October 20, 2002
It is the plague of gamers everywherehow do you get the one you love
to love your gaming habit? The most obvious and commonly attempted ploy
is trying to get your significant other to develop his or her own habit.
But sometimes this is a more difficult prospect than one might expect. I
have heard many of my male counterparts bemoan the fact that his wife or
girlfriend just doesnt understand his need to spend hours on the
console or computer and that it is jeopardizing both of the loves of his
life. As I am a firm believer in the "love me, love my obsessions"
philosophy, I decided put my mind to work figuring out how to lure your
partner into the gaming fold. After much thought, I finally came up with
a strategy that I think will work for almost anyone. So here goes
best advice for winning over your one and only.
Step One - Know the Enemy... er, Lover
Pick out games that your partner would like, rather than ones that
you like. The best way is to get your partner to grudgingly go to the
video store with you and pick out a title that looks the least
offensive, but thats not always possible, so its up to you to judge
what will be the most tempting. Many gamers make the mistake of assuming
that if they love a specific title or genre, then their significant
other should as well. You need remember, however, that just because
youre compatible in other areas doesnt mean youre the Bobsie Twins
when it comes to your tastes in games. And men, dont think that just
because your partner is a woman that she will only like puzzle or
"girly" games. Some women like to create mayhem just as much as any man,
so the best bet is to have an idea of what her interests or secret
desires are (does she want to be Laura Croft or do you catch her
watching snowboarding or karate on ESPN when she thinks youre not
looking?). And just remember, if the fish doesnt bite on the first try,
rebait the hook and keep trying. It will be worth the effort.
Step Two - Me Time
Now you must allow your loved one some alone time with the title.
What many gamers forget is that the ego is very fragile. Many women are
interested in gaming (you can tell because they watch you play for
hours), but if you offer them the controller, they politely defer. Why?
One reason is because they arent any good, and most women would rather
hand over their credit cards than look like an idiot in front of you.
The other reason is they often get frustrated when you, with the best
intentions of course, try to tell them in minute detail what they are
supposed to be doing. A non-gaming man, however, might chose not to play
because he doesnt want to appear incompetent lest it hinder his image
as the "mighty hunter" (which he worries will inhibit his ability to get
cozy with you later). I have also met men whose egos were damaged
irreparably when I kicked their ass in head-to-head combat (some might
find it sexy, but you can never tell). The point is, you need to let
your significant other clock some hours on the game to get their skills
and confidence to the point that they are ready to show off a little.
Keep in mind how long it took you to get good at what you now do without
a thought. And remember that your partner can only get that way without
you hovering over their shoulder watching.
Step Three - Sharing is Fun
After your loved one has been lured into playing, be sure to give
them equitable game time. This means that if you are both playing a one
player game then you should trade off at equal junctures in time. It
often happens when one person is an old hand at gaming that their "turn"
is about an hour long and the new initiate is eliminated in the first
five seconds. What is required is shorter and equal playing periods even
if, gasp, you have to fake a finger twitch to get yourself out of the
game (one of the only times that faking it is acceptable!). If you are
playing a two player game, things change slightly. Remember to be
patient if you are playing cooperatively and never, ever, let your
partner know if youre coddling them in head-to-head combat! Man or
woman, no one ever likes to feel like you "let" them win. They want to
There are several other issues that need addressing. Just because
your partner now likes videogames does not mean that she wants to hang
out, drink beer with your buddies, and play HALO all weekend (if she
does, you should be thanking God right now). And ladies, dont be
surprised if you need to bolster your mans ego in other areas until he
gets good enough to beat you at your favorite game (which he will also
delight in rubbing in when it happens). You also may have to adjust your
gaming etiquette in other ways, which for me means refraining from
cursing like a sailor and throwing controllers. And speaking of
controllers, having your own personal controller for consoles is a great
idea to avoid issues about hand sweat and fried chicken grease.
In the end, having gaming harmony in a household is worth the time it
takes to lure in your loved ones. But be careful what you wish forthere
are some unexpected repercussions when your partner becomes a fellow
addict. One of my coworkers said that he had trouble wresting the
controller away from his wife these days. You may also need to budget
twice as much money to buy games, and in the case of another friend of
mine, money for another computer so that she and her husband could both
play online at the same time. And finally, you may have to put up with
your partner playing games you absolutely hate, but you have to bite
your tongue and remember fair is fair. No matter what, taking these
steps is a positive move because if you and your significant other are
together for the long haul, you want to be with someone who will
understand when you get that glazed look in your eyes and plead, "baby,
just one more game."