Many of us know the sadness of trying to share our passion for games with our beloved better halves, only to be met with disinterest or at best half-hearted attempts to participate. But with this list of surefire hits, you may finally be able to bring her into your magical little corner of OZ! ----- (Disclaimer: This list's title refers to the non-gamer wives and girlfriends out there as the author recognizes the many serious female gamers who take gaming as, or more, seriously than any guy. Overall the list is probably just as useful for female gamers trying to bring their non-gaming guys into the fold.)

Classic mario-style platforming with accessible controls and forgiving difficulty in a setting so decidedly girly it's almost offensive; except that the princess is so capable and the gameplay so fun that it's actually worth your time to play through also.

Golf is a popular women's sport in real life and I can vouch for at least one woman who likes it in videogame form. :) There are tons of arcade-style golf games out there for pretty much every system; Mario Golf is just one possibility. On the DS, True-Swing golf is a good bet. Also worth considering are pinball games such as Metroid Prime Pinball on the DS, or pretty much any of the mario sports games not specifically mentioned elsewhere in this list.

Also available on the PS2, the Bible game is a fun gameshow-style party game that can be played single player vs computer opponents or 4 players at a time. The quiz show asks well known old-testament Bible questions or you can go straight to the action with the simple minigame-only mode. There are lots of alternatives such as the Mario Party(GCN) games and Fuzion Frenzy(XBOX) but none of them will show her your spirtual side like the Bible Game.

Its hard to get more straightforward than hitting a ball back and forth, and yet somehow it's still really fun. Be prepared to play with her as it's really much more fun human vs human. If you don't have a Gamecube, Top Spin Tennis on the XBOX is a decent substitute, albeit a bit less inviting to the non-gamer.

Chances are she'll be better than you in at least some of the challenges this game throws at you, and will enjoy flaunting her superiority. Plus if she really likes to feel brainy she'll love the sudoku puzzles included on the card. For a fun two player challnge try sending the download demo to a second DS and racing to see who can complete their sudoko puzzle quicker! Not much in the way of alternatives on other systems, maybe a pad of crossword puzzles and a copy of Isaac Asimov's book "Realm of Numbers"?

The key here is to start her on a new savegame file at the 50cc level so she can enjoy unlocking everything herself and gradually build up to the more difficult races without getting discouraged, (and don't pressure her to learn powerslides if she isn't interested.) Stick to single player or full screen 2 player cooperative modes until she's got the hang of it and soon the simple beauty of this modern classic will begin to show her what we see in these silly games anyway. MarioKartDS is also an excellent choice for owners of Nintendo's dual-screen system. On Xbox, Project Gotham 2 is a possible alternative, but far from ideal.

This game is an unqualified hit with the ladies. The simple and addictive gameplay and cute story just seems to reel them in. The only reason this game isn't higher on the list is because she'll be occupying your precious computer six hours a day once you get it for her. Alternatives are pretty much all from the same company, who sell their games via the web. Diner Dash 2 is out now and better than the first in my opinion.

The cute critters that inhabit animal crossing have a strange tendency to become almost real to fans of the game. Each has a distinct personality and set of needs and when one moves away, people have been known to cry. The gameplay is virtually zero-pressure with virtually unlimited replay value. Also available on Gamecube, there's really nothing else quite like Animal Crossing.

Chances are she probably already knows how to play this game, and if she happens to be an old pro she'll really enjoy competing online with the built in WiFi matchmaker. The half dozen modes of play are bound to give her lots to explore on top of a readily accessible foundation. Tetris Worlds on the Xbox is a poor substitute but may suffice if you don't have a DS, especially since it can be bought for like 4 bucks at eb/gamestop bundled with some starwars game.

The top dog's spot has to go to Nintendogs. Whether she's young or, err... less young, this title has virtually universal appeal. Low-pressure fun playing with (and taking care of) adorable virtual puppies combined with just enough "game" action from the dog show competitions ensure she'll be off your bac... err having fun for months to come! If you don't have a DS you're pretty much out of luck, something about the touch screen just makes virtual pets seem more real.

The DS is really the system of choice for the casual gamer but there are casual-friendly games available on every system. The key is to start them off with games that wont overwhelm them but are deep enough to keep their interest. Another rule of thumb is the fewer buttons a game requires you to use, the more likely your non-gaming loved one is to enjoy it. Keep these games and tips in mind as you travel down the gaming tunnel of love!

List by humantarget00 (05/26/2006)

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