11 videogames for non-gamers

The gateway drugs of gaming

Do you ever click onto Gadgette’s homepage and look with curiosity at our Gaming section, but decide it’s just not for you because you don’t play games, and even if you had the inclination you wouldn’t be entirely sure where to start? Or do you already love games but you want to bring that love to the lives other people you know, you kind soul? If yes to either, then this list is for you.

Taking games I know my own non-gamer friends have enjoyed, and even a couple of the ones that affirmed my own love of gaming, I’ve put together some suggestions that will allow you to dip your toes into gaming before you throw yourself into the deep end and find yourself logging 80 hours in RPGs and wondering why you’re developing RSI.

11) The Walking Dead

image via Flickr © Midhras

The Walking Dead is a great introductory game on a couple of levels. One is that it’s already an extremely successful TV show, so there’s a chance you’ve encountered the story before. Another is that, like a zombie plague for devices, it’s available on pretty much any platform. Seriously, it’s even on Kindle, so you have no excuse. The game is pretty much an interactive version of the TV show, so it’s easy to get invested in the story when you’re given the great story of the TV show but with the added enjoyment of feeling like your decisions have some weight.

The learning curve isn’t particularly steep, with intuitive controls and an interface that mostly relies on a willingness to make decisions and explore.

Platforms: Android iOS Kindle Fire HDX OS X Microsoft Windows Ouya PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4 PlayStation Vita Xbox 360 Xbox One

10) Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

image via revolution software

Broken Sword is a classic point-and-click adventure series that has its origins on PC, but it’s had a definite resurgence on mobile, largely because point-and-click translates so well to touchscreens. Broken Sword revolves around American lawyer George Stobbart who, after becoming caught in a bombing in Paris, finds himself swept up in a mystery that takes him around the world. The story is interesting, the game has a manageable pace, the characters are funny and interesting, the artwork is beautiful, and the point-and-click interface is easy to manage. You really couldn’t do much better.

This game is great if you want to break away from less story-oriented mobile games and get a deeper gameplay experience out of your commute. If you can’t get enough, the sequel Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror was also re-mastered for mobile. If you’d rather see it on the big screen, there are still boxsets of the series available for PC, and the most recent instalment of the series is available on the current-gen consoles.

Broken Sword is one of the game that got me into gaming, I hope it does the same for you.

Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows phone.

9)Life is Strange

If you’ve seen any of my reviews on Gadgette, you’ll know I’m a bit of a fan of Life is Strange. It has its flaws, but overall it’s a game that engages you with its story and well-written characters.

In Life is Strange you play Max, a young woman who returns to her old hometown to do her senior year at Blackwell Academy. Of course, as if being a teenager isn’t bad enough, Max discovers she has time-rewinding powers and that there’s some kind of massive conspiracy happening at the school. It’s a story with enough mystery to keep you playing, I promise.

This is a game along the same lines as The Walking Dead where the player’s natural curiosity is an asset, their decisions matter, and playing feels more like you’re involved in one of your favourite TV dramas. Great for those that would rather avoid any any high-octane pressure.

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360

8) Journey

image via thatgamecompany

If you want to get into videogames, but you’re put off by the competitive and violent experience that is undeniably easy to find in many titles, you might be interested in Journey. Journey is a quick game, but it’s a great experience that you really shouldn’t miss out on because its charm is in its simplicity. No weapons, no enemies, your task in this game is to make your way across a desert using a magical chime and occasional communication with other travellers.

The game’s visuals reflect the simplicity of its controls, with this minimalism creating a relaxing gameplay experience. This game is perfect example of how it doesn’t take much to pull you in.

Platforms: PS4 and PS3

7) Animal Crossing

image via Flickr © Patrick de Ritter

Animal Crossing is a game that’s identified as casual, but has the capacity to get a hell of a lot of commitment out of you. Besides, there are few companies more able to pull in beginners than Nintendo. Animal Crossing is a simulation game where you create your own character and move them into a small village populated with anthropomorphic animals. After that it’s just your job to live; you decorate your home, interact with your neighbours, take care of the town, garden, and go fishing. If you’ve had a busy day, it can be pretty soothing to escape to your friendly little town with its likeable inhabitants.

