My girlfriend doesn’t play games. Neither the video nor board variety. I’m always trying to get her to join me, though, and I have the occasional success, but not too often. Well, for my birthday one of her presents to me was to play any game I wanted. Moo ha ha!
I went easy on her. There are my current-favourite games, of course (Wargame Airland Battle at the time of writing, and I’m also playing a lot of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, although I hesitate to call it a “favourite.”) but they wouldn’t suit her personality so they wouldn’t be a good idea in any case.
A casual game, like BeJeweled, could garner a passing interest, but it’s not really what I’m looking for anyway. I once thought maybe “artsy” games (such as Flower or Journey, both by Thatgamecompany) would be a good gateway to full-time gaming, but actually she tends to find them boring.
So! I needed games that were simple, quick to pick up, but fun and exciting.
First up I chose Ikugara.
Such a classic. I described it to her as “pew pew pew.” “Let’s play Pew Pew Pew,” I’d say. We lasted until the first main boss. It ticks all the right boxes, and it even has the advantage of having quite a lot of depth to it if it happens to sink its claws in. So, while fun, it didn’t quite last.
Next I suggested “chop chop chop!” Which you might know as Castle Crashers.
This is a game I hadn’t even heard of until it hit Steam (massively discounted of course) recently. Have I mentioned that I don’t play consoles much? I don’t, but that’s a post for another time. Well, this game was fun. We chopped, and we chopped some more, until eventually we had to fight over the red princess. It reminded me very much of Double Dragon – ah, the good old days.
It was simple, fun and had just the right level of humour but our fingers got sore. I can see the appeal: that’s a fun little co-op game.
Well, what now? I had time for one more, I figured, and I had a game I thought she’d actually like if she gave it a chance and today… she couldn’t say no.
So I fired up Civilization V.
The real beauty behind Civ is that its depth and complexity is hidden behind a simple, streamlined interface. Basically all you have to do is click the messages that pop up on the right-hand side and make a choice – and at the easier difficulties you can’t even make a mistake. You just pick whatever appeals. Do you research Pottery, or Writing? What does your little tribe of people believe in? Do you build an archer or a monument? This is something she approves of too – she doesn’t play games to be challenged, like me, but to build things for the most part. A quick, easy, game of Civ is just right.
So we played that for a while – well, she did, but I helped. This was the biggest success I think, and although eventually she declared she was bored, she did concede that I “could save the game… if I wanted.”
If she does come back to it, she has a lot of stuff Civ can slowly reveal (something else it’s good at) and if she gets into it, the multiplayer is top notch too. I could see us having quite a bit of fun with it and in particular its latest expansion, which is getting rave reviews.
Wish me luck!