So you want to get your significant other into games?
A genuine "girl gamer" (but don't let her see you call her that) dishes out the advice for guys with girlfriends of all types...
Let's face it. The chance of you turning your significant other (SO for short) into a hardcore gamer is about the same as the chance of you perfecting a flambe featuring frog-legs simmered in a cranberry infused tequila and mango reduction.
Don't let that discourage you though. With all the choices in games out now, there's no way that you can't find something to entertain your SO. One thing to keep in mind is that even though you may think GTA Liberty City Stories is the best thing since Wi-Fi, it may not be what your SO thinks of as fun. It doesn't take magic pixie dust, or arcane spells to get your SO to enjoy games. All you need to do is know what type of person they are and find a game that suits their personality.
Big Brain Academy
If your SO is always racing you to the top of the stairs, then competitive games might be a good introduction to the world of gaming. The easiest game to pick up for a competitive newbie is Big Brain Academy. If there's only one DS in the house, it's still possible to share the game. Just create separate save files in the game and compete to see who has the best brain weight. What's good about this game is that it doesn't require much mastery of the control pad, so even the newest of newbies will be able to get on just fine.
Mario Kart DS
If your SO is familiar with handling controllers, then Mario Kart DS may be a good starter game. There's just something about cartoonish racers and flying turtle shells that makes a game inviting. Just try not to totally crush their hopes of winning the race early on. If racing is too much pressure, there are alternative game modes included in the game: popping opponent's balloons or collecting Shines.
If your SO is more of a goal-oriented type who likes the feeling of accomplishment in a high-stress situation, then Trauma Center is your best bet. The touch screen interface is intuitive during operations, and the melodramatic story is an entertaining breath of fresh air after a hard operation. The later levels are frustrating, but that only means they'll be spending more time on the DS, and the goal is to get them to play more anyway, right?
[What about Tetris DS?!? - Ed]
Animal Crossing Wild World
Nurturing types may find Animal Crossing to be right up their alley. Without any pressure to finish a goal, except for paying off that slum lord Tom Nook, your SO can relax and play the game at their leisure. Fishing, picking fruits, painting a neighbor's face, and digging up buried treasure can make down-time a little more laid back. If there are two DS's lying around and you also have the game, visiting each other's town can count towards "quality time" spent together without having to be physically around each other.
What's better than having a yappy little dog following you around? Not having a yappy dog following you around. That, my friends, is where the magic of Nintendogs comes in. If your significant other has been pestering you with pleas to get a puppy, but you think it's a bad idea, surprise them with Nintendogs. It's like having a dog without any of the responsibilities. This way, instead of wasting your time picking up poop, your SO can waste time picking up virtual poop.
I have yet to see someone watch me play a music rhythm game and not want to give it a try.
Elite Beat Agents
What music lover can pass up the chance to tap a plastic stick on beat to catchy music? Elite Beat Agents is so intuitive, even the Japanese version is playable without mastery of the language. While the game is easy to pick up, it's tricky to master, especially in the later stages of normal difficulty. If your SO enjoys EBA, they might also enjoy its Japanese counterpart for a change in music. This is why I call this game the gateway drug to imports.
Don't let the kiddie visuals fool you. GitarooMan Lives! is one hard music game. That doesn't mean it can't be fun though. If your SO has any interest in music, or better yet, in guitars, this is an ideal holiday purchase. There's romance, a cute canine sidekick, and of course, rocking out with the guitar. GuitarooMan feels less like a game and more like just jamming to music, so it might be possible to trick your SO into playing it.
So you say your SO pays attention to detail. (Maybe a little too much attention?) These people are perfect for playing games like Phoenix Wright, where scrutinizing every little thing wins the game. Your SO may think that games like Animal Crossing, or Super Mario Brothers are too kiddie, so why not give them something to challenge their minds? In no time, they'll be shouting "Objection!" whether the DS is on or not.
[subhead]Complete Gaming Newbs[/subhead]
Not to be confused with n00bs, gaming newbs are those who don't know much about gaming, but are curious and willing to learn. Games like LocoRoco are right up their alley. LocoRoco shouldn't scare them away thanks to the practically nonexistent learning curve. (Unless they're scared of roundish smiley things). The charming visuals and simple gameplay should keep them interested enough for them to get used to controlling things on screen, which can lead them on to other games.
Me and My Katamari
Once they get used to controlling things in a video game, your SO should be ready to play Me and My Katamari. Unless they're a fun-hating grinch, Me and My Katamari would be a good way to introduce them to the art of the analog stick. They don't necessarily have to master subtle movements with the stick in the game, which means they won't get frustrated. Besides, the worst thing that could happen if they screw up the controls is that they accidentally roll up a crossing guard instead of a park bench.
Dragon Quest Rocket Slime
Dragon Quest Rocket Slime appeals to both the hardcore and the newbie gamer. The hardcores like the spin-off from one of the greatest RPG series of all time, and the newbies like the approachable gameplay. There are no complicated controls to master: just the directional buttons to move, and holding down a face button while moving in a direction to rubber-band into enemies. Playing this game could turn into a co-op opportunity if your SO doesn't get the mechanics of tank battles right away. You can have them play the exploration part of the game (and send them to fetch more ammo for your tank) while they watch you do the tank battles. And if they get bored of that, they might even want to try out a tank battle for themselves.
Remember this isn't a definitive list of games to rope your SO into gaming. Rather, the games mentioned are just suggestions to fit their personality. Ultimately, find a game that fits their personality and the rest should be easy.