Over our vacation last week, I gave my girlfriend something that I wasn't sure she would like. Now, normally I'm pretty conservative when getting gifts for her. I know what she likes and doesn't care for, since we've been together for over 10 years now. But this year, I decided to go with something that was a bit of a gamble. See, my girlfriend isn't very much of a gamer at all. Sure, she'll sit and watch me vapourize Necromorphs in Dead Space or whack Daedra in Oblivion or explore ancient ruins in Tomb Raider. But give her the controller and she's a little bit lost. Too many buttons, complicated games, lots of reading...it's not really her thing.
This isn't surprising. She didn't grow up with a game system in her house the way that I did. Yeah, every so often she would play Super Mario Bros. on a friend's NES, but that's far different from owning the system itself. Occasionally, she will play Alchemy or Minesweeper on the computer. We're talking casual gamer to the extreme.
She's still a casual gamer, but I'm slowly bringing her out of her shell. And earlier this week, I helped pry that shell open a little bit further by giving her a Nintendo DS (pink, of course) and a few games. Mindful of the fact that she'll probably never play it for more than an hour or so at a time, I tried to stick with things that she could easily pick up and put down again and that would be very simple for her to learn to use. To that end, she received "Brain Age", "CrossworDS", "Dogz", "Catz", and "Imagine: Animal Doctor". You should have heard her squeal when she opened the box with all her goodies in it...you'd have thought I bought her the moon itself.
So far, Brain Age and CrossworDS are the hits, and we have worked together on a few of the puzzles in CrossworDS but she has been able to get most of them herself (granted, we're still on Easy difficulty here...) Imagine my surprise when, coming back from eating lunch, she asked if we could stop at the local game store so she could see what kinds of other games they had. We walked in, and she was entranced by the large wall of DS games available, gleefully pointing out such titles as NintenDogs, Garfield's Nightmares, M&Ms Cart Racer, My Little Pony, and a collection of classic board games. I do believe I've created a monster. She picked out "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" for herself, and told me to pick a game for myself to play on it when she's not using it. Not one to turn down an offer like that, I snatched up "Dragon Quest IV," which is the game that I very nearly bought a DS to play since it's a remake of my favorite NES-era RPG of all time.
So I believe I can very safely say to everyone else out there: if the significant other in your life isn't a gamer, buy him or her a Nintendo DS and a few casual games for it. You'll be doing her, and yourself, a huge favour.