With Valentine’s Day just nine months away, romance is in the air. But with all the potential partners available to you, you want to make sure you snag someone who can appreciate the fact that you’re training for the Super Mario speedrunning pro-circuit, can name every Naruto character in alphabetical order and start sentences with conjunctions and prepositions because you’re a rebel who can’t be held down by archaic linguistic conventions. But that’s me.

In pursuit of that, I’m sharing five of my most powerful tips for creating the perfect gamer date. These techniques are 100% effective, so if they don’t work the problem is you. I’ve used the pronoun “her” throughout but just know that these techniques work equally well on all genders. You’re welcome.

Assert your dominance

Nobody is interested in dating a noob. You want to let your date know you can carry a family, so pick a game that you’re good at and challenge her to a duel.

She’ll be too embarrassed to admit that she hasn’t played something, so don’t worry about that. Common wisdom is to “let her win”. This is a mistake.

Crush her with your mighty nerdfist and laugh while you do it. Some key phrases you can use are “git gud scrub”, “I’ve had bowel movements more challenging than this game” and “you’re lucky you’re attractive because your gameplay is about as pretty as Steve Buscemi eating a cheese grater”.

Dress to impress

Ditch the chinos and collared shirt, you’re not trying to look like a weekend-gaming, button-mashing peasant who doesn’t know his way around a modded Atari.

You need to put your power level on full display, this is critical to your first impression. You may think cosplayers have an advantage here, but you’d be wrong – cosplay dates are sooooo 2013. You need to play it cool, not look like you spent 67 hours hunched over a sewing machine.

In fact, you don’t want to look like you put in any effort at all. Oh you like my vintage 1992 Pokemon shirt? This old thing? It just happened to be on top of my cupboard lol, same thing with my limited edition Space Jam Nikes.

You wanted to see the shirt? So you can steal the design? Hahaha, nobody photographs me in my Pokemon shirt. Not even me.

Make obscure references

You need to show her that you’re an intellectual; a purveyor and appreciator of finer games. For example, when I arrive and see a short girl (or just shorter than me) I’ll say something witty like “whoa whoa whoa, I thought we agreed no Oddjob!” then give her a knowing smile.

If she looks confused by an opening gambit like that, order something small and skip dessert, you’re dealing with a scrub. If she passes the test, I’ll move into more obscure territory. One of my favourite things to do is take a date to a vegan restaurant and then complain loudly that these are all Vegeta meals and I’m really more of a Goku fan.

Don’t be afraid to figure out your own, if she doesn’t get any of them she’ll be too embarrassed to say so.

But seriously, guys. No Oddjob.

A little roleplay goes a long way

It’s pretty much scientific fact at this point that girls love impressions. But impressions are for the mouth-breathing lower class who eat chopped hotdogs from a tin. What you need to do is role-play.

I once spent an entire date role-playing as Claptrap. Ask me how it went. Ask me. She was so intimidated by me that I never heard from her again – do you see the power of the role-play?

Can you order a bottle of wine at a French restaurant while role-playing as Dog from Half-Life 2? If the answer to that is no, you’re not ready.

“Make sure you bring the ’96. The ’97 is piss. Woof.”

Have a quirk

You need to set yourself apart from the unwashed masses, which means you need a gimmick, something to make you memorable. The dating world is competitive, and every casual idiot can wear a Call of Duty shirt and make a Pokemon reference.

What you do here is really up to you, but I’ll give you one from my playbook if you promise not to wear it out. Sometimes I take a giant stack of boards with me with written responses on them, and then have my date choose the response like she’s playing an RPG.

Cool, right? Yeah I am.