Tips for getting my girlfriend into gaming?

Pretty self-explanatory from the title, but with all the E3 stuff going on at the moment (and my girlfriend showing slightly more interest than usual), I was wondering if anyone has any tips/recommendations for games to try together?

This list seemed to have some good suggestions for where to start mobile/tablet-wise (which I’m thinking might be best to avoid overwhelming her all at once - I know whenever she’s tried to use a controller before she’s always found the coordinator a bit tricky), but if anyone’s got any personal experience or knows of better titles to check out then I’d definitely love to hear!

it might help if you told us a single thing about your girlfriend’s interests wrt other media, my dude


I mean, that article is…bad. The one good suggestion there if you’re really interested in getting your partner into gaming is to try to find things that are going to speak to their interests. I don’t know that we have enough info here to throw any recommendations your way - tell us a little about what her interests are! - but I will say that you also need to be prepared for the fact that she just might not be a gamer.

That’s not a question anyone can really answer without knowing her, and even then it’s a crapshoot. If she’s watching E3 and she’s interested in the things she’s watching, just try getting into the things she finds interesting. Lots of stuff we’ve seen this year is either direct or spiritual sequels to stuff that’s already out, so start there.

Also, sometimes people just bounce off. My wife has had a few brief, random spurts of intense interest in games that then disappear entirely once she’s done. She got way into stuff like The Sims and Elite Beat Agents and it never bled into anything else. Every now and then she’ll watch something over my shoulder and get a kick out of telling my to do things, but that’s about it. Nothing sucks the joy out of something more than being pushed into it begrudgingly.


Ahhh yeah, you’re right, that probably would help. My bad!

She’s a huge fan of Marvel and comic book movies, but otherwise not too nerdy. She loves a good story and grew up on things like Avatar, Harry Potter, Disney, etc. She’s massively into zombies, horror, and dark humour though, and recently just read all the ASoIaF books for the first time (I spent months trying to convince her she would like them!). She’s also wicked smart and a writer herself, so her benchmark for quality/good character writing is pretty high. I know she did play TWD game a little bit a few years back with her sister and played Kingdom Hearts when she was younger, but other than those she’s just never got the appeal of gaming. She has seemed more curious about it lately though as I mentioned, but I’m just not sure where might be a good place to start her/what to try together.

Has she actually asked you to do this ? Because maybe she was just showing an interest in your hobby !! Sounds like she’s had experience in gaming /gaming adjacent things and bounced off it. Gaming isn’t for everyone and that’s ok!

Also if she has high standards for writing gaming probably not gonna scratch that itch


Assuming that she has expressed interest in getting into gaming and it’s not something that you just want to will on her, I’d say just follow her interests. My wife likes a very, very narrow kind of game- puzzle solving and the occasional Mario. But she also likes stories, so when I’ve gotten Tell Tale games or things like Life is Strange, she’s just kind of started paying attention to what was going on in the screen while she was moving about the living room and before I knew it, she’d be sitting down next to me wanting to help with the choices. Since she loved doing that but doesn’t really like “all these buttons on these weird controllers” *, whenever she is interested, I’ll pick a game like that, start from the beginning and just be her hands. She tells me where to go and what to do with her character, we sip some bourbon and have a good laugh. It’s really fun to share a story and she loves that she just can sit on the couch and make decisions.

*Obviously this isn’t meant to be a flat, general comment on women and gaming not getting the controller, it’s just literally my wife stopped playing console games after the NES growing up and she seriously rolls her eyes at almost all new controllers. Though because she adores Mario she’s recently decided to give the Switch a try and she is LOVING Odyssey.

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To echo the sentiments of others here: did she ask you to get into games? Did you ask her what kinds of things she likes in movies, books, films? What things she’d struggle with in gaming?

These are big questions that should be answered before we can really help and might be the whole key to this whole thing. Getting someone into something on the supposition that she wants to without actually talking to her is a huge issue. Getting her into it because it’s your hobby and not hers (yet?) is weird, unless she straight up expressed interest.

Women don’t unilaterally get bitten by the gaming bug via mobile games, or whatever a lot of women already play because women all have different interests and skill levels and passions. It’d be like saying, well, my boyfriend isn’t into films the way I am, I didn’t ask him but I’m sure some action movies might be up his alley because, you know, men are into that shit right?


It’s really gonna depend on what aspect of gaming, if any, she engages with, and figuring that out is a trial and error process that you’re going to have to give her time with on her own terms. Some of the things that are dealbreakers for my Girlfriend are things I wouldn’t have considered because I’m coming to gaming from a 20+ year lexicon while she’s starting relatively fresh from a perspective of wanting to engage with one of my major hobbies.

