By Steven A. Clubb
Video games have been a part of my life since I was 6 years old. My brother Kenny convinced my parents to buy me a Play Station and the critically acclaimed classic game “Final Fantasy 7”. After popping in the first disc of three, I was hooked. From then on, I wanted to try any game I could get my hands on.
From Xbox to Gamecube, I was devouring every game and genre my parents would allow me to play. “Halo: Combat Evolved”, “Sonic Adventure 2 Battle”, “SSX Tricky”, and “Kingdom Hearts” were just some of the titles that captured my respect and love. I played (and still play) such a variety of games that it’s difficult to choose a favorite from my childhood.
I am fully aware that video games are not for everyone, but I am always curious what particular reason makes them not enjoyable for others. I have been told by some that video games gives them headaches, they’re not good at it, they don’t have enough time, or they just find them fun. I think, besides the headache issue, there is a game out there for everyone — or in this particular case, for those of you reading — for your non-gaming girlfriend. You just need to find the right one for her.
My girlfriend Sandy played a few games growing up. They didn’t capture her like they did me, but she still casually enjoyed games like “Street Fighter”, “NBA Jam”, “Mortal Kombat” and other fighting/sports games. Granted, I am not a fan of fighting or sports games, because it requires a lot of practice and an overall love for sports and competitive play. Then it hit me. She probably doesn’t like those aspects that much either.
So now I had to figure out what part of games she would find enjoyable. Sandy is a gifted writer, loves romantic comedies, enjoys good characters and character development. Eureka! Video games with rich stories and not so complicated gameplay or limited combat systems are what she needs!
I created a list of games in my head all having great stories and real characters you feel for. At the same time, I also wanted to show her games that were near and dear to me.
My idea was to show her a game from the “Final Fantasy” series, not only because it was my first game, so it’s special to me, but also because its rich story, ensemble cast of characters, and romantic developments seemed like the perfect fit for Sandy. They remade FF7 a couple of years back with updated graphics and the whole game voice acted so it would be a great starting point. We decided I would play while she observed to make it feel like she is watching a movie instead of it being a game.
She was genuinely surprised while I was playing. Games weren’t like this when she was growing up in the ‘80s/‘90s. To be fair it wasn’t like this when I was growing up either. Video games have come a long way. “Final Fantasy 7 Remake” is a lot more immersive than old school games. Characters look real, they have a voice, they have facial expressions for the emotions they’re feeling. Loss, laughter, and love are all things we experience with them as we follow their journey.
Even before I beat the game with her, she was asking about other games she might enjoy. I did some more research to find her “first” game. I remembered she loves animals, stars, and has a strong belief in ghosts and the afterlife. So when I saw “Spiritfarer” I knew I had found a game she would fall in love with. A girl with a pet cat who helps spirits move onto the next life is the perfect game for her. She gets to be her selfless, kind, loving self in a game and feel rewarded for it. She is having a blast and some of the characters are similar to people she knows in real life! It has helped her to process and understand them a little better.
Sandy is now an avid game lover, whether watching me play a single player game, or playing one of her own. She has always been understanding of my passion for video games, but now really sees how rich and advanced the games have become.
If you want your significant other to enjoy, or just have a better understanding of your love of video games, then have them play one for themselves. But make sure you find the right one first. Going head-to-head on a “Call of Duty” game might not be the answer. You need to make sure the water is warm and dip their toes in first. Not canon ball them into an icy river and tell them to sink or swim. Find out what they enjoy and try to match that same enjoyment to a game, even if its one that you might not know or play.
There is always a game out there for your favorite person. Be patient, be open and most certainly make sure they are having fun. That’s the whole point of video games! Of course your significant other has to be open to the idea, but that’s where compromising comes in. Maybe you try one of their hobbies as a trade. You both might benefit out of it personally. But at the very least, you’ll understand each orher’s hobbies/passions more.