For The Guys: How To Get Her Into Gaming
I have been asked many times how it is that I got into gaming by guys who want to share their favorite activity with their girls, so here goes.
I wasn’t always into gaming, in fact I only gamed on occasion throughout most of my life. There was the NES, and I loved that until my mom discovered Galaga and stole it from me lol. I only got to play the SNES when I was visiting my brother over the summer, and my favorite games on that were Mortal Kombat and Mario RPG. I never owned a computer, and played Oregon Trail in school as a part of the curriculum. After that there was the original Playstation of which I was a proud owner, and I had about 4 games on it. I went on to own a Playstation 2 and had about 4-5 games for that as well, but overall I was not what you would call much of a gamer. Nowadays I love MMO’s, watch the E3 coverage, dream of going to Blizzcon, and also keep up on all the new releases coming out and enjoy the reviews of them as well. So what changed? I met and fell in love with a gamer guy.
He wasn’t able to channel his love of gaming onto me overnight though, so don’t get too excited just yet. I will let you know, from a female perspective, what worked and what didn’t but I am not promising results. As I said, I already kind of liked video games so it was easier to show me what I was missing. Some girls don’t dig gaming and might not ever get into it so keep in mind that all women are unique.
First off, you will need to assess her level of love/distaste for it. If she likes to play even a little, then the whole process will be easier. If you’re not that lucky and the site of a game makes her roll her eyes, then you may want to reconsider trying at all. Throughout the rest of the article, we will continue on the assumption that there is at least a little interest in games present. So, she likes games, but still wont game with you or play the games you like… what now? Start at her level. If she only plays console games and you want to turn her into an MMO raider, you can’t just throw her in and expect her to love it. Go out and get a game in a genre that she would like and play that with her first. Once you two have gotten some good memories out of that, she will respond to new game suggestions better because she will think back on the good times you had playing the first game.
As an example, my husband knew I had a Playstation 2 when we met and knew what kinds of games I enjoyed. He decided to introduce me to Wii Sports and we had a blast together. After playing Wii Sports he popped in Zelda: Twilight Princess and I watched the entire story. He is pretty lucky because I actually love the option of watching vs. playing sometimes. My favorite part of some games is the story and I don’t feel like playing all the time so it’s a great solution for us. I relax on the couch as if it was a movie and he gets to play the games he loves.
Once you have some game time in together, now you start showing new options to her. One way to show her new games is to watch the reviews together. Try Gametrailers.com for that as they have some of the more entertaining reviews in my opinion. Try to mutually agree on something, even if it isn’t what you want to play right now, remember that your trying to show her how much fun it is to play with you, instead of just leave and let you play alone. Sacrifices will need to be made, but if all goes well it will have been completely worth it. While building up her love of gaming with you, it is fine to play your own games of choice alone, but if she starts to want to play then you better be willing to move over or the moment will pass and she will lose interest.
It was actually me who made some game suggestions to my husband that he wasn’t completely thrilled with, so this example is a bit backwards but it’s generally the same idea. When Little Big Planet came out he thought it looked a little girly and silly, but I thought it looked awesome and we made the trip to the game store to pick it up. Turns out we logged quite a few hours playing together and ended up having so much fun, now we can’t wait for LBP2 to come out! Later we picked up Soul Calibur 4 at my suggestion because I happen to love fighting games and we kicked the crap out of each other for hours on that game too. Stay open to her suggestions as they might just surprise you in how much fun they can be.
Having tackled the console arena and gotten her into gaming, it might now be time to move into the PC arena. If she’s like I was, then you have a long road ahead still. If you want to get her into your MMO then you still might have to start with one you aren’t quite as fond of. Make sure the game has something to it that will appeal to her liking. For me it was the ability to play fairies as my race and decorate my own virtual house with the trophies from my quests. If she likes space, try Star Trek or Star Wars Online. Fantasy lovers can go for many more options such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest 1&2, Guild Wars etc. For those who seek something outside the traditional topics, try games like Aion, T.E.R.A (when it comes out), or Final Fantasy 14 (when it comes out). Playing a game that has enticing aspects will be less of a chore and much more enjoyable for her, and also make her open to trying other games in the hopes that they will be equally as fun if not even better.
