Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Monday, February 01, 2010

On Getting Girlfriends Into Video Games

Okay, I was just shown one of those "get your girl into gaming" articles via twitter. (Thanks to Dorian.) The article itself is here.

Can I give the guys in the audience some advice? Girls aren't, in general, stupid. If said girl can't figure out at least the basics of a game via manual/tutorials in game, she probably doesn't want to play the game.

And if she really needs help, she'll probably ASK you. Otherwise, she probably doesn't need you to hold her hand during it.

I will give the article credit for pointing out that tastes are important, if she hates horror movies don't show her Resident Evil. But then he goes on to hype starting simple with FIGHTING GAMES. You know, with the really long/fast executed combo-moves, steep learning curve, weak plot, tendency for T&A, and likelihood of making your hands hurt like hell after an hour or two. Yeah, that's what I'd spring on someone brand new to video games, really. (Unless she's got a lot of violent aggression to work through or is a really mean hand at Rock'Em Sock'Em robots. Then, maybe I'd go for it.)

(Edited to add, since I wasn't quite saying what I meant to here: I'm not saying girls don't LIKE fighting games. I just don't think they're a great choice to intro to someone who's brand new to video games. I'd work my way up to them.)

And then the rest of the advice seems to be either common decency (stop when she wants - I don't want to meet the guy who NEEDS this advice) or badger her to play and then freaking carry her throughout the game. Which seems like it wouldn't be any fun for EITHER player.

If guys out there want my sincere and honest advice on how to get a girl into videogames, I will tell you the one method that has the BEST chance of actually being successful:

Sit down, play your video game, and shut up. If she's interested, she will ask you about the game. If she's not, then shut up and continue to enjoy your damn game.

Win/win. Yeesh.


  • At February 01, 2010 9:30 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Most of the women I know who are only casually into games seem to prefer stuff like Mario Kart or Rock Band or the like. Group stuff. Or the basic addictive puzzle games from Tetris to Bejewelled to whatever the hell Facebook uses...

    Hard-core gamer girls are into the exact same games as the hard-core guys. They just have to put up with the fact that 99% of the dudes in online games seem to be mentally stuck at age 10...

  • At February 01, 2010 11:13 AM, Blogger CrazyLogic said…

    Actually, plenty of us girls like fighting style games (ala Mortal Kombat). Part of the appeal is that you don't have to know the controls, and it is very satisfying to beat someone GOOD at the game by just randomly pushing the buttons ;). Plus even if you lose in Mortal Kombat, at least the Fatalities will be entertaining. (I really like the odd KO that involves the environment, even if it's my character getting steamrolled)

    I think the biggest mistake guys make is NOT letting the girls go through the tutorials. Nothing was more frustrating to me than playing Halo, on that multipayer fighter mode where the goal is to kill everyone else as much as possible, with a bunch of boys who were experts in the game. Only one of them was giving me the chance to get my bearings and letting me get a hand of the controls (and telling me what buttons do what).

    I only played one round.

  • At February 01, 2010 11:46 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    LurkerWithout: Hmm, do Mario Kart or Rock Band have a solo mode? If not, that could be a flaw in my plan. If so, it works brilliantly! If she's interested, plug in a second controller, reset, and go.

    alanab91: I didn't mean to say girls don't like fighting games, I just wouldn't spring them on a first time gamer. (I put an ETA in the post that hopefully makes my thought clearer. :-))

    I like fighting games myself, but it took me a while to get into them, and then I'd want to play on solo/training mode for a while before I'd play against someone. :-)

  • At February 01, 2010 1:39 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    Bullseye. Totally agree with this, Kalinara. And another thing: it's okay for your GF and you not to be totally simpatico in terms of interests.

  • At February 01, 2010 1:53 PM, Blogger James Ashelford said…

    The fifth point is so wrong on so many levels, not least of which is the "keep the training wheels on as long as possible" advise of giving the little lady all the life-saving bonuses.

    If I treated any lady of the opposite sex of my aquaintance like this article suggests I'd get thumped. Deservingly.

    Also, I agree on the problems you point out concerning fighting games. Though there is a worse alternative: the Unique Adventure Game Logic of most JRPGs.

  • At February 01, 2010 6:13 PM, Blogger Rocketlex said…

    I agree with the final point so very much! Male or female, I think what gets a lot of people into video games is watching someone else play them.

    If I had to think of something which was at the same time very video gamey but also very friendly to newcomers, I suggest one of the Legend of Zelda games. They're designed in a way that's largely accessible and tend to be more about outwitting puzzles than twitch-reflex combat (although there's always a sprinkling of it).

    And if you're going to get someone into First-Person Shooters, for God's sake start them off with a keyboard-and-mouse setup. Cutting your teeth with duel-analog is a good way to put someone off FPSs for years. (It happened to me!)

  • At February 02, 2010 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    First, I think we all know that for girls... Math is hard. So video games are tougher. ;)

    I think what I took from the article is that it is all about getting her to play video games in her underwear.

    But seriously, again, the thing that really seemed odd to me? How outside of the bullet points, the "meat" of the article is gender neutral. Change each bullet points to "person" or something and it ceases to be an article about getting your girlfriend to play video games.

    Personally, while I get wanting to share your likes with your significant other, often the ways these articles suggest going about it are usually less than organic and are lacking in real relationship building etiquette.

  • At February 02, 2010 8:41 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    :-) Not only are they gender neutral, but they're equally apt to piss off both genders.

    And the thing is, they're not really about "getting" girls into gaming, they're about "making" girls game. IMO. Because most of the things the article talked about (trouble learning from tutorials and even dying repeatedly in some cases) are what I'd read as signals she doesn't want to be playing.

    Like me with chess really. You'd be impressed how quickly I can lose a game of chess. I've become something of a master of it. Because I hate the game that much.

  • At February 02, 2010 7:55 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    People are always telling me chess has "rules" that you have to abide by. Like you can't declare a Communist revolution and have all the pieces be equal. Or change over to a theocratic feudal society so the bishops have a chance to be in charge. Or just have the King go around knighting all the pawns. I've watched lots of movies about King Arthur. Kings can totally do that...

  • At February 03, 2010 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I wonder why all these articles are about how to get your girlfriend into things? Nobody ever seems to write articles for "how to get your Mom into comics" or "how to get your sister into World of Warcraft."

    (Not that my sister needed any outside advice on how to get me horribly hooked, so far as I know. "Hey, sis, can I install WoW on YOUR computer? I left mine at my place, and I don't want to miss Winter Veil... Heeeey, I know, why don't YOU make a character? It'll be FUN!" grumble grumble crack peddler grumble....)


Post a Comment

<< Home