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Two-Player Games for Mixed Skill Level Players? 506

koreth asks: "What are some good two-player games that a newbie can successfully play with a more seasoned gamer? I want to find a good console or PC game I can play with my girlfriend, who has only recently started gaming. Something cooperative would be great, but head-to-head is fine too. All the games we've tried are made for players of roughly the same skill level -- so either I end up dumbing my gameplay way down (no fun for me) or blowing her out of the water without much effort (no fun for her). Is there any game out there that gives two players tasks of varying difficulty to keep both of them engrossed, at the same time?"
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Two-Player Games for Mixed Skill Level Players?

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  • Coop all the way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toleraen ( 831634 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @07:56PM (#14937904)
    You're probably best off going coop games. If you're going PC games, any MMOG would probably do the trick. There's a decently steep learning curve, but you can help each other out quite effectively. WoW is a really easy game to teach newbies: as a very casual gamer, my wife picked up on it pretty quickly.

    If you're not limiting yourself to PC, a Gamecube would be a good place to go. There are plenty of games for the veteran and the hardcore alike. Of course all I can think of is the NES days with coop games like Guerrilla War, the Double Dragon series, TMNT games, etc etc. Classic NES games are hard to beat. Easy to learn, but still a whole lot of fun! When I game with my wife, the NES probably gets used the most.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      3rd person hack & slash games are great fun co-op. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Gauntlet, or Champions of Norrath are all good possibilities.
    • by JeffSh ( 71237 ) <> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:29PM (#14938090)
      MMOG's are terrible for coop playing. anytime ive tried playing an MMOG with friends (starting at the same time) one of us would always have a little bit more time, so their character would end up advancing past the others in the game (both in level and "place" in the game).

      • by toleraen ( 831634 )
        Well, since the submitter specifically asked about games to play with his significant other, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If my wife outleveled me in WoW, I dont think I'd be terribly upset =P You are right about MMOGs with other friends though...that's downright impossible to keep together!
      • City of Heroes has a very nice system that basically makes it nearly impossible for you to not be able to team with one other person.
        And it is so genre relevant that it isn't funny.
        After all, what would Batman be without his Robin or Batgirl? A sidekick is your friend indeed! ;)
      • Re:Coop all the way (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ArcticCelt ( 660351 )
        The trick is to both of you create a character that you only play together. Then if one of you have a little more time, you just create another one that you are free to level up to 70 with Epic fishing pool and Artisan mad bartending skills.
      • EQII in its lastest Live Update changed its "Mentoring" system (where a higher level player effectively becomes the same level as the player they mentor) The changes implemented make it VERY easy and userfriendly. I use it a lot with a friend who is lagging behind me.
    • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:38PM (#14938144)
      Guild Wars can give you the best of both online and offline gaming. Just you and your GF (plus AI henchmen) as you don't want other players to intrude on the two of you, no subscription fees, and none of the griefing you get in other MMOGs.

      Plus, a huge and wonderfully detailed world for the two of you to explore and to battle against, with no xp grinding, nor any of the other traditional MMOG timesinks that make some other popular worlds so tedious. The time saved can then be used ... on other things. :P

      • by ReverendLoki ( 663861 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:48PM (#14938193)
        I second this recommendation. Most standard MMOGs have a lot of grind forming a huge timesink, and if you are restricting it to times when you both can play, advancement will be even slower. Guildwars has a lot less grind to it, and you can make real progress in the time you play it, really conveying a sense of achievement. Plus, each account currently has slots for 4 characters, so you can also create another ton to play solo with. It's also decently easy to pick up and become good at (it's becoming great at it which is difficult... reminds me of those old Othello commercials).
    • Re:Coop all the way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:46AM (#14939767) Homepage
      The nice thing about sports games is that they all support co-op play. The bad thing about sports games is that she has to like some team sport, and so do you. This could be soccer, hockey, college basketball, or the rarer polo / lacrosse, etc.

      Rhythm music games are also a good choice, as A: most of them support independent difficulty levels and B: they're very easy to pick up. Dance Dance Revolution is a good starting point. Karaoke Revolution is a good one too. When Beatmania comes out in the west later this year, if she has any inclination I'd recommend it as well.

