Whether its your friend, girl friend, sister, mom or grandma (yea, even dear old Nana too), getting any and all of them to turn gamer is (relatively) easy. And, in the end, you might be pleasantly surprised that not only have they some prior experience but also that they may end up owning you in certain games. So check your ego and follow these steps, and in time you’ll have a gamer girl on your hands.
Ok, so after some research and interviews, I’ve broken down the process into numbered steps to make it simpler and applicable to all. Remember the steps are a guideline and not a rule book; also it applies to any age female who can play video games healthily.
STEP 1. RESEARCH
Now don’t be scared and have flashbacks of pop quizzes and papers due for class when the word research rears its ugly little head. All this entails is simple talking to the would-be-gamer gal. Ask the “target” if they have EVER played a video game in their lives.
If YES, get them talking and explaining the game even if you know that game in and out. Seem interested and involved. The point in this step is to gain knowledge and make the “target” nostalgic.
If NO, ask if they are willing to try one if it appealed to them and it meant that you two could spend some time together. (Remember, gaming can be an addiction, and any good dealer knows that first you give them a little sample of something they’d like.) In this instance nostalgia is irrelevant to getting the “target” hooked.
STEP 2. INTERACTION
This step is all too often made way too early and damages the taste for gaming that is vital for taking the “target” from indulging to eager. So now that you have the info to gauge the history vs. the willingness to game (ie: Step 1) it’s now time to hook her. Remember, 90% of controlling a person and getting them to do what you want is controlling the environment. So take the increasingly closing window of time you have after they are captivated to have them commit to a game day. The odds drop for success here due to the unpredictability of timing and attention span of the “target”. So what to play on game day? Well, if you followed the steps so far you have a vague idea. I’ll use my grandmother as an example here. Growing up my mother introduced me to Mario Bros. for NES and my grandmother played with me once or twice then too, so I know she is alright with 2D adventure games that work with two buttons and a D-Pad. So on game day I’d bring Mario Bros. (the original that’s available for download on the Wii), Namco classics for PS3, and Jeopardy (she loves the farking show). So for beginners I’d recommend a simple action game, a classic arcade title and a family game. Now that your armed, go forth to the next step.
STEP 3. SUPPORT
I’m sure that you gamers out there have been in a situation at one point or another where your enjoying a game and a friend or someone in the room fracas stuff up by “backseat gaming”. You can tell this is a pet peeve or mine, but I do see the appeal to sometimes shout “Nooo! Don’t jump into the hole after a mushroom.” But self control is key to help someone get along in a video game when they are feeling a bit unsure. Make it fun, first and foremost, then add encouraging reinforcement like, “Aww you almost got it. You made it further than I thought” and “Don’t let that little monster kill you, its just pixels and your smarter”, or whatever the situation will suggest. You can permanently mess up a virgin gamer’s enjoyment by backseat gaming or getting mad at them for not passing a level you could do in your sleep while having a seizure.
STEP 4. FEED THE HABIT
This is less of a step and more like the icing on the cake. So now that Nana or mom or whomever has had a taste and taking a liking to something, Sonic the Hedgehog, for example, it’s time to feed the need. She will have a birthday or holidays or anniversary coming up soon and first on your shopping list should be…c’mon guess. Yes, a game and/or gaming system with a game just for her. But the trick , like any addictive things, is supplying the same product with a taste for something more and better. So in the gift include the same game you introduced her too and something slightly more advanced to create the ladder to ascend in the gaming world.
So, if you follow these guidelines I’m sure success for your attempt to create a new girl gamer is in your grasp. Play it safe and pay it forward.