Let’s face it. If you’re a gamer chick and you date men, you’ve got a huge pool of eagerly available nerds to choose from. Personally, gaming has always been central to my past relationships, so I was at a loss with when I hooked up with my current geeky boyfriend because he didn’t play video games. I tried ignoring him while I played my Xbox 360, but I got tired of him standing in front of the TV telling me he wanted to spend time together. I tried getting him to watch me play one-player games, but this didn’t cut it because he wanted some buttons to push himself. So I decided to teach him to game. It has been a challenge because he has no hand-eye coordination, but here are a few tips I’ve found helpful.
- Find out his gaming history. Every man under forty has played some game or another. Did he hang out in the arcade as a teenager? Play Mario at his friend’s house? A little nostalgia can go a long way. Fortunately, there are tons of releases and sequels to 80s and early 90s games, so find out what he liked back then and get him to play it now.
- Pick something easy. Wii games tend to be easier than Xbox 360 for non-gamers. Try a Wii game he can’t really die on, like Wii Sports or Wario Ware. Some games 2-player games don’t let your P2 die, like Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Super Mario Galaxy. Give your boy the P2 controller and let him be your special helper. Then he feels like he’s contributing but he won’t actually mess you up with his ineptitude.
- Play easy. Let him win sometimes. It’s no fun for you if you always beat him at Super Smash Brothers anyhow, and it’ll be good for his ego. Give him a hug and tell him how proud you are when he kicks your ass.
- Don’t make fun of him. Your boy might walk right off the same cliff faster than a lemming or whine that he can’t open the save menu. Don’t yell at him or mimic him in a baby voice. Patiently tell him which buttons to push so he will learn the controls. If he still doesn’t get it, you may want to yank the controller out of his hands and do it yourself, but he’ll never learn that way.
- Don’t play with other guys. At least not when he’s around. Your man will get jealous if he hears you yelling “FUCK” on your headset with other guys. He won’t get that you need some time playing with your hardcore friends, but the goal is to eventually get your man to this level.
- Get him his own handheld. Get your boyfriend a DS or DSi so he can have his own handheld. Have him play multiplayer games with you, and he may even pick it up on his own when he’s on the bus. You can even get your boyfriend his own special color, such as black, blue, or red! Get him something nostalgic like a Mario game or something addictive like Puzzle Quest.
- Don’t pick a game that will offend him. Your boy might be disturbed by massive amounts of blood and guts. Of if you’re really lucky, he will hate sexism and racism, so no games where you can kill prostitutes or mow down hordes of zombified brown people. He might also find war games triggering, so no Call of Duty. Sorry I know this eliminates a lot of games, but stick to the bubblegum fluff of Katamari Damacy or The Legend of Zelda. Those games can’t offend anyone.
Of course, none of this advice has really worked for me yet, but I’ll keep working on him. The thought of a man who doesn’t like video gaming is unfathomable, so I guess I just need to find the right game and right technique.