Mario Kart, Overcooked, and Carcassone (ipad) are the games that my GF and I play together.

Games that have really resonated with her on her phone/ipad, for the satisfaction of puzzling and tactile aspects are Threes, Monument Valleys, Alphabears, Alto’s Odyssey, Doug Dug, Rules!, Card Crawl, the Room series, Scalak, and Gorogoa.

Games that I have recommended her that she bounced off (and in the process I’ve learned she likes smaller loops, more puzzle focused stuff, and self-contained experiences; she satisfies narrative stuff from other media) of are stuff like 80 Days, Rebuild 3 (zombie sim game), The Walking Dead TellTale Games, Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey, Samorost (and other point and click adventures), Super Smash Bros, and Snipperclips.

There’s also the non-zero chance that she just won’t really engage with Gaming. It took me a while to realize that, aside from the truly transcendent stuff like The Fifth Season, my GF just doesn’t like Sci Fi, and she’s going to Star Wars with me because she likes me, and I should stop making sci fi recommendations, haha.

My partner is not even slightly interested in games, I still talk about them to her in terms of experiences I’ve had, but the gulf of understanding was underlined for me six months ago where I mentioned a skill tree and got a blank look in return. Its funny the blind spots we develop for this which are obvious. She talks at me about gardening so we’re just about even

The zombies and dark humor make me think she might possibly be into Dead Rising? If you can get into the loop it offers there is a lot to enjoy with its weird and silly humor. The biggest hurdles I’d see is that it’s not an easy game and it can get pretty repetitive.
On the plus side, if she does get into it, I think many of these games have a coop mode if you can figure out a way to make that happen.

Good luck!
My girlfriend likes games, but she’s got very specific tastes and so she’ll only really get into very few games. Unlike me who likes to try a little of everything, but rarely really digs into anything.

Games are so ubiquitous that it’s likely that if someone isn’t an active player of non-phone games, it’s because they’ve already tried “gaming” and it didn’t click with them. My girlfriend doesn’t play games and that’s all good, we have a lot of shared interests, we don’t want or need to be 1-to-1 on what we like.

Gotta leave this evergreen tweet here:

For what it’s worth, my wonderful girlfriend and I have finished Diablo 3 on PS4 about 4 times. Go figure.


I agree that you should ask her about what kind of games interest her because even though she doesn’t have as much experience or dexterity with the controls, if a game is interesting to her she might be willing to learn. That opens up the kind of games you could introduce her to considerably.

My best friend more or less fit the description you’ve given us (she’s a smart writer, she wasn’t highly skilled with controllers, she didn’t have experience with a wide variety of games, she loves horror, et c). She played Myst growing up (which might be a good fit) and I think she dipped into a few things here or there because of her brother. When she started hanging out with me, though, she got really into Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 6 (or whatever the co-op one was), Grand Theft Auto 5, Skyrim and Fallout 4.

I wouldn’t call those games beginner-friendly (or even well written), but she loved them. Now, she plays a lot of horror games without me because I’m such a scaredy cat. x]

I think it helped that we played a lot of games together. If it was a single player game then we hotseated it (basically, I played whenever she got really annoyed), so she didn’t have to worry about being bad at a game or whatever since I could normally brute force us through tricky parts.

If I was hardpressed to give an answer, I’d say pick up a game that’s relatively short, perhaps under fifteen hours, has good pacing and a fun story. For me and her, that was the Uncharted games. Your mileage may vary.


Overcooked can get anyone into gaming. I managed to get my mum, dad and sister playing it at Christmas

Even hoping to use it during a team building away day I’m organising.


Agree with those above who advise against forcing it, letting her follow her interests, and accepting up front that she may just not be that into games. If she’s genuinely curious, given that she likes horror, stories, and dark humour, maybe Danganronpa would be a good start? (NB: she may find the horniness alienating.) Those games are full of life, dark humour, weird uncanny blends of the absurd and the tragic, great character designs, GOAT-level villains, and the actual play interface is simple enough that her learning curve on how to actually move and play the game shouldn’t be too bad. As someone who was off games for 15 years and only learned how to navigate 3d games in her late 20’s, I think a lot of long-time gamers forget how hard it can be to learn how to co-ordinate movement, aiming, combat, etc if you aren’t accustomed to working a controller. I could see a lot of people bouncing off because it feels too hard to learn.

Alternates:: any Persona has most of those elements; Final Fantasy 9; the new Pixeljunk Monsters is super addictive; or maybe something fun you can play together that will ease her into more challenging controls - honestly Mario Party may be a great choice, since the minigames give you little opportunities to introduce/practice different types of movement and activity. Overcooked was a great idea too. Is the Lego Marvel series too silly to suggest? Very new-player-friendly and already related to her interests…

I’m kinda going through the same thing myself at the moment. The best thing to do is try to use your knowledge about a) your partner and b) gaming to be a resource that can aid her interest in playing games. Talking about gaming, just sharing ideas you think are cool, can lead to opportunities where she tells you she’s interested in playing something.

