Top 10: Games for Non-Gamers
The gamer generation is getting older and now many of us are dating, or getting married, or thinking about talking to someone and avoiding it even though she totally likes you back, Dave, what are you doing? That’s life. Sadly, life is also time-management, and it can be hard to give your boyfriend or girlfriend some relationship-based attention when you’re trying to reach gold rank and Skyrim, well, still exists.
Clearly the only way to balance life’s issues is to find a way to play more video games, so here’s ten titles that can double as a date night:
Pretty much any Mario Kart will do here. Even Nintendo’s gimmicky game design can’t get in the way of the basic tenants of racing games. This series’ accessibility has given it one of the largest audiences in the industry as it appeals to pretty much anyone who enjoys fun. This means your other half probably has some time logged in a Mario Kart already, and if not, the controls have always been simple to pick up. No learning curve means immediate fun without you having to sound overbearing or patronizing!
Caution: If you’re playing Double Dash don’t tell them to just sit in the back and throw things. Your goal is to not alienate, ya jerk.
World of Warcraft
Considering that this is probably the reason your beau feels neglected in the first place, this really only makes sense. WoW is quick to jump into and the early levels are free to play (WoW Starter) so there’s no loss if they’re not into it. This is an excellent way to bring your lady or dude into your own little gaming world so they can share your experiences, get your jokes, and maybe even become a functioning member of your guild as they reach the late game.
Caution: Don’t make them roll healer unless they want to roll healer. Your guild might not need more DPS, but maybe your relationship does.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game
Here’s an old one that might still be sitting on your PSN account. This is a cute, flashy, side-scrolling beat’em-up that allows you and your mate to work as a team to smash faces and collect coins. Co-op play means she or he doesn’t have to feel neglected or comparatively under skilled, and even if they are under skilled you can just go HAM and carry the level. There’s also a level-up system and a fair amount of secrets to give you two the feeling of progressing towards a goal together.
Caution: Remember that you need to buy items to level up your stats or the last few maps will be terrible for both of you.
If your girlfriend (or boyfriend) anything like my girlfriend (or… boyfriend?) then she loves to scream “DIE! DIE! DIE! DID YOU JUST HIT ME? I WILL MURDER YOUR WHOLE FAMILY!” That’s fine with me, I like a little genocide in my ladies, and if your partner is like mine than s/he will absolutely love the Dynasty Warriors series. Sometimes all you need is a button-mashing murder spree to set the mood. Put your mission objectives on the back burner just to see who can get the highest kill count, or progress through the game for the items and level-ups that let you kill people easier! Either way, your relationship becomes fueled by the blood of countless Chinese soldiers.
Caution: Remember to hide any melee weaponry you’ve collected over the years in case the adrenaline hasn’t worn off right away.
Music games (DDR, Just Dance, Rockband)
You can’t really go wrong here. No matter how much time you’ve spent with these titles, your partner can play on beginner right alongside you. Chances are there’s going to be some songs the other half likes that will keep them interested. Also, DDR and Just Dance can be a workout if done long enough.
Caution: On second thought, don’t mention the workout part. That’s a classic pitfall known as ‘accidentally calling her fat’ or, to a lady’s ears, ‘calling her fat.’
Little Big Planet
The LBP series provides a lethal mix of platforming and cuteness perfect for any couple’s pre-bedroom gaming session. The gameplay is casual enough to be engaging without being intense, and it can be fun just to zip through a few levels for an hour or so. Your non-gamer might just get into this enough to play it solo, and when that happens you can do things like this:
Caution: Be patient with them through the character creator, but reveal the level creator with discretion. Little Big Planet can be very powerful, and an artsy-type with a world-making engine to play with can put you on the other side of the neglect factor.
The real genius of this series is that it’s basically a flash game with a budget. Take one mind-blowingly unique concept, simple controls, and way too much Japan, and of course you’ll get a game where you roll up objects and people into a ball to turn into a star. We (picture of a heart) Katamari is the real target here. Any game in this series is great, but We Heart has that multiplayer goodness that can be crazy enough to give any player a fair chance at winning.
Caution: You’ll never get the soundtrack out of your head. That’s it. That’s the only negative.
The girly-ist of girly girls might not be keen on video games or sports, but screw it, this totally works. This isn’t a sports game or even a video game so much as it’s a shiny party game from the future. My experience with college parties and copious amounts of fun tells me that everyone loves this game. Kids love it, old people love it, Parkinson’s victims love it ( http://www.examiner.com/article/wii-hab-boosts-parkinson-s-treatments ). It doesn’t matter who you’re dating, this is “everyone” fun.
Caution: Don’t get overconfident and start breaking out other sports-based Wii titles. Stick with the original. Even Wii Sports Resort is iffy.
There are few games that match simple concepts with perfect execution, and fewer can claim to be at Journey’s level. This title is a complete story told entirely without words, and it’s simple enough that a complete novice can get through it in 2 to 3 hours without so much as a tutorial level. Of course, this is a single-player game, so the goal here is to have your partner play it and for you to just watch and gently instruct when needed. Maybe that sounds like barrels of fun, maybe it doesn’t, but this is an excellent first game to show your non-gamer the potential emotional depth of video games, and for the two of you to have an experience both shared and unique.
Caution: You should probably explain why there is a second player running around since there’s no in-game explanation and it’s fundamental to the game. Just sayin’.
Take this suggestion with consideration. Not every couple can handle a Catherine experience. For starters, it’s not a two-player game, which means either switching off turns between deaths or someone just sitting and watching. Also, close examination of this game’s story can have you actively learning about each other, and for more superficial couples that could end the relationship.
So why am I handing you this gun and telling you to point it at your foot? Well, hypothetical audience, I’m not. Catherine is a thriller/horror/puzzle game about a man trapped between his overbearing fiancé, a young seductress, and dreams that can kill him in real life. The dreams are the actual puzzle segments, while the rest of the game is role-play mainly consisting of answering questions and looking at naughty pictures. Your answers determine which of the game’s many endings you get, but it gets really crazy when you have the person you love determine how you navigate through what is basically a cheating simulator. Also, playing alongside someone else accentuates the kooky insanity of the game’s story, which can turn it from thriller to comedy even while it discusses valid aspects of relationship difficulties.
Caution: There is such a thing as an ‘anal-sex-monster,’ and it is a major boss fight. Have the appropriate conversation with your significant other beforehand.
So that’s it: you’re now armed with all the relationship advice I feel inclined to give you in list form. Now it’s your turn. Grab a controller, grab a special someone (appropriately), and show them that you care by doing something you enjoy!