This Wednesday we’re trying something new, What Are We Gaming! Fellow XOXO Staffer Diana has hand-picked some video game recommendations for you!

As much as I love coming home and unwinding with a glass of wine or a good TV show, sometimes I just need to shoot aliens with a plasma gun! It’s true – I’m a gamer and I love it.

Some background: Gaming runs deep in my family, like the Force. My parents bought us our first Nintendo system, but they had hidden motives. They would wait until we fell asleep and then stay up till all hours of the night playing video games. Sneaky parents! Not only is gaming in my blood, but I also happened to grow up in a neighborhood where the only kids were my brother and myself. We had to learn to compromise on what we each wanted to do; I wanted to brush my Barbie’s hair and play Dream Phone, and he wanted to play Nintendo and run outside. The funny thing is, I ended up LOVING Nintendo/all video games and he loved playing Dream Phone – whether he’ll admit it or not. You can sometimes hear him repeat the phrase “He looks good in whatever he wears” when he looks in the mirror… just saying.

So after my first go at Super Mario World, I was hooked. I’ve been playing a range of games on a range of systems ever since.



Lately I’ve been playing a lot of HALO 3: ODST; it’s by far my favorite first person shooter game. You essentially play as the humanoid Master Chief, saving humanity from these weird religious aliens known as the Covenant. The story is great in all Halo games, honestly. Read the novels if you don’t believe me. My favorite way of playing is Firefight mode, where your only job is to kill off waves of attacking aliens. Each wave features different types of aliens with different difficulties. Firefight combines the best parts of Player vs. Player and team play. I really do not like playing against people. I’m terrible at trash talk and honestly not that good, so I die ALL THE TIME. But with firefight I can play together with the boyfriend and not risk us getting competitive or crazy mad at one another. Unite against killing ALL the aliens, that’s what I say. It’s a great stress reliever and your enemies shout hilarious things as you’re playing. Side note: the grunts are weirdly adorable and dumb; I love them.

Portal 2– If you’re not into first person shooters but love puzzles then this is the game for you. It’s not terribly complex, but will definitely get you into that “just one more level” mode. I like Portal 2 because, again, the bf and I can play together or I can play story mode by myself. You have to escape the level by using your portal gun, which forms a passage to other areas of the level, helping you cut corners. I’m not describing this right, but it gets your mind going and gives you that feeling of satisfaction I love.



Kingdom Hearts – I haven’t played this game in a while, but it’s worth a mention because it combines video games and Disney characters, and who doesn’t love that?! Technically it’s Final Fantasy and Disney but let’s focus on Disney. Each world you visit has its roots in a Disney movie and the same goes for all the bosses. The mastermind behind all the villains is Maleficent, because, of course – she is HBIC. It makes you nostalgic in all the right places and gives you the opportunity to fight alongside Simba, The Beast, and Genie to name a few. You also get to explore the worlds from the movies you loved so much AND play along with your favorite sidekicks like Flounder and Mushu! It’s not a terribly complex or difficult game but so fun and easy to get lost in.

And finally, I bought the bf (but really myself) an old-school N64 as a gift last year, which was one of the best $50 purchases I’ve ever made. When we’re looking for some good old fashioned versus game, we play Mario Kart. You race classic Nintendo characters in go-karts and try to get first place while carefully shooting your competitors with bananas, red shells and of course the dreaded blue shell. All in the name of victory of course – first place or bust!

I know gaming carries with it a shoot-em up, he-man woman-hater kind of vibe, but there really are so many different, fun types of video games out there, you just need to find the right one for you! Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest in them, but if I haven’t, check out these kick-ass gamers when you have a chance. They’re amazing in both life and gaming: Felicia Day, Emily V. Gordon and Aisha Tyler!

P.S. If you’re also a proud gamer or need suggestions, leave your favorite game or questions in the comment section below!