I’d like to think I’ve been an avid video gamer for most of my life. I remember making my first World of Warcraft character around age 5, and my sisters and I had many a fight over how long our turns were on the computer or the Xbox (which I’m sure my parents would be happy to attest to). In any case, I think with all my experience I’m qualified to give some recommendations to those who are new to video games, or curious to see what it’s all about. Below are some games I’ve played that (in my opinion) are friendly to the new or inexperienced gamer.
- The Sims
Okay, I know The Sims isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think “video game,” but I think it’s a great start for someone who has truly never played one before. For those of you who don’t know, The Sims is a “life simulation” game in which you create and control Sims and follow them as they live out their lives. The Sims is a “sandbox game,” which means there is no end goal. You can make a Sim and follow them through their life or make tons of new Sims with new homes and new outfits! The world is your oyster, and playing The Sims will get you used to the general mechanics of video games!
- The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead franchise is a great start for those diving into video games for the first time. The franchise is a series of games that follow Clementine, a young girl growing up during the zombie apocalypse. The game itself isn’t super difficult and will get you familiar with playing either on a console or a computer. And, if you like the first game, The Walking Dead: Season 1, there are four more games available! I’m personally in the middle of playing the fourth game, The Walking Dead: The New Frontier and it’s fantastic! It’s nice to enjoy the game’s story without worrying about complicated gameplay.
- Stardew Valley
The one, the only, Stardew Valley. I haven’t played this game super in-depth, but I’ve dabbled in it here and there. Stardew Valley is an adorable, relaxing farm-life simulation game. You play as a farmer who just acquired your grandfather’s run-down farm, and it’s your job to bring it back to life! You can plant crops, take care of animals, improve your home, and explore eerie mines. This game has something for everyone. It’s a relaxed, low-effort way to get into video games!
I like to think of this as the spookier version of Stardew Valley. In Dredge, you play as a fisherman and have opportunities to discover new lands and improve your boat along the way. However, if you’re out fishing too late at night, you begin to see things in the water, and they may come after your boat! I’ve only played this briefly myself (and watched my dad play it), but it looks entertaining. If Stardew Valley is too relaxing for you, give Dredge a try.
Now, if Dredge still isn’t spooky enough for you, Limbo may be the game to try. This is one of the first games I played on my own, and the mechanics are super simple! You control a young boy as he journeys through a creepy forest. The game is entirely in black-and-white and has creepy music to add to the atmosphere. I don’t remember too much of the plot, but if you’re into horror, this is the one for you!
- Paper’s Please
This is another game I’ve only played once or twice, but it’s pretty simple! You control an immigration officer and check the papers of the people crossing the border. It sounds boring, but it’s a good introduction to gaming mechanics and decision-making! It’s also an interesting test of empathy, which will prepare you for all the games that will break your heart down the line.
- Animal Crossing
Like The Sims, this one doesn’t remind me a whole lot of a typical “video game,” but it’s still super fun and adorable! I’ve technically never played this one myself, but I’ve seen many friends and online creators play it! What’s great about it is that there’s no ending, and there are countless things to do! You can customize your character and your home, frolic through nature, and collect a variety of items! There is truly no limit to what you can do in Animal Crossing, so maybe finish out the semester before diving in.
- Plants vs. Zombies
This one is a classic. In the main game of the franchise, you place weaponized plants in “Crazy Dave’s” yard to fend off zombies! This was one of the first games I played, like ever, and I remember when my dad finally let me control everything for the first time! It’s a light-hearted introduction to video games, and as you play you unlock even more plants…and zombies! There are several spin-off games (one of which is a first-person shooter if that’s what you’re into), so you certainly won’t run out of content!
- The Last of Us
This is perhaps one of the best games of all time. If you haven’t seen the show (or read my review of it here), The Last of Us follows Joel Miller after the outbreak of Cordyceps that turns people into zombies. I played this game over the summer, and it was the first time I had played a console game in a while. The controls were fairly easy to manage, and there are several difficulty levels if you are just starting. I will warn you, this story is absolutely devastating, but so, so worth it. I promise it will take over your life.
And if you still aren’t convinced, here’s a message from our chapter president, Lauren: “I kid you not, I did not know how to use a PlayStation controller before playing this game, but I LOVE IT now. The game walks you through the different controls so it’s super easy to learn and the story is so interesting and I love playing it (even