      Guitar Hero unfortunately doesn't have independent difficulty settings (Sorry!) but it's still worth picking up if I do say so myself.

      Another one that can be fun are RTS games. Yes, RTS games. If you're better / geekier than she is, just start her out on a map with a thousand strong horde of hideously beweaponed Orcish disembowlers, and take for yourself one small pikeman on a donkey. Most RTS games allow for this large degree of balancing, so find a theme that both of you can appreciate (or, let's be honest, she can appreciate), and run with it.

      You do get some nice dynamics in Shoot-em-ups where you can wind up protecting the lesser player, or they can valliantly die trying to save you. If both of you actually like the masochistic shooter formula then you could do much worse than Ikaruga []. Any game that lets player 2 take lives from player 1 is good.

      And as other posters pointed out, Guild Wars is a winner, fighting games have a large degree of balancing, MMORPG's are great but keep your characters at a similar level, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:01PM (#14937922)
    Your task will be killing her and her tasks will be running away, struggling with the keyboard and dying.
    • I've had to deal with a similar situation with a friend, except slightly modified where we were both 'hardcore' gamers. There was a time when our skill was rougly equal, with me winning more often than not. Then something kicked in and he got amazingly good. (as an aside, I don't "just suck". Other than he, I'm still arguably the best UT99 or UT2k4 player I know, and I go to an engineering school and live with 7 other guys, all of whom play the game)

      He liked to play 1on1 deathmatch, and our 1on1 rounds

      • I used to play Q1 with some guys who were completely inept. Eventually I just started what I termed the choo-choo train, where I'd run laps on dm6 with the grenade launcher, with the firebutton held in. They never succeeded in killing me, and I had a hilarious time just seeing their faces as they were trying to get each other with the shot gun only to see me running through the room with a hail of explosions following.
  • by Vaevictis666 ( 680137 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:05PM (#14937944)
    Most fighting games have a handicap system that essentially alters the damage dealt. Turn your damage way down, and hers way up, and then tweak them as she learns the system. I can particularly recommend Super Smash Brothers Melee for this, as it even has an auto-handicap system.
  • handicap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alexhard ( 778254 )
    Look for games that allow handicaps to be set. Like the latest AoE, if you are both into RTS.. Handicap yourself to death..challenging for you and ultimately brings you both to approximately the same level of skill after playing around with the handicap values a bit..
  • Girlfriend? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jollyroger1210 ( 933226 ) <jollyroger1210@g ... inus threevowels> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:09PM (#14937974) Homepage Journal
    Theres this game I play with my girlfriend, but it's not a video game.... try it
  • by Jumbo Jimbo ( 828571 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:10PM (#14937977)
    Something less than complex is probably the way to go. My girlfriend doesn't enjoy playing PC games with me, but does enjoy playing Super Mario Kart on the gamecube - I know it's console but maybe that accounts for the easier learning curve, which is good as she's a relative novice at gaming.

    Another one, though I haven't played for years, that I would suggest would be Super Bomber Man or a sequel - easy to pick up and fun.

    And the person above who suggested a MMO has an excellent point, though depends how casual you want the gaming to be as they generally require a large investment of time.

  • Dr Mario has handicapping ability. Mario Tennis - play doubles. You can pick computer players of different skill levels.
    • If you're serious about getting your girlfriend to play, then forget FPS, RPG's and all that. Get her into Puzzle Games. Games like Dr. Mario (as mentioned above) not only have handicaps, but you will find she will kick your arse as well. For some reason girls can "see" the game better... and they will win!

      For me, I bought my girlfriend a DS a copy of Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS and just recently Super Princess Peach. The key to getting her gaming with you is to get her to enjoy games in the first place. And
  • Super Monkey Ball (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Swimmin' Pants ( 911939 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:12PM (#14937993)
    I can't stress enough the sheer multiplayer bliss that can be found in the first Super Monkey Ball. It's a game that gets played a lot whenever my family gets together.

