Halo 101: A Man’s Guide to Teaching a Woman About the Video Game

I think all men secretly (some not so secretly) desire being with a woman who can hold her own when it comes to cool manly things – power tools, leather, fast cars, motorcycles, chugging, and now, gaming.
My husband recently introduced me to Halo 2. It’s a world I didn’t understand before, but now that I’ve been exposed, I’m devilishly addicted. And I can think of nothing that makes him more proud.

You too can be a proud man. Together, my husband and I have created an “Intro to Halo for Females” that we highly recommend to men who want to get their woman into the gaming world, but be patient. This will take some time – months probably.

Note: This works best in pairs. Women don’t like to be alone. We do better if we have a friend that is just as bad as we are (but when you’re alone, tell her she’s better than the other beginners, even if it’s not true). So find another couple to play with, it’ll take you far.

The simple steps:
1. Team up – Men vs. Women. Give yourself a “severe” handicap.

2. In addition to the handicap, you need to stack things in favor of your woman (we like to win you see, and if we win, we’re more likely to play again). So, game setup should include rocket launchers and energy swords as starting weapons. These are pretty obvious choices for beginners. Put default weapons on the map. The only players using rockets and swords should be the newbie womenfolk. You have to drop rockets and swords for defaults. Oh, and don’t use any grenades at first either. It sounds extreme and unfair, but get over it, we’re playing with you, OK?

3. Map: Foundation. This is a good, open map. You’ll be on this map for long, LONG time.

4. So … now you play. Give lots of encouragement (i.e. Whoa! Nice shot. What? How did I not kill you? [This last one works especially well in building her confidence.]) Do NOT give lots of advice at this point. Advice is not welcome yet. And absolutely no laughing. Chances are we’ll run into a couple walls and commit suicide quite often. Keep the laughter hidden.

Note: Playing in different rooms helps quite a bit. You can silently laugh at the women, and she can’t hit you when you kill her. (It may be to your advantage to NOT kill your woman, but go after the other targets. You get in less trouble that way.)

5. Lose. Be subtle about it. You need to let us win, seriously. No one likes to play a game they never win. Plus, it builds our confidence and makes you look like a good guy if you take it well.

6. After she has won a couple, give a couple “insider tips.” This is NOT advice, they are “tips.” Things like “shoot rockets at the wall close to the enemy,” “shoot where you think they’re gonna land,” “shoot at boxes that explode,” etc. But space the tip-giving out. A tip here, another one there.

7. After 10 games or so, switch it up. You should try a “grenades only” game – let the ladies keep the rocket/sword combo. Before the game starts, warn her of standing still. Note the learning curve: looking, looking and walking, looking and walking and not running into things, looking and walking and shooting, shooting and actually killing, jumping. At this point, she’ll start remembering she has grenades.

Tip opportunity: “Fire rocket, throw grenade, switch to sword, kill.” It’s a nice maneuver for her to learn.

8. Once you’re bored to tears with Foundation, play at least five more games on it before suggesting a switch to a different map. Expect some resistance as she’s probably just getting comfortable with it. Acceptable new maps include Ascension and Beaver Creek. Be very nice when you switch maps. Once again, no laughing, no advice, and be sure to lose. When switching to a new level you may also want to make the game shorter – 25 kills to win.

9. End each playing session on a positive note. Talk about how many medals she got, headshots, etc. Go back to Foundation if needed. Follow play sessions with chocolate or foot rubs, or both. Let her walk away with a warm feeling.

10. Start familiarizing the female trainees with new weapons. Let them know the strengths and weaknesses of the weapons, but only do a couple at a time, and again, shorten the game. Be sure to start on a map they are comfortable with in order to avoid high frustration levels. If frustration is present, you may want to go back to rockets/swords after each new weapon.

11. Once they are somewhat proficient, ease up on the handicap, but be careful. You may need to gauge your play. If you start slaughtering the women you’ll need to miss a couple easy shots, let them get a double kill or increase your handicap. You’ll want to keep the score somewhat even; change your handicap as needed. Expose them once again to all maps and all weapons with the lesser handicap.

12. When the trainees start to feel comfortable with all the maps and they’ve won a handful of games, throw in some variety, something different every game – random weapons, turn off radar, snipers only, Zanzibar map. You might also want to try switching teams to couples, so they can watch each other play, and learn from being on your team.

13. Remove the handicap. This is the final, and most dangerous of moves, and the timing should be well planned. No surprises on their part either – they should be well aware that they are about to die. A lot. This should ONLY be done once the girls start showing more interest in bettering their game. Removing the handicap will force them to start moving around more, and attempting to dodge bullets, rather than absorb them and outlast you. Praise should be at an all time high during this step.

Congratulations, you’ve taught her well and she is ready for Halo Live, where she will impress many a manly gamer!

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