Steam Sale: 7 Games for your Girlfriend

Two things I hear from my gaming male friends often are “I can’t find a girl that games!” and “How can I get my girlfriend to play video games?”. Steam is currently having a huge blow-out sale on hundreds of video games for the Mac/PC until July 4th, and with prices cheaper than a trip to the movies, there is no better time to get your lady a video game.

I’ve compiled a list of games the ladies would enjoy despite being unfamiliar with the whole video game genre. These are also the best of the cheapest, because when a game is less than $10, how can your girlfriend get turned off by the price?

In order of ascending difficulty:

1. Osmos, for $4.99

This game is the exact opposite of those “damn noisy shooters” you like to play and is perfect for the lady who has limited to no experience with video games. As the above video demonstrates, this game is as close to a yoga session for your brain as it gets. You have to be patient, flying through space in your quest to eat other orbs. The saying “Good things come to those who wait” is applicable in describing Osmos game play. You have to stay calm and move slowly, or risk colliding into a bigger orb that will eat you. Despite this games simplicity, the levels do get a bit harder as you progress through the game; there is some sort of challenge (I moved too fast and flew into the sun a couple of times).

You can play Osmos for as short increments of time as 5 minutes (a level), and feel satisfied.

2. Blueberry Garden for $4.99:

If you’re looking to get out of seeing another bizarre European indie film, get your gal this game instead. Designed by a Swede, this beautiful and quirky game reminds me more of an interactive art piece than a video game. Don’t be fooled: there is a goal in this game, not made evident by the above trailer.  If Ebert played this game he would give up his silly notion that video games are not an art form. Bobbie Johnson, from the UK Guardian, described this game as ” a dainty piece of indie magic”: “I almost wanted to put it in a ribbon-wrapped box with a kitten and cry a little”.

Blueberry Garden is more fast paced than Osmos and Machinarium.

3. Machinarium for $9.99:

Like Blueberry Garden, Machinarium is highly stylized:  the music and attention to detail remind me of a less-creepy-more-upbeat Tim Burton with a touch of vintage (and maybe a hint of German Expressionist film?). Machinarium is a slower paced puzzle and adventure game (you can stand still for 5 minutes and nothing will happen to your retro robot-  except him doing cute poses in his boredom). Game play is just point and click, and if you are having trouble figuring out a level you get one hint. If the hint isn’t enough, you can play a mini-game off the top right of your screen to unlock a walk-through manual, so you are never stuck.

The storyline is whimsical, and unless your lady has a heart made of stone, she will be charmed by Machinarium.

4. Audiosurf, for ONLY $2.50:

Does your girlfriend like music? Silly question, because she probably does!  The official website for Audiosurf  describes this  puzzle racer as “riding your own music”, and I am hard pressed to think of another way to describe this game. The track, speed, and puzzles change based on the  music  you chose.  If your girl has seen Guitar Hero or Rock Band played at a party, the race track should be somewhat familiar to her. Here is a link to Poker Face on Audiosurf, in case your gal wants to see what that is like.

If your lady has not played Rock Band or Guitar Hero, this will make her more comfortable doing so (fast scrolling button combinations).

5. Sid Meier’s Pirates! for $7.50.

Sid Meier’s Pirates! is a  role- playing game, so is guaranteed to engage your girlfriend for at least 30 – 60 minutes at a time. Ladies,  how can you not like the idea of being a handsome pirate seeking revenge? Despite this game being over 5 years old, it is still a shipload of fantastic fun. Replay value is high,  and the controls are easy to pick up and involve a lot of mouse clicking. Sid Meier’s Pirates incorporates  a variety of mini games (one is “dancing”: you try to get the prettiest governor’s daughter to fall in love with you) into a huge world map, and I’ve found fans of this game in unexpected people in unexpected age groups. If a 60 year old woman can enjoy this game, chances are your girlfriend will too (have her watch the above instructional video complete with a nice male accent).

This is an older game so your girlfriend’s graphics card should be able to handle it.

6. City of Heroes bundle, for $13.40, plus monthly/yearly subscription fee. (More than $10, I know, but it is TWO games!)

If you’re really into World of Warcraft and your lady shows no signs of interest, or worse, annoyance, I recommend City of Heroes.  Maybe she would rather control the elements, fly above skyscrapers, or set bad guys on fire as a super sexy superhero, than play as a dopey elf in robes?

City of Heroes was the first superhero MMO when it came out 6 years ago, and everything from the environment to the music reflect that comic book mentality. Your girlfriend will love this game for two reasons: first, CoH has won numerous awards for its character customization. You can customize anything from hair style and color, to tattoos, to shoulder armor, to knee high length boots, leather corsets and booty shorts, to the colors of your powers, glowing eyes, wings, capes, every single thing you can possibly think of, there are options for it. No two characters in this game can ever be alike. I used to spend at least an hour customizing my characters.    Reason #2: this game is team based. In order to accomplish good, hard missions, you need to work together with different types of characters.  Everyone has a role in your team, and in order for your team to survive you must work well together.  The CoH interface is also more intuitive than the World of Warcraft interface, and you don’t have to worry about picking up dropped items after you kill every single person.

This is an older game so your girlfriend’s graphics card should be able to handle it.

7. Braid, for $9.99

Chances are, your girlfriend says Super Mario Bros was her favorite game, and possibly the only game she’s ever played. Why not re-introduce her to the world of platformers once again, with Braid?   The plot is similar to Mario in that you believe you are trying to rescue a princess from a monster, but early on clues arise that she left you because of a mistake you committed. The “braid” is the vivid memory of her braid turning away from you after you hurt her.  The romantic undertones cannot be missed.

Braid is not a simple platformer: this game also has increasing difficult puzzles, and philosophic undertones that some gamers  speculate are about about nuclear war (??). The music and backdrop of Braid are absolutely gorgeous (intentionally appearing as moving paintings), and should be an easy sell for your girl.

Diner Dash, or any other equivalent, is not on this list as those games albeit fun and popular with the ladies, tend to induce stress and decrease your chances of getting laid later.

2 Comments on “Steam Sale: 7 Games for your Girlfriend”

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