Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to Get Your Girlfriend to Play Video Games

When I first started dating my girlfriend, we were at the laundromat and to kill some we played the coin monster Pac-Man.  I was expecting to beat her pretty badly, because I had played the game and knew the ghosts techniques.  Well, she beat me... twice.  It didn't matter how serious I played, it happened.  It wasn't a fluke, my girlfriend is genuinely better at Pac-Man.

Then I started to think, what if I could get my girlfriend to play games with me like ZAMN?
Moreover, what if I could get her to play StarCraft II on my team and actually win?

By Art by Bones at

We've played Left for Dead before, but she can't figure out the controls.  I can't justify losing half my screen for someone who gets me killed more than helps me out.  How can someone who can't even handle two analogue sticks kick my ass with only one D-pad?

First off, women think faster than men.  They have a better developed central nervous system and more left/right brain cross communication than we do.  What this means, is that if a woman were genuinely interested in video games and played as much as a man does, she is more likely to win, because they will have better control.

It made me think back to the Golden Eye days for the N64.  There was the two analogue control option on that game, no one ever seemed to use.  After Halo, It was the standard in any FPS.  No matter how natural it seems now, if you've been playing games since NES, you had to gradually learn more complicated control.  Now to the bread and butter of this blog.  How do you get your girlfriend to play video games with you?

Start her off like you did, with simple games and gradually step it up.  I thought back to the first game I could remember upping my gamer skill, but still being easy enough for any nubie to play.  Mega Man II was my choice, but maybe you'd choose something else.

The thing is, I wasn't expecting much from her, but you have to remember, no matter how bad she is, and she will suck at first, never take the controller from her and show her.  Best case, she'll just be imitating you, worst case, she'll go make sandwiches and forget about the game.  I've been played Mega Man II more than a few times, and can beat Quick Man's stage first.  That's pretty much the test for Mega Man II, or so I thought.  My girlfriend really surprised me when she played.  After she beat Bubble Man, she went on to Heat Man's level.  I told her that she really would need to use item 2 (the rocket board) to beat this one part.  She told me that she could do it.  She failed more than a few times, but who playing any Mega Man hasn't?  Eventually, she did it.  What made things more interesting is when she beat Heat Man, she didn't use Bubble Man's ability.  I said, "Honey, you're supposed to use the boss ability you got from Bubble Man."  She replied with what is perhaps the most badass gamer comment without realizing it, "That sounds like cheating."

I know that you can theoretically beat any boss in a Mega Man with just the buster, but I never thought of using the learned abilities as cheating.  After that, she beat another four bosses without using abilities.  The one boss I did have to help her on was the dragon in Wily's castle.

Pink is the new blue, says MegaWoman

The thing about training your girlfriend to play a game, is that sometimes, it will be painful to watch her lose over and over doing something that you could do with your eyes closed.  Just remember, even though it's old hat to you, it's new to her.

After she beat Mega Man II, she played Mega Man X. . . and hated it.  I thought that continuing the series might work, but there are a lot of games we've played between MM2 and MMX.  Try to remember those milestones in your gamer history and present them to her in that order.

Who knows, maybe this could bring you two closer together.  Also, you might have to end up doing something that she likes in return.  Maybe you can see if she would be willing to scrap book your video game exploits.  Call it compromise.