    Particularly the minigame "Monkey Target." No matter your skill level, you can have loads of fun; the game is competitive, but in a way that doesn't make it less fun if you get completely obliterated by your opponent. The sounds, colors, and animations make it easy to laugh about doing poorly, to the point where you don't even care who wins or loses. It's a lot of fun, either way.

    Plus, the cute graphics will probably make it easy for your girlfriend to get into.
    • I couldn't agree more. I love games, while my wife is not much of a gamer at all (she loved the original NES, but games have advanced to a point that they're just not enjoyable to her). However, we'll spend just about every evening together playing the "Monkey Race DX" in Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. The game is very simple, you control the monkey with a joystick and use one button to fire - there aren't any "power slides", super ultra-cool combos, or any "must win" moves that one needs to learn. Additiona
    • I own both Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2, and I find that I like the single player better in the first and the multiplayer better in the second. Monkey Target is definitely the best minigame. The main difference is that in Super Monkey Ball 1 you switch off, but in 2 you play up to four players at the same time so there is less down time.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:14PM (#14938008) Homepage Journal
    My wife and I are currently playing Dungeon Siege together. It is simple enough that any one with point and click experience and basic math skills can excel at it, but entertaining enough to keep you clicking forward.

  • by ynohoo ( 234463 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:14PM (#14938010) Homepage Journal
    the ancient oriental game of Go [] has has an excellent handicap system that keeps the game interesting, no matter how wide the skill difference.
    • I wouldn't go so far as to say "no matter how wide the skill difference." I would say that if you need more than a 4 stone handicap, then it doesn't matter if you opponent gives you a 9 stone handicap -- you're gonna get curb-stomped.
      • hell, I've played games with a 27 handicap! Believe me, it makes a difference :)
        Although by that stage you're better off switching to a smaller board...
      • That's not true at all, especially if you get into higher ranks... You could argue that 20k is always going to destroy a 30k, no matter what the handicap -- but that's only because 30k has very little knowledge of the game.

        A 5k and 10k can play a fairly even game with a 5 stone handicap, while the 10k will always win an 8-9 handicap game.

        I have to agree that "no matter how wide the difference" statement is reaching.. but some fairly wide differences can be evened out with handicap stones.
    • I was going to post the same. My gf has picked it up and loves it. Although we actually enjoy it more to play against other people online than to play against each other..
    • even with a nine stone handicap, an expert can probably beat a newbie
  • 'Cause if it does, I feel I should quote C-3P0:

    I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the wookie win.

    Seriously though, if you are up for 'lets work together', and don't mind sharing the controller/keyboard, I would recommend something more puzzle & adventure oriented. Could be a point 'n click, but it doesn't have to be. I mean, some of the older Tomb Raiders were good in this respect (puzzles); just remember to look at other parts of the screen once in a while or your plan may backfire. Let's face it, FPS' are more reaction time and fine motor control -- which can be fun -- but I have a sneaking suspicion your better half will appreciate something more cerebral.

    If you really do want a truly 2 player game, I would recommend something coop. If you have Half Life and more than one computer (and what self-respecting geek doesn't?), then give Sven Co-op [] a try. Play through Half Life co-operatively. There is also a huge map pack avaliable with decent maps; not all of which are quick-blast-everything-that-moves. Other choices include other coop games, such as Halo 2. I'm sure you can think of others without too much effort; eg sports games, racing games usually have > 1 player mode built-in, at least for consoles.

    Personally, I'd go for the one that gets you the most thanks-for-thinking-of-me-honey... points.

  • DDR/Stepmania (Score:3, Informative)

    by merreborn ( 853723 ) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:23PM (#14938052) Journal
    DDR lets each player select their own difficulty level.

    There's a open source knock off called step mania that's more feature-rich. Thousands of songs for step mania are available on the net, and you can add your own.
  • LEGO Star Wars, WC3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kaimelar ( 121741 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:25PM (#14938067) Homepage
    LEGO Star Wars is a very fun co-op game . . . it even allows you to drop in/out at any point, which is great if the phone rings, the oven timer goes off, etc. It's not terribly long, but the sequel will be out soon. :-)

    On the PC side, WarCraft III might be a good idea -- you can play against AI opponants, and select various handicaps for each player if desired.

