A lot of us in the community here have (somehow) managed to find that special someone and settle into a life of domestic bliss. Not all of us have managed to convince them to start playing alongside us, however. In the interest of getting us all more time in front of the TV, I’ve made a particularly unscientific survey*, added my own experiences and humbly submit to you: “The MLG Guide to gaming for couples”.
Pick your console carefully.
The Wii might seem an obvious choice here, but it may not be the right one. While it’s generally fun in short bursts, it may not necessarily keep you both coming back on a regular basis.
Guest logins are no fun.
These days everyone should have their own identity. Nothing says “commitment” to a girl like their own Gamertag, and once they start earning trophies and/or achievements, you’ve got them hooked!
Co-Op is your way in…
It’s becoming much more common in games now, and there’s no complaining about you being better than her. As much as they may seem like kids games, the Lego Star Wars/Indiana Jones/Batman games are great fun and designed for two-player team-ups. Just watch for the camera in the platforming sections, repeated falls off ledges can undo all your hard-earned goodwill. The Wii’s overflowing with light-gun games. They can start out as co-op games, but before you know it she’s trying to pull off more headshots than you.
…but you can still get competitive.
Fighting games can be great if neither are you are anticipating tournament-level play. Super Smash Bros has the simplest controls around and characters everyone who’s so much glanced at a game once will recognise. If you want to step your button-mashing up a gear, Tekken’s a solid choice. You might want to steer clear of Soul Calibur, though…
Mario Kart’s still the all-time winner here. Hand her the steering wheel while you use the “proper” remote-and-nunchuck controls, then you can both swear at the cheap rubber-banding and cheating AI.
Everyone loves Rock Band
Obvious, self-explanatory and a scientific fact. Guitar tracks may be intimidating to the novice, but everyone can pound 4/4 time on drums. There are so many DLC tracks you’ll have little trouble finding something you both like (P!nk, No Doubt, Slipknot…). “No Fail” mode’s a real help to start off with, too.
It’s better to create than destroy.
Nothing brings people together like building things that don’t really exist. Flower, LittleBigPlanet and Viva Piñata are your friends here.
Don’t be afraid to get casual
There’s a wealth of downloadable games with handy free demo’s on all consoles, so you can find something you both like fairly quickly. Lumines and Bomberman are multiplayer classics with that simple yet addictive gameplay we all love. I can personally speak of the power of quiz games too. “Buzz!”, “Scene It?” and “1 vs. 100” are great time-wasters (as long as you’re not afraid of her taking the piss when you miss an obvious question).
It’s Lady’s choice
To us, gaming is an end in itself. It’s all good. To her it’s the game, not the console that counts. Keep that in mind when she wants to play Super Puzzle Fighter instead of grabbing that Left 4 Dead achievement you still need.
There you have it, folks, your path to gaming happiness. If all else fails, use her as a blind-firing decoy in Gears of War or Army of Two. Just don’t be surprised if you end up single pretty quickly.
*Thanks to everyone on the boards who helped me out with it.