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How to Get Started Playing Video Games as a Girl

Updated on July 5, 2015
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Jessica started playing video games when she was a child. She has a gaming PC and Nintendo 3DS. She prefers roleplaying and adventure games.

What Video Games Do Girls Want to Play?

So you’re a girl who wants to play video games? Girl gamers aren’t truly a minority - they actually make up about 47% of the gaming population - but are perceived and labeled this way. Some speculate the problem lies in video games targeted solely at the male audience, such as games starring male characters or those requiring advanced knowledge of gaming controls. Women have been shown to prefer role playing games with more in-game communication versus fast-action first-person shooters with less plot or storyline. All generalizations aside, girls essentially play the games that they enjoy; not all girls like role playing games; many girls enjoy (and dominate) first-person shooters!

The best way to figure out what video games you’d like is to brainstorm what sort of things you are interested in! Try thinking of the toys you used to play with when you were a child. Did you like building with Legos? Maybe you had your own set of plastic farm animals, or some action figures from your favorite movie. Did you prefer puzzles? Video games are a form of escapism from reality, just like your toys from your childhood. Don’t forget your current interests as well! Listing your greatest hobbies and interests can help you determine what sort of video games you’d rather play.

Example Interests
Potential Games
Animals / Animal care
Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon
Interior design
The Sims (any version)
Reading fantasy books
Dragon Age, World of Warcraft
Solving puzzles
Portal, Scribblenauts
Word games
Words With Friends

Deciding on a type of video game is often easier by watching someone else play the game first. Video game playthroughs, often called a “Let’s Play”, have become popular across the internet as a way to introduce other people to a particular video game and have fun in the process. You can search YouTube for users who specialize in Let’s Play videos and learn about new and popular video games available. By viewing the content, style and controls of the game, you can decide if a video game is right for you.

Searching the gaming category on YouTube will help you find Let's Play videos.
Searching the gaming category on YouTube will help you find Let's Play videos. | Source

If you have friends who play video games, ask if you can watch them play a few (or play with them!). Watching a video game being played firsthand, along with the reactions of friends, is a good way to find your favorites. Do your friends look like they are having fun? Does the game involve a lot of complex button-pushing? Maybe the game they are playing seems too tough for your taste? If they let you give the game a shot, test it out for yourself. If it seems fun, you may have found a game to get you started!

Portal requires players to solve puzzles with portals and other objects.
Portal requires players to solve puzzles with portals and other objects. | Source

Finding Great Video Games to Play

When beginning your journey to discovering your favorite video games, it would be best to learn about different genres. Video game genres help categorize video games based on game interaction and challenges. Many gamers have favorite video game genres, while others prefer dabbling in everything. Excluding the many sub genres of video games, the basic categories focus around a few major genres, as seen below.

Game Genres
Game Elements
Quick reflexes, accuracy, timing, advanced controls
Interaction with environment, puzzles, reading
Roleplaying characters, character development, skill development
Quick reflexes, accuracy, projectile weapons, teamwork
Simulate reality or fictional world, people or vehicles
Quick thinking, skillful planning to earn victory

What video game genre do you prefer?

See results

Action games tend to involve combat in some shape or form, such as first or third-person shooters and fighting games. The games involve fast reflexes and memorization of the various controls to improve reaction time. The action game genre is very broad with numerous sub genres, such as:

  • fighting games
  • hack and slash
  • first/third person shooters
  • stealth games

Fighting games center around two characters fighting one-on-one, usually in a set number of rounds. Games like this may have a singleplayer storyline mode along with multiplayer capability. Fighting games almost always involve complex button combinations to use advanced fighting moves. Hack and slash games, on the other hand, revolve around taking on large numbers of enemies at a time, usually with melee weaponry. There are less controls to deal with, but many more enemies.

The difference between first and third-person shooters is the perspective; when playing a first-person shooter game, you feel more involved with the game and the character. In a third-person shooter, the character is visible and you have a greater view of the environment. For both sub genres, shooting projectile weapons is still the main point of the game.

First-person shooters involve weapon accuracy and mobs of enemies.
First-person shooters involve weapon accuracy and mobs of enemies. | Source

Top Adventure Game

Adventure games are not as popular today as they started out to be. This genre includes simple text adventures to immense fantasy environments. These games feature strong story lines, challenging puzzles and comedic dialogue. If you decide to play an adventure game, you may or may not end up doing lots of reading. Double Fine Productions’ The Cave is a new and popular mix of an adventure and platform game.

Roleplaying games are all about controlling characters in a massive fictional world. These types of video games involve questing for rewards and experience that goes toward increasing your character(s) levels and abilities. Roleplaying video games are usually paired with an expansive storyline. Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (abbreviated MMORPGs) are roleplaying games played over the internet with other players; MMORPGs allow players to campaign and quest together in the same immense world. World of Warcraft, Dragon Age and The Legend of Zelda series are all popular roleplaying games.

Roleplaying games often offer advanced character customization.
Roleplaying games often offer advanced character customization. | Source

Gaming Consoles

Note: Many video games are multi-platform, meaning they are released on multiple gaming consoles. Because of this, your game selection may not determine whether you buy an Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or a gaming computer. The main exception is the Nintendo franchise; Nintendo games are limited to consoles like the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS. If your game-of-choice is multi-platform, the decision is yours! Research the pros and cons of different gaming consoles for clarity.

Simulation games are exactly what they sound like - simulations of something in reality or a fictional world. This can be of a city, people, sports or others. There are flight simulators, as well as dating sims, racing sims, medical sims and more! The Sims series are popular simulation video games where players control the lives of other people, called Sims.

Lastly, strategy video games are great for gamers who enjoy intense thinking and planning. Much like playing a board game, strategy games require a skilled mind and, at times, patience. Games like Age of Empires or Starcraft, for example, give players control over a particular civilization and challenge them to build an empire and take out their enemies. Players need to think about defenses as well as offenses. Many strategy games today are massively multiplayer with optional singleplayer campaign modes.

Having Fun Playing Video Games

Once you’ve got an idea of what genre or type of game you’d enjoy, take it and run with it. Having fun is one of the most important parts of playing video games; if you don’t enjoy yourself while playing a game, why play at all? Learning the controls of a new video game or honing your reflexes and accuracy can be tough, but as long as you enjoy yourself while playing, you’ll enjoy the experience. If your motivation is lacking, try playing with friends! You can play in cooperative mode, or take turns playing in singleplayer mode. Whatever you do, don’t take the game too seriously. The more you get annoyed with a game or other players, the less likely you’ll want to go back and play again. Never let something trivial push you away from a game you enjoy.

© 2013 Jessica Peri


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