    Puzzle games are a lot of fun to play together, too -- my wife and I have played Bookworm together and had quite the good time.
    • by Ratbert42 ( 452340 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:15PM (#14938317)
      I play Lego Star Wars with my daughter. It's a little easy for adults, but it's still a lot of fun. Easy to jump in and out of the game too.
    • I have to add my endorsement for Lego Starwars. I have mentioned it in other posts, but I have played it with my 7yo son, and he loves it. The drop in/drop out feature is great. If my son is playing on his own, I can drop in to help him through a difficult stage.

      He's had it since November and has just recently almost played it out.
  • by smaerd ( 954708 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:28PM (#14938080)
    ...beating each other with live cats.

    It's a little tricky setting up a game, but if you put about three ounces of rum in waterdish, they're easy to catch. That said, it's more fun to do it with sober cats... their claws have a higher chance of being extended at any given point in time.

    Now, if you start to get the knack of the game before she does, just drug her cat more. Her cat won't be as painful, but she'll be able to swing it harder without it trying to claw her eyes out.

    After a few rounds, you'll both be laughing, exhausted, and covered in each others' blood.

    Oh, and if you're both knocked unconcious, the cats will eat you. They'll start with with your tongues, btw.
  • Most fighting games have a good inbuilt handicap system which evens up the matches.

    Also the fact that my girlfriend used to punch me whenever I beat also soon evened up the matches until she kept winning.
  • Mario Party (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cy Sperling ( 960158 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:31PM (#14938103)
    My wife and I play a lot of Mario Party together. It has some tweakable handicapping anda pretty short learning curve. We usually play against 2 other computer controlled players. That sets up a nice dynamic where we can be competitive with each other but cooperative in screwing over the computer controlled players.

    Another great Japanese game is "Ribbit King"- [] sort of a weird golf game where you launch frogs off of a catapult to ultimately get the frog into the hole. You score points for getting teh frog to cover larger distances and interact with the dense kooky environment. It has a lot of charm goofiness and just the right amount of skill to be fun and never frustrating.
  • What type of game are you looking for? My wife and I played the Baldur's Gate series on the PS2 and had a lot of fun. Since it is strictly co-op, it's easy to help her, without handicapping yourself unduly. Also, the game is simple enough that she should be able to catch on quickly.
    We also play WoW together, and while I have a lot of UI mods and do some advanced stuff, she is a fairly basic user. Again, as long as she is willing to put some effort into it, it's easy enough to pick up and play.
    If you'r
  • doom II? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:37PM (#14938141) Homepage Journal
    deathmatch or Coop- I think it's great for this..

    if you REALLY KNOW YOUR MAPS, find some custom ones,

    if you really need to, restrict yourself to weapons BELOW 5, give here whataver she can locate to use...

    my wife really warmed up to it kinda quickly....

  • Get "Katamari Damacy", and "We 3 Katamari". They are both really fun and have great music. The first one has a better story and intro and the second one has the co-op play you are looking for. So if you are in a pinch just get the second one, but if you can splurge a bit get them both. (:
  • Plenty of games, Mario ones as mentioned, but the SSX games can be tailored to allow the novice to have more speed and control than it's a blast to play. My 3 yr old son isn't great at turning yet, but the snowboarders just bounce off of enough things that he keeps moving downhill.
  • Try this.

    Pick up a game at the store that neither of you have played, and agree that neither of you will play it except when you're both playing.

    That way neither one will hold the advantage of having played more. It might be a little hard to keep to it, but it should pay off... that or you'll get bored.
    • Pick up a game at the store that neither of you have played, and agree that neither of you will play it except when you're both playing.

      That way neither one will hold the advantage of having played more. It might be a little hard to keep to it, but it should pay off... that or you'll get bored.

      I can tell you, that will not work.

      My older brother purchased Total Annihilation: Kingdoms, and went 'easy' on me for the first game. Within the first 10 minutes, the game was over: I won.

