How to Turn Your Significant Other into a Gamer
Many of us so-called adults struggle to balance work obligations and family life, but as
adults/gamers gamers/adults, there is yet another important aspect of our lives that demands our time. The additional balancing required to work in those precious gaming sessions can be hard enough, but it gets even more difficult when your significant other does not share your enthusiasm for gaming.
However, instead of giving up your hobby or spending lots of time away from your loved one playing video games, why not share your passion with them?
Here’s a solid strategy to turn your loved one into a gamer:
Step One – Teach them about Gaming Culture
People who don’t play video games generally don’t follow gaming culture or keep up with gaming news, so they’re not likely to understand just how massive and deep the gaming industry has become over the last decade. Before you even ask them to try playing a game with you, give them a quick education in what this industry is all about. I suggest watching two movies with them.
The first one I’d start with is Video Games: The Movie, a documentary that explores the history of the video game industry, including how they’re made, how they’re marketed, and the community that has coalesced around them.
This movie really provides a great overview about where the industry came from and just how massive it has become. It will show said loved one how very real this industry is and that it’s not just about pimpled-faced teenagers hiding in the basement for days playing nothing but first person shooters (though there is still plenty of that).
The next movie you should watch with your soon-to-be-indoctrinated gamer is Indie Game: The Movie, a documentary about indie games# and their rise to prominence.
Where Video Games: The Movie is a fast recap on everything that’s happened in the world of gaming, Indie Game: The Movie focuses on specific indie developers and the emotional rollercoaster that designing a video game can be. Hopefully, your significant other will start to understand the artistry and emotions that go into building certain games and begin to appreciate them.
Step Two – Trust in Nintendo
It’s no secret that I’m a Nintendo Fanboy, but try and put that aside for a moment and please understand that I want you to trust Nintendo to help you indoctrinate your non-gaming significant other simply because they are really good at making games everyone can just pick up and play.
The Wii U has a great library of games to choose from that will be fun for you to play, while also being easy enough for first time gamers. Also, Nintendo has a fair number of titles that make great use of the gamepad to create fantastic co-op gameplay# experiences that will have the both of you working towards achieving a common goal rather then competing against each other.
Step Three – Build their Confidence
Instead of just throwing them into the deep end of the pool and telling them to sink or swim, start them out slow and grow their confidence by letting them assist you while you lead the way.
Here are some Wii U games that offer a great 2-player experience, with Player 2 being largely responsible for assisting Player 1 using the gamepad or an additional Wii Remote.
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Player 2 will slow down enemies and collect and shoot star bits while you get busy showing off your parkour skills. Amazon, eShop
- New Super Mario Bros. U – Give Player 2 the game pad and they’ll be freezing enemies in their tracks while also being able to place platforms for you by tapping the game pad screen to help you avoid falling to your death. Amazon, eShop
- Child of Light – Player 2 will be using the gamepad to delay enemy attacks, reveal secret pasasges, heal Player 1, and collect resources. eShop
By the time you are done with this step, your gamer-in-training should be confident that their interaction with these games is actually contributing to the overall victory without fearing that they might actually contribute to your loss.
Step Four – Player 2 becomes Player 1
Now that you are both comfortable gaming with each other and your padawan-gamer has experienced a few different styles of games, it’s time to let your new gamer lead the way. There are tons of games that have traditional two-player experiences, but here are a few that aren’t so daunting:
- Kirby & The Rainbow Curse – This is the perfect game to let your loved one step into the role of Player 1, as Kirby. Using the gamepad, Player 1 will draw rainbow lines directly onto the screen to help Kirby navigate various puzzles and defeat an assortment of enemies, while you run around as Bandana Waddle Dee# skewering enemies with your spear. Amazon, eShop
- New Super Mario Bros. U (again) – Instead of sticking Player 2 with the game pad, hook them up with a Wii Remote and let them try their hand at surviving the most famous platform series of all time. If they’re getting frustrated, remember that you can always pick up the gamepad and assist them as they traverse the game. Amazon, eShop
- Rayman Legends – This game gives Player 1 the option to assist Player 2 using the touch screen or to directly join in the platforming action by choosing their own Rayman Legends hero. This game is chaotic and fun and probably one of the best designed platformers of all time. Amazon, eShop
Your trainee should now feel like they’re running the show, completing challenges and discovering everything a particular game has has to offer.
Step Five – Going Solo
It’s time to let your gamer spread their wings and fly away from the nest. Every game they’ve played so far can be be played solo, but to keep them interested, consider introducing some new titles. Here are two of the best solo games the Wii U has to offer:
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – The Legend of Zelda is the gold standard in solo adventuring and with its release in HD, your new gamer is bound to fall in love with the series. Zelda can be tough to navigate, especially for a new player, so consider standing by with a guide to keep things on track. Amazon, eShop
- Pikmin 3 – Pikmin is a real-time strategy game that will challenge players to manage their Pikmin army and use them to solve puzzles that continually increase in difficulty as the game progresses. At this point, it’s like nothing they’ve ever played before so they might need a few pointers along the way. Amazon, eShop
Step Six – Competitive Play
You probably can’t call yourself a gamer if you don’t play a few games that allow you to go head-to-head against your friends and family. This is when gaming takes over the living room and when relationships are tested.
- Mario Kart 8 – This might feel like a big leap, but if you race at the 50cc level and instruct your gamer to just hold down the gas, everything should be fine. Also, Nintendo does a great job of keeping things fair by giving racers that lag behind the best items, so expect to catch a few blue shells in the face. Amazon, eShop
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – Smash Bros. is somehow the most precise and chaotic fighting game I’ve ever come across, but the point is, with some well-timed button mashing and some helpful special items, the battle could go either way. Super Smash Bros. is also like a playable Nintendo encyclopedia that at this point should excite your loved one when they see reference from the various franchises they’ve played to date. Amazon, eShop
Hopefully your new gamer will walk away appreciating each and every hard-won victory, because getting shamed in Smash Bros. and then coming back for more takes a lot of character.
Step Seven – Go Outside and Play
One common negative perception about gaming is that it keeps you sedentary and locked in doors all day. That’s true for some gamers, but that could be a very scary proposition for someone who is not a gamer already, especially for someone that has an active lifestyle. Remember to pace yourself during this process and find ways to enjoy your spouse’s time independent of video games (literally go outside). Relationships are all about balance; you can’t always be Player 1 and expect Player 2 to do what you want all the time.
Life changes when you meet that special someone. For most of us, it changes for the better, but even the most perfect matches are not absolutely perfect. Learning to live harmoniously with someone that has slightly different values and even completely different hobbies than you is what makes coupling so special.
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