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!


  • 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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