      This was quickly followed

  • by egomaniac ( 105476 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:49PM (#14938201) Homepage
    World of Warcraft is a remarkably good couples' game. My wife and I play it whenever we get a chance and she's just as addicted to it as I am. I know a bunch of female WoWers -- it seems to appeal to women (even ones that don't like computer games) far more than most games.

    On top of that, it's a cooperative game which requires no particular amount of skill.
  • by *BBC*PipTigger ( 160189 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:52PM (#14938220) Journal
    Look no further than: []

    This game strikes an amazing balance by being both compelling for serious competition and entertaining for casual play. David Sirlin has a relevant article ( etual-comeback/ []) describing "perpetual comeback" as it pertains to Puzzle Fighter and why it makes that game so very fun.

    Are you still looking further?

    Well then...

    Another example of perpetual comeback is the fighting system in Battle Arena Toshinden ( en []) where each character has usually two special moves (in addition to their normal repertoire) that they can only perform once their health gets very low (i.e., they are about to be knocked-out). These moves (sometimes referred to as "desperation moves") usually do a great deal of damage and can easily turn the tide of a round or just win the round outright so they add cool intensity to the conclusion of many matches (even when one player is notably superior because they need to be extra careful to avoid getting hit by one or more of these "come-back" moves). These moves can be difficult to perform for those uninitiated to the common fireball and yoga-flame joystick movements they typically require but they totally have the best risk-vs.-reward benefit when a player is learning the game. I'd recommend studying and practicing the execution of those moves first to new players. Additionally, some characters have very easy ones like (if I remember correctly) Ellis and Sophia only need to press back, forward, back, forward + Triangle to do theirs. Choose an easy and fast character to start with until you learn enough to venture out.

    Of course there are some fun cooperative experiences (like Halo or MMOs) but if your partner shows an affinity for, and appreciation of, games requiring increasing reflexive (a.k.a. "twitch") skill, I would highly recommend the plethora of [] out there. Ikaruga ( []) must be mentioned as one of the greatest here. All threatening bullets and beams are either white (with blue highlights) or black (with red highlights). Similarly, each players' ship can flip over to alternate between those colors as well. When you're the same color as bullets, you absorb them into your shield and they store in a meter which can be unleashed as homing shots. When you are the opposite color of enemy ships, your shots do double-damage (but you're vulnerable to their bullets because they are the same color as them). It makes for awesome tension because the whole screen can be completely covered in bullets but at least half of it is always survivable space if you're the same color as the bullets occupying that space. Check out "bullet-eater" mode too. You can beat lots of levels without firing a shot (i.e., by just alternating to the right colors and dodging terrain features).

    Another great one is Raiden Project ( .html []) if you can find it for the old original PlayStation. That game had very interesting cooperative properties where certain shots would change characteristics and trajectory if they hit your friend's ship so sometimes it would be strategic to try to stay vertically aligned together (or overlay each other) to benefit from these special shots.

    There are lots of great cooperative Shmups but the only directly competitive one I have yet encountered is astonishingly fun. It is called Twinkle Star Sprites ( []
  • Lego Star Wars (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kredal ( 566494 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:01PM (#14938259) Homepage Journal
    It's got a great co-op mode, doesn't rely on both players being skilled, but has some parts that need you to work together and communicate on...

    It's available for consoles and the PC, and is a really fun game. (:
  • Mario Party (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent.jan.goh@ ... m minus math_god> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:07PM (#14938279) Homepage
    Any of the Mario Party series is ideal, since a lot of the games just rely on bashing on the buttons or doing something that dosen't necessarily take the hand-eye coordination of an experienced gamer. And if you find that you're kicking the crap out of her anyway, you can play it co-op.

    WarioWare is also good, because the games are so random that even an experienced gamer doesn't have a huge advantage.
  • Tekken... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ikarys ( 865465 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:11PM (#14938296)
    It's great :) Any version of Tekken. You can learn all the moves, and get uber good at it, and have really high end matches that feel intellectual and thought out ... and then still get ur ass whipped by an unpredictable button masher.
    • Re:Tekken... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by karnal ( 22275 )
      Bought Soul Calibur for the DC. Got myself pretty good at Kilik - long weapon range, and deadly combos....