Animal Crossing moves along in live time, and it’s really nice seeing the seasons change in game alongside real life. Animal Crossing offers you a low stress game, but maintaining your town, and your mortgage, and your relationships brings a level of enjoyable commitment that could have you going into your virtual town every day.

Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS

6) Uncharted

Image via Flickr © Nicholas M...

The Uncharted games are for the adventure seeker in you. If you want a bit more action out of your gaming experience this series that follows the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake is probably a pretty good place to start. Uncharted has the cinematic blockbuster feel and great graphics that we kind of expect when we play a modern game, but for someone just starting ,Uncharted’s stories have a suitable level of linearity. It has the feeling of a massive world, but it doesn’t let you too far into it to become overwhelmed.

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

5) Portal 2

image via Flickr © Roman Galkin

Portal 2 is a game I’d recommend to absolutely anyone. It has a simple control scheme that you become familiar with through some excellent tutorials, an original premise, and some seriously fun puzzles. It’s also incredibly funny. In Portal you play Chell, a young woman trapped within the Aperture Science complex. Chell is forced to solve tests of varying difficulty in chambers designed by an AI-gone-rogue named GLaDOS. It’s a story that’s simple but effective. Don’t be put off by the first person controls, which can sometimes feel weird when you’re not used to playing in that perspective, Portal is worth it, even just for the satisfaction that comes from every puzzle you solve.

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

4) Hotel Dusk Room 215

image via Nintendo

Hotel Dusk Room 215 follows Kyle Hyde, former New York City detective who checks into Hotel Dusk in his search for his former partner and is given Room 215, a room said to be able to grant wishes. This game really feels more like an interactive novel, requiring you to hold your Nintendo DS like a book with a point-and-click interface.

The way you hold your DS isn’t the only book-like thing about this game: there’s a lot of conversation to read, and although it can initially be tedious, when you begin to get into the story you that feeling stops as every conversation leads you closer to the answers you’re desperately looking for. The game makes clever use of the Nintendo DS’ dual screen, leading to fun puzzle solving methods.

This is a game that disguises itself as a novel well, offering well-developed characters and a well-written story to become invested in.

Platforms: Nintendo DS

3) Fifa

image via Flickr © EA Sports FIFA

If you’d like to see what the world of sports games about, I’d recommend Fifa. But don’t buy the newest game, pick up one of the old games just to see if you like it, because they’re so much cheaper. Fifa is a good game to get started with on console, because it allows you to change the controls to a two-button mode that makes for a much more reasonable learning curve. Fifa is one of those games that you can consistently enjoy if you want to keep your knowledge at the basic level, but if you persist, you can find a much deeper level of gameplay to explore and enjoy.

Platforms: You’ll find a game on pretty much any platform

2) Monument Valley

images via Flickr © TheVRChris

Monument Valley is an excellent puzzle game for your smartphone or tablet that requires you to guide your character through a series of architecturally complex landscapes that have plenty of optical illusions and a serious hint of Escher. The game is a pleasure to play, and a pleasure just to look at.

Platforms: iOS and Android

1) The Lego Series

image via Flickr © Bill Tonejes

I haven’t given any specific game for this, because you could pretty much play any game in the Lego series and have fun. Like The Walking Dead, these games have the benefit of taking characters you already know and putting them into the videogame format, just pick your favourite franchise: Pirates of the Caribbean, Marvel, Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and so many more.

When you’ve got your favourite characters by your side you can’t fail to have fun exploring the bright and funny Lego universe. The Lego games come complete with excellent tutorials and a co-op mode, because if there’s one great thing about gaming it’s that you don’t have to go it alone.

Platforms: All consoles

Now, go forth and game! I really hope for the first of many times, not for the first and last.

Main Image via thatgamecompany.com