Let me just start here: I’m not implying that no girls play video games! In fact, this guide works for couples of any composition: girl/girl, girl/guy, guy/guy, or any other pairing of genders that exists. The reason this blog post is titled this way is mostly just because I am a girlfriend who didn’t like games and my partner got me into playing it!
And this isn’t a mind gaming lesson. You’re not going to trick your partner into changing hobbies on the fly. You have to at least have a willing participant. You need someone who has at least a teensy tiny interest in playing video games before you come in and foster that interest into a full-on
addiction hobby. But if you don’t have that, this first tip will help get the ball rolling.
Let Them Watch You Play
The first thing you should do is show them that video games aren’t all just gory, first-person shooters with annoying 10-year-olds yelling slurs at you on chat. So look for games that have a lot of substance behind them. Steam is absolutely brimming with story-driven, single-player games with a ton of narrative and beautiful art design. Ask your partner to watch you play, or at least be in the room while you play, even if they’re doing their own thing. Tell them about how the game is almost like watching a movie or TV show, but you get to be a part of shaping that story and choosing how the characters act. Ask them to help you make those decisions together!
This is probably the number one way that I started getting interested in video games. I always thought of video games as a totally mindless past time that a zombie could do. But once I watched Nick play games that are more focused on character development and telling a story, I understood more why people play them. Even with games like Minecraft, with literally no story or plot, intrigued me because they were all about what you can bring to the game. They’re about what you choose, what you build, how you explore, and what you want to do with the gameplay given to you. So try putting your partner in the passenger seat before you put them behind the wheel.
Keep It On Easy Mode At The Start
I’ve mentioned this before on this blog, but I am SUPER competitive. It’s at an unhealthy level, to be honest. So a huge reason I avoided video games for a long time was that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle losing or failing. Especially in multiplayer versus games, I was afraid of scaring Nick away from the crazy woman he had been dating. In order to avoid that blowout, we decided to start slow. And there are a couple different ways to do that.
First is to literally put it on easy mode. Almost all games have a difficulty setting that you can choose. Set it as low as it goes. You might also think I’m telling you to let them win: I AM NOT. There is almost no chance you can do this without either them noticing or failing to slowly turn on the difficulty. Most likely, you’ll leave them feeling worse about themselves than if you just beat them. So let the game settings do the work. There is absolutely no shame in playing on easy mode. I have 500+ hours in Fallout 4, and I still play on easy or very easy mode. If you’re new to video games and don’t have years of instincts and experience with gameplay mechanics, cliches, and strategies, then it only makes sense to start at the beginning.
Another way to take the pressure off is to play the most ridiculous games you can find. When you’re crying from laughing so hard at the goofy ragdoll physics or the ridiculous level design, it’s hard to focus on the competition happening at the same time. A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about My Favourite Couch Multiplayer Games. Pretty much every game on this list is perfect for someone’s first time playing video games because they are simple to play and hilarious to experience. Many of them are co-op as well, so there’s even less pressure to win when you’re on the same team!
Don’t Pressure Them Too Much
This is the biggest mistake that Nick has made in the past during his mission to get me to play his favourite video games. He will just latch on to the idea of me playing a certain game or us playing a game together and not drop it for weeks on end. He’ll ask me what I what to do when we’re hanging out and if I don’t have an answer, he’ll start begging for us to play whatever game he’s obsessed with at the moment. It would drive me crazy and just set me even more against whatever he was trying to get me to do. I’m stubborn, and the more I say no, the more it sounds like the right answer forever.
I will say it’s important to be supportive and encouraging. I felt 100% more likely to try out his game when he laid off for a while. When he asked me to choose what we do, instead of trying to guilt me into playing his dumb game, I was more likely to think “I know what we could do that would make him happy!” Remember, this isn’t you backing them into gaming or tricking your partner into being a different person. Know when to ditch the attempts and when to keep bringing it up.
Are You Showing Interest In Their Hobbies, Too?
One of the best ways to get your partner interested in something you are is to show interest in what they like first. I would always be more willing to try out a game Nick recommended when he spent the previous evening watching my TV show or doing my activities. Although he never framed it as this way, I almost owed his hobbies a chance after he gave mine one. It is super important that you don’t try to actually enforce this as an exchange they have to follow up on. You should be showing genuine interest in their favourite things just to be a good partner, and getting them to try your interests is just a benefit.
The only thing else I can say is good luck! I never ever thought that I would be a gamer, and now that is easily my favourite way to pass the time. I’m not promising they will love gaming and be willing to stay up all night on raids with you, but if there is one thing I’ve learned is that gaming has something for a much wider audience of people than before. You don’t need to be a cliche nerd or dork to enjoy gaming. So give it a shot and let me know how it goes!