      Have a friend that enjoys playing as well, but not as much skill to his Kilik fighting as I. So one night we decide to mix up a bunch of Tanqueray (I know the spelling is fucked up) no. 10 and tonic.

      By the middle of the night, we were both so messed up.... he was just mashing buttons WITH HIS EYES CLOSED kicking my ass all over the place.

      I was trying my hardest, but when drunk and laughing like crazy,
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash for the GameCube offers a fun cooperative style of play where one drives and one shoots and you can switch during the race. Best for the better player to drive most laps to start, then let the other player get more and more laps in until it's even since driving takes a lot of coordination and reflex decision making. Btw, tip : The better player drives the latter half of the race, this way you can have a final come form behind kick that makes everyone happy if the initial laps were
  • a few games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Polo ( 30659 ) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:18PM (#14938341) Homepage
    You know, there's really NO POINT to play a game that pits you against
    your girlfriend. Really, relationships are about cooperation, and there's
    a lot to benefit from an adrenaline experience if you're both on the
    same side. Show her things and help her up, stay away from
    the smack-down.

    Anyway, a few games from different genres...

    Katamari Damacy 1 is a really fun off-kilter game, but the 2-player mode is
    not that fun. I don't know about We Love Katamari (the 2nd in the series), but
    I think they fixed the multiplayer. It's quirky, simple to pick up and addictive.

    I think Dungeon Siege & DS2 are pretty good cooperative games for RPG-type
    games. Fighting is relatively easy and you can help each other. It's an
    attractive game too. Go out of your way to share the loot.

    For shooter games, Serious Sam and Serious Sam 2 are really
    fun cooperative games. They might be more guy games. I've
    had lots of fun attacking 300-foot-tall monsters with my friends.
    It doesn't matter about skill, because the better players just help protect
    the beginners and there is plenty of work to go around. Weapons
    and ammo that appear always have multiple copies, so there's no
    fighting over stuff.

    It's too bad that cooperative games are not as popular as they should
    be. I think it's because it requires extra effort and tweaking that most
    publishers don't bother with.

    Maybe if review sites put "cooperative play" or "family play" on their
    checklists, it might help with the situation.
    • Re:a few games (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cyberwench ( 10225 )
      I've always found that head to head games are more fun, with a partner. I suppose it depends on your personalities, though. I think I enjoy the ability to sit down and play a few rounds here and there without the levels to work through or the extended involvement you get with co-op games.
  • More or less any RTS will do it. They pretty much all give the option of having any configuration of players. So if you want you set her up with a couple of AI helpers and try take them all down. Alternatively you do what I did when I started playing Total Annihilation.

    Me and a friend both faught on the same team he had more experience so he was on defence. Meanwhile behind the lines I was building any ol base I wanted, which taught me what buildings there were and what they all did. Shortly after that I st
  • Serious Sam (Score:2, Informative)

    by minipulator ( 821212 )
    Hey there, I went through this same problem with my girlfriend before. She's a pro now, and we owe it to Serious Sam's co-op play. I will list my humble reasonings below: 1) Dying doesn't matter There are unlimited lives, so there's really no penalty for getting killed over and over again. 2) HORDES of enemies If she can get proficient at killing this many baddies at once, there's nothing she won't be able to overcome. 3) Wonky physics Levels turn upside down, gravity pulls you from side to
  • Back during junior high, a friend of mine and I used to whittle away many hours playing Bushido Blade 2 for the Playstation. I used to play a lot of Street Fighter type games, but my friends were never as big on them and didn't get into them much. So generally, if I got one of them to play me in Dead or Alive or something, I would get miles ahead of them.

    Bushido Blade 2 was a simple 3D samurai fighting game based on the "one shot, one kill" theory. If you cut someone in the leg, it slowed them down. I

  • You can play in a coop mode where you essentially play two parts of the same nation. You actually play different countries and have different cities and troops, but you share technologies, maps, etc. Civ 4 has pretty robust helper AIs so you don't have to micromanage if you don't want to. She can just do what she wants, let the game take care of the rest, plus have you around to bail her out if she gets attacked. As she gets more play experience, she can take over things the AIs handled for her.
  • by dextromulous ( 627459 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:02PM (#14938601) Homepage

    Why not play a card or board game or something else altogether?

