For the Nerd

How To Get Your Girl To Play Video Games: Guys, unless you’re one of the lucky few that has a girl who enjoys playing videogames, your primal need to sit out on the couch and flip on some Call of Duty can actually be detrimental to your relationship. Before you look to your lady for flaws, or even view this as a reason to split (all depending on how hardcore your gaming is), why not try a couple of simple things to help indoctrinate her into your favorite hobby? If done correctly, playing videogames together can help strengthen your relationship by giving you both another thing in common to enjoy. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Use the K.I.S.S. method: By the 4th iteration of CoD, having a kill to death ratio of 2.5 might come as natural as breathing to any hardcore gamer, but have you ever seen someone try to pick up the controls for the first time and do anything but shoot their foot? Me either. My point here is make sure you’re choosing a game where the controls don’t hinder her experience: the simpler the better. If you’re a hoarder (like me) you probably have a 16 or 32 bit system (or possibly a Wii if you sold out), which are much better platforms for first timers. Something like Sonic the Hedgehog might seem simple to you, but if you recall, you probably started out with something with no more than a D-Pad and 3 buttons when you first started gaming.

2. Pick a game SHE might be interested in: I like to think I’m eclectic when it comes to video gaming, which makes this generation of games one of the most diverse in our history. Most guys prefer to live our fantasies through games like NCAA Football or Mortal Kombat (new or old, although for my money I prefer the Genesis version). When she sees you playing these games, she probably has no interest in learning, so I suggest taking her out to your nearest Gamestop and let her choose a title based on the cover. Shelling out $30 for a used copy of Kirby’s Epic Yarn may hurt your man card (although not your wallet), but you’ll reap the benefits in the long run.

3. Encourage her throughout the entire process: There is no better way to kill her willingness to try a videogame than if you shoot down her self-confidence ten minutes into the experience. Example: Started playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii with girlfriend; told her that if she didn’t stop losing all her lives I wouldn’t let her continue; now have a broken CD and am banned from playing any Mario like games. Like any activity, practice is necessary, so do your part as a gentleman and support her throughout her learning process.

4. Let her win occasionally: Tough for me because of my competitive nature, but letting your girl win a round of Tiger Woods Golf or Soul Calibur 4 will actually go a long way. Ever go to a party and start playing beer pong for three hours but never win a game? Although you’re smashed, all you can think about is beating that tiny clown in the corner making eyes at your lady. And it makes you never want to play pong with him again. Take the high road and “forget” to block once in a while, just never admit to her that you did it.

5. Co-Op is key!: Setting your lady up for a night of Bioshock Infinite get you harder than a brick house, but your girl may not see things the same way. By playing a game where you both are working cooperatively to achieve the same goal, you’re essentially solidifying the fact that you work well as a pair. There are a ton of these games out there (my favorite being Streets of Rage 2 for the Genesis), and they practically scream date night. It’s also a great way to get out of watching the Notebook.

6. Tell her how much it would mean to you: How many mall trips have you been on? How many dates with her friends? How many meetings with her mom? If the answer is “I can’t remember” I pity you. The point here is that all of those things are things that she really likes to do. If you sit her down and explain how important videogames are to you (and more importantly why), she might better understand your attraction to them. That way, when you finally invite her to join you for a session, you can explain how you’re trying to share a different piece of yourself with her, and we know how chicks love that emotional stuff.

This list is no means the be all, end all of having success in this matter, but it’s a pretty good place to start. The key here to get creative, keep an open mind, and have some fun with it! Worst case scenario, you’re back to listening to 14 year olds on Xbox live by yourself by morning.


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