As I told you, I hadn’t even owned my own computer until after I graduated High School so I wasn’t exactly skilled with them… I still “hunt and peck” type to this day lol. I tried to play World of Warcraft with some friends of mine, but never really got into it because they had other things to do in game and I was just too slow to keep up with them. Fast forward one year and now my husband is trying to get me to play it with him. Since my previous experience was not all that enjoyable I say no. He does some research and finds out that the fairy is now a playable race in EQ2 and sows the seed within my brain, then later tells me about the houses I could decorate… and I took the bait. We played EQ2 together for about 4-6 months before we both got really bored of it, but after all the fun I had I was ready to try out WoW one more time. The second time around was much more enjoyable!
If all has gone well then she is now playing the MMO you wanted her to play with you and logging all those hours alongside you. This is fantastic! It can still go horribly wrong though. Key tips: be patient, spend in game time with her (no running off for your guildies when she needs you), and help her set her hotkeys in the best way that aids her lol. Take the time to show her where things are, guide her through some quests, help run her through instances, and of course donate some cash to her so she can get started in style. If you suggest she not buy something, then for Pete’s sake tell her why or she will buy it anyway. I have no idea how much money I would have wasted if I wouldn’t have had someone next to me saying “you’re going to get something way better in the instance I’m going to run you through next.” Also important is to help explain all the stats, and why she needs them. When she knows what all the stats on her gear give her, then she will be more motivated to keep playing for that new epic piece of gear.
Another thing you want to consider is educating her. You’re going to want to teach her a bit about the culture that surrounds gaming. Show off some funny YouTube videos, or head over to College Humor and find a video that will teach her a bit about what to expect. Jokes about pwning noobs will go right over her head otherwise. No one likes to be the person standing outside the inside joke, so tell her all about the things people will be talking about in the game (if it’s an online game where chat might happen). Be aware that people might be calling her things like “noob” in chat when she takes too long to do something and you will need to take her side and help to protect her from all the nerdrage directed at her until she becomes an accomplished player. If she has your support then those kinds of comments shouldn’t bother her as much and she will continue to play through them.
The community online is rather tiresome sometimes and it might not always be enough that you tell her she’s a great player. Personally I quit playing WoW after a year because of all the people telling me how much I sucked because I wasn’t the proper Warlock spec for raiding. It took a long time to get to me, and I did improve my skills quite a bit due to the comments I received, but in the end I just quit because I couldn’t take it anymore. On the plus side, we moved to a new MMO (Aion) and that community was left behind. So even if she quits one game, there is still hope she will like the next one to come along.
Although she might not be good at playing one game, that doesn’t mean she won’t be good at playing a different game. Hang in there with her if she is having a hard time, and if it gets to be too rough on her then suggest you both move on to a new game. Once in the new game she might find herself excelling rather than being the butt of adolescent jokes.
While playing WoW I wasn’t the worst player out there, but I wasn’t the best player by far. I struggled and continually tried to improve myself and it was never enough. After we moved on to Aion it was like I was reborn as a gamer and entered a whole new world of fun. I chose a new class (healer) and managed my skills with an expertise I hadn’t shown in WoW. All the time I played EQ2 and WoW did contribute to my newfound prowess of course, but it was also the fact that I was now playing a new game with new mechanics that helped me to excel. There was never a time I couldn’t find a group, and I was always being added to people’s friends lists because I was good at my job as the healer. After playing for about 2 months we quit Aion, although it remains one of my best MMO experiences to date, because the story of the game and the grind made it boring. What came out of that was the thirst for a new MMO to play and the desire to be a part of an online community that I had not previously had so it all adds to future experiences.
So there you have it… a guide to getting your girl into gaming from a girl gamers’ perspective. I hope you enjoyed it, and I would love to hear from any readers who have some good luck with these tactics!