For example, I asked my girlfriend is she had played rollercoaster tycoon growing up and her eyes lit up and we had a pretty long conversation. Shortly after, she was looking things up on her own and she comes to me, “Honey! Honey!! There’s a game called Zoo Tycoon where you build zoos and it’s on the Xbox!!” (She also loves animals). A week later it was on sale, and I bought it and she loves it. A similar situation happened with the sims 4, which she plays quite a bit now, and has become the cornerstone of our gaming relationship, as she plays the sims while I play something else, but we’re still next to each other and able to engage.

Outside of finding games that match her interests, you have to consider the hurdle of developing a “gaming brain,” so to speak. As gam-…people who play games…, we’ve learned to think about scenarios in video games a certain way, by developing a wealth of reference points. Even trying to wrap ones head around how to use a controller can be a significant challenge. Though nearly every game has a tutorial, there are very few games that do a good job of teaching you how to think about playing a game, in the general sense. Even fewer that are almost universally approachable/likable to people entering gaming and lifelong gamers. Except for maybe, Snipperclips.

I’ve had several experiences playing snipperclips with people who haven’t played a game ever or in years, and have had such similar experiences it’s kind of odd. Starting off, the individual joy-con are simple controllers, which make them easy to wrap ones head (if not hands) around as opposed to 12+ button-2 joystick controllers.without getting too specific and long: The snipperclips tutorial is very straightforward, and a great vessel for teaching opportunities. Additionally, the first group of levels provide soooo many teaching opportunities for new gamers including showing them how games challenge everyone. I’ve played these levels at least 8 times and still encounter difficulties at different stages. And it’s so damn cute and charming it just sucks you in. Even if your partner already plays games, it’s an awesome couch co-op game and can help if you’re trying to play games together with your partner.

Obviously this isn’t a catch-all strategy. The main thing is naturally fostering your partner’s interest. If the hobby doesn’t develop organically then it may not be something that sticks. Especially if it’s something they only do with you, that makes it really hard for them to develop a personal relationship with it.

Game developer Rami Ismail has a really great twitter thread about getting his mom to play video games (Final Fantasy XV, Dragon Age Inquisition, Persona 5).^tfw

I think there is a strong argument to be made for jumping right into the deep end with a big overwhelming RPG instead of trying to lead with lighter, smaller games like Snipperclips or Ovecooked. RPGs are good in particular because they have such a huge possibilty space, to the point where they’ll forgive the player for ignoring entire categories of game mechanics. You can play Skyrim and have tons of fun without any understanding of crafting, alchemy, skill trees, enchanting, or spells. Button mashing through combat on the easiest difficulty can get you pretty far in most RPGs.

Most other genres don’t allow the player to have fun if they don’t fully engage with the core mechanic. If you’re not good at dual-stick shooting, Wolfenstein or Titanfall 2 will just be a frustrating slog even on “easy”.

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To offer another perspective, both my SO and I are gamers, but I’m the bigger gaming nerd, so to say. I play a wider variety of genres and games in general, while for the most part my partner sticks to platformers and racers. Most of my game recommendations bounce off him, with the exception of Shovel Knight and Power Hover (close enough to Sonic 2’s special levels to have him try it). Even the Bloodstained prequel game, which I thought he would love since he adores Castlevania III, he preferred to just watch me play.

The point is that gaming is a pretty wide form of entertainment, like movies or books. Ask her what she wants to play and let her try it out, that’s all. There’s no curated “games for newbs” list that will be a catch-all. If she ends up not liking games or bounces off your favorite games, that’s just a part of the process.

I think a really important mindset to start from is you should always ensure that the way you’re trying to introduce her to games is about her enjoying the games rather than you trying to enjoy them vicariously through her. Part of that is that you have to be emotionally prepared for her to bounce off of the medium entirely. While I can empathise with that feeling of wanting someone to like something you do and them not getting it, you have to remember not to be pushy, not to make assumptions, and to let her find the areas of gaming that speak to her. Even as someone who’s been part of the gaming community for most of my life, few things turn me away from games faster than people acting like I’m wrong for not liking a certain game or for playing it in a different way than they do. I’d also advise against anything that requires memorisation of a controller upfront. No one just picks up a Dualshock or Joycon with the right muscle memory already dialled into them. Best of luck to both of you.

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So, absolutely true about Skyrim.

Reminds me so much of Shirley’s videos ( which are so Pure.

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