    It is very easy to "mod" a RL game so that you can even the playing field. Examples follow:

    • "Risk" like games: Different distribution levels of armies.
    • "Go" like games: One player starts with more pieces on the board.
    • "Monopoly" like games: Start one player with a few properties.
    I could go on, but you get the point (I hope.)

    There are also some games that lend themselves better to n00bs like Cribbage... I can't count the number of times I've been beaten by people who just started playing, and I've been playing it for almost 20 years.

  • It's cute, it's simple, it's colorful, and it has a handicap system to help even out players of differing skill levels. (May be known as "Bust-a-Move" in your locale). Other good puzzle games include Super Puzzle Fighter 2, and even good ol' fashioned Tetris. Gauntlet 2 can also be good as an old-school choice, as it encourages working together for the best effect... even if you've got it on free-play.

    There are also some party games that do automatic leveling of the playing field. Mario Kart, Mario Doub
  • Serious Sam 2 is mindless co-op fun that does not require much upstairs to enjoy or get into. Something more engrossing is City of Hereos (or City of Villains). It's a MMORPG that was primarily built for the casual gamer, and is pretty easy to get into.
  • Two Words (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 )
    Monkey Island.
  • I don't know of any computer games that work well, but for a board game Knightmare chess allows people of almost any 2 skill levels to play chess against one another (if you play random card variation). You'll play your hardest, she'll play her hardest but the luck factor is deceptive so the games will turn out pretty 50/50.

  • Well, here's one my girlfriend and I play all the time, although it's Mac-only: []
    Bub & Bob 2, a damned good port of Bubble Bobble, for Mac OS X

    Plays better than any other Bubble Bobble port for PC that I've ever played (is it just me or are the ones for Windows totally shitty?)...

    We bust this out on the iBook at the coffee shop and play for hours whilst ingesting tasty coffee etc.. fun stuff! :)
  • I play Quake III Arena with my wife. The trick is to select bot levels that are somewhat challenging for you and not overwhelming for her. And not to (necessarily) kill her everytime I see her. :-)

    She likes the game for its escapist qualities; it allows her to take out certain aggressions...
  • My husband and I do this all the time. One of us will play some Zelda or Mario Bros title or whatever, and the other will watch, make suggestions, help out with the puzzles, etc. We'll usually take turns, when one has tried something several times or finds a particular stretch annoying or stressful, the other will take over. We don't have that many two-player games right now, so this is what we do most of the time.

    For actual two-player, I repeat the recommendations of things like Mario Kart and fighting g

  • Try one of those retro game collections...I've had fun playing Dig Dug, & Pacman with a girlfriend. She wasn't a gamer either, but she did waste a bit of her youth trying out video games in arcades/bowling alleys.

    She also ended up loving to play Bomberman once I showed it to her.

    Also someone already mention Capcom Puzzle Fighter, but don't forget the other, similar games like Puzzle Bobble, Puyo Puyo. Most of these type games come with a handicapping option.

  • VERY VERY fun game... My friend's GF got addicted to this one in no time, and out of me and my friend (even though we always win by strokes in the end) she is the one to pull off double eagles all the time. I know its a golf game, but expand your world a bit :)
  • FFIII! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stinkytoe ( 955163 )
    I can't believe no one had mentioned final fantasy III/VI! It'd be perfect! It has a great storyline, Edgar owns in the beginning just long enough to get over the learning curve, and you guys can pick which characters are controlled by whom and customize to your liking.
  • sex (Score:3, Funny)

    by papasui ( 567265 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:36PM (#14938787) Homepage
    I believe the 2 player game you are looking for is sex. Try not to blow her out of the water (unless she's still into that, haven't seen her in a while).
  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:49PM (#14938878)
    I want to find a good console or PC game I can play with my girlfriend, who has only recently started gaming.

    Lots of people on Slashdot play this game where they have girlfriends. It's fun to pretend!
  • by pammon ( 831694 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:04PM (#14938971)
    Title says it all!
    • by The Famous Brett Wat ( 12688 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:28PM (#14939110) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, the title says a lot, but I wish you'd elaborated a little. I would have modded you up instead of replying. Let that be a lesson to you.

