Back in early September 2012, I was a fresh-faced, healthy-livered first year preparing for university. My mind was filled with dilemmas about what I ought and ought not to bring to St Andrews. I could solve most of them in a couple of seconds (“boxers? Yeah, probably should…”), but there was one that rattled my brain for days: which game console should I take?
Eventually I went on the safe side and brought along both my Xbox 360 and Wii. The logic was flawless, or so I thought: the Xbox would be for me and the Wii would be for ‘the ladies.’ Yes, I figured that with the Mario and Pals catalogue of easily-accessible, ‘less-boyish’ games, I might better be able to ‘pull’ at uni. It goes without saying that I still had a lot to learn about romancing (and, if you ask my girlfriend, still do). The Wii would, unsurprisingly, play no part in my romantic ventures (and –shock! – the Xbox wouldn’t either).
Still, reflecting on this rather embarrassing episode has left me wondering: what would be the best games to play on a date? Here’s my sagacious list, starting from the bottom:
5. Mario Kart Wii
2008’s Mario Kart Wii is definitely one of the most unbearably frustrating, and fun, games you’ll ever play. It offers exasperatingly low rewards for skill, especially if you turn on the game’s ‘frantic’ mode. By subjecting your date to the immense psychological trauma that can be Mario Kart Wii, you’ll learn much about them in a very short space of time. Instantly, you’ll know if the two of you are a match.
4. Portal 2
If your date loves highbrow discussion, Portal 2 is perfect for you. The game’s mind-bending co-op puzzles will mean that there’s always something to talk about. Plus, the sense of comradery generated by beating a tough level is a sure-fire way to secure the next date.
3. Trails Evolution
There are three buttons you need to know in order to play Trials Evolution, making it the game to go for if your girl/guy is a gaming novice. Does the job equally well if you’ve had a wee tipple at Valentine’s Day dinner and brain use is too much effort.
2. Left 4 Dead 2
Playing Left for Dead 2 with your ‘special friend’ is the stay-at-home equivalent of the classic ‘horror movie date’ – it could be great, or it could backfire spectacularly. The game features a fantastic split screen co-op mode in which you and your date will have to battle through terrifying zombie hoards. Thus, the game will either go down as well that steak dinner you’re planning later or it could see your date running off to the microwave meal they have sitting in the fridge at home.
1. Hatoful Boyfriend
In this utterly bonkers Japanese dating game, you play as Earth’s last remaining person following an apocalyptic outbreak of the H5N1 virus in the year 2068. Here you must date a selection of the sentient birds (yes, actual flying creatures) that now rule the earth. This means that Hatoful Boyfriend is possibly the best ‘date game’ ever made. After only a short period of playing, your lady/man friend will, quite rightly, marvel at just how lucky they are to be going out with you, a human.