I don’t know a lot about video games. Actually, I’m not going to lie to you, I really don’t know much of anything about video games.
I can never figure out the controllers. My poor character always ends up staring at the sky and walking in circles. There are just so many buttons and dials and combination codes that I feel like you have to be a rocket scientist to figure this shit out. And when I do finally manage to get it to somewhat function, I stumble aimlessly around until the suspense music comes and lures me into a panic-attack worthy fight scene that lasts about 2.3 seconds before I fall to the ground dead.
And then we’re back to the start and my character is once again dizzying herself while staring at the ground. Which, in general, is why I don’t play video games. Except that, apparently, I’m only attracted to the geek types that are hardcore, heart and soul dedicated to their saved gaming files. Luckily for them, I’m not the type to just give up. So, I devoted my time to scourging the depths of the internet and discovering some way to enjoy this hobby of theirs.
And I did. Girlfriends of gamers, my fellow technologically inept aspirants, welcome to video games.
Getting Involved Without Touching a Controller
There are a couple ways to go about doing this, actually. For those of you that want to show some interest in the hobbies of your friends and “others,” but don’t feel the particular need to expend any energy doing so, build their character.
Pick a game like Dark Souls or Destiny—something your person likes to play but you have no chance of ever understanding—and design their character. I always go for the ninja chick despite being the least athletic person I know, because, well, ninjas are badass. Because you designed that persona, you’ll be invested in them and their well being, kind of like a parent.
Ask for updates and, if you’re up for it, help them level up and change their look as the game progresses—now, most of our conversations regularly include the phrase “Does this look ninja-y enough for you?” It’s actually pretty easy to sit next to your gamer and read a book, hang out on your phone or laptop, and just look up occasionally. Keep your gamer in check by making sure they’re playing your character the way that fits them best—seriously, if I catch him giving my assassin a war hammer one more time…
This way, you’re involved, but not necessarily invested.
If you don’t mind giving a little extra time and attention, then catch up on a storyline. I know a lot of people assume that video games are all violence and gore, but there’s actually a surprising amount that have really complicated, extensive lore.
It’s like picking a movie: there’s the heartbreaker (The Witcher 3), the funny one (Fallout: New Vegas), the sexy time (Mass Effect 3) and the good ol’ RPG (Fable). Pick your genre and run with it. All of these games that I’ve mentioned involve decisions that change the outcome of the game. You’ll be the brains of the operation, and the gamer, the brawn.
Dictate how the story goes and they will have no choice but to abide by your wishes. I always try to play the evil dictator route, but I have no backbone and always end up feeling super guilty.
This way, you get all the glamour and glory without having to go through the trauma of controller malfunction. You will never feel more powerful in your entire life than when you brutally murder an innocent bystander for referencing you without showing the proper amount of respect. *CAUTION: MAY BE DANGEROUS WHEN PRESENTED TO THE POWER HUNGRY*
Give it Another Shot
I know. I spent the entire first 300 words of this article complaining about how awful it is to actually play these games. But I’m a hypocrite as well as an avid inept.
There are some games that are super simple and intensely interesting. The GameCube alone has tons of smashingly satisfactory games that are also relatively uncomplicated. And, better yet, you can play them with your people! For example, there’s Mario Kart, a race to see who has pay for the pizza, Super Smash Bros, the ultimate brawl for bragging rights, and Pikmin 2, a co-op battle against the elements (it’s not as hard as I make it sound and is almost entirely a puzzle game).
If you want to get a little more technical, try out Rayman Origins on the Wii. It might take you a few minutes to really get the control down pat, but once you do, you and your partner will embark on a magical journey full of colors and adventures. It’s so much funky fun that you might think you’re tripping.
For those of us that have been through too much already, being suffocated by cords and all, let’s resort to the one form of technology we do know: the computer. Puzzle games, like Portal 2, might be more your forte. It’s a multiplayer and your impressive logic skills are all that’s required—the dialogue is not bad either. Or, try out a classic like Castle Crashers. People in our generation grew up with this kind of game, and will be more than happy to share in the crude, but creative killing of creatures with you by their side.
I felt that this game needed its own category.
There are just so many platforms on which to play it: Gameboy, online, card game, etc. If you really hate video games enough to have a vendetta against them, then learn the card game or look up the memes and jokes online. You can enjoy the game without ever having to play it and then discuss it with gamers. It’s kind of a cop-out, but I won’t tell if you don’t.