      Anyhow, I also vote for "Dance Dance Revolution" and its ilk (see StepMania [] if your platform is a computer, not a console). If you haven't played before, then it's a toss-up as to whether you or your GF is going to be the better player, so the whole skill disparity thing may not be an issue. Even if you're a relatively experienced player, it's possible for two to play at widely different skill levels. And then, ultimately, it doesn't matter who wins: you mostly play to beat your personal best.

      On top of all that, it's a great way to get exercise. Be entertained and get fit at the same time. Get experienced enough that the soft mats don't cut it for you anymore, and upgrade to the hard platforms. Get good enough that you can go for half an hour on the hardest levels and work up such a drenching sweat that you both need to shower afterwards.

      DDR: a healthy addiction.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:15PM (#14939040) Homepage Journal
    You're looking for The Adventures of Cookies and Cream []. It's more puzzle-centric than action-oriented, and you have to cooperate: winning is impossible otherwise, and you share the score.

    My wife (a game newbie) and I love it, and have given it as a gift to other sets of mismatched friends. Seriously, spend the $20 or whatever and give it a shot. She'll love you for it!

  • by ThousandStars ( 556222 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:17PM (#14939051) Homepage
    In my experience, most computer games that aren't built on some kind of card or board game and such require an intense level of dedication to build skill. That's much of their appeal to the obsessive Slashdot crowd. Unfortunately, they often don't have any mechanism for leveling the skill playing field. Some, like the MMO's that other posters recommend, may be even worse because they demand time instead of skill.

    I think you might want to reconsider your premise: your girlfriend, if she is unwilling to immerse herself in the games, might just not be that interested in video games. You may also ask yourself whether your girlfriend really wants to play, or if she is just acquiescing to your hobbies. If the latter is the case, you might find that her ardor wears off and the games become a burden on your relationship. Finding activities that are genuinely, mutually enjoyable would be a better bet if this is the case. Note that I'm not saying it is: you're the one in the relationship and you must trust your own judgment.

    As another alternative, you could try something like Go [], a board game with a natural way of leveling the skill barrier by giving one side a handicap. Otherwise, I you could be on a quest for something that doesn't exist.

  • Handicap settings (Score:3, Informative)

    by assassinator42 ( 844848 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:01AM (#14939822)
    You know, several games have Handicap settings. For example, the Super Smash Bros games. Give her the advantage with handicap settings, and maybe put a skilled AI player on her team. Plus, there's the puzzle games that let you set your level. Tetris, Tetris Attack, Dr. Mario, pretty much all of them.
  • Worms! (Score:5, Informative)

    by xchino ( 591175 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:56AM (#14939977)
    All of my friends, ecen the non gamers play Worms World Party, it's easy to learn, a blast to play multiplayer, and only requires one PC and will run on very old hardware (100MHZ, 32MB). Being turn based makes it a bit easier on noobs who can't compete with your highly trained reaction times as a gamer. Chicks especially love Worms for the cute factor. It's also playable by people of all ages, so it's something you can play with your kids.
    • ... is that it's a completely different game, depending on how much firepower you make available at startup.

      Ever played it with everything on infinite supply and double damage? It's a terrifying experience. Given half a chance, any opponent will immediately launch the unstoppable Concrete Donkey... so you have to make sure that your worms are spread out and positioned such that nobody can attack them with a Donkey (or similar weapon of mass destruction) without also obliterating members of their own team.

  • Half-life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by idries ( 174087 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @03:20AM (#14940034) Homepage
    The original Half-Life port for PlayStation 2 had an excellent co-op mode which my wife and I played through until the end (I don't think that she's ever finished another game - except maybe Quake 1). AFAIK that's the only format that the co-op levels appeared in. It's really cool, both players have to work 2gether, but a good player can help out a less skilled one without detracting from the fun at all.

    One thing to note about this is that if either player dies the mission is failed and you have to go back to the start of the level, so co-operation is far more critical than in something like Halo.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...