the driving mechanics aren’t easy to master, and those damn Antlions are bitches), but you can always borrow the controller or mouse for a minute to help out.

Don’t assume that you won’t like a game until you try it. We give “casual games” a lot of crap, but ask any GR editor and they’ve probably played and enjoyed a PopCap game. Peggle is fun, it just is, and fun is what you’re looking to have. I said you could introduce your girlfriend to gaming without resorting to minigame collections, and you can. The Sims 2 is as complete a game as any other. Viva Piñata is far from hated in this office. Animal Crossing is entertaining (though be warned, you may be accused of pedophilia for playing it). My fiancée and I have spent hours playing Hexic HD together. Just because it’s colorful doesn’t mean it’s bad.

What’s the worst that could happen? She develops a Sims addiction, giving you an extra four hours of free time every night, which you use to nerd your way through whatever 40-hour RPG you feel like? Sounds decent enough.

Above: What? What? It’s fun, okay? EXTREME FEVER!

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  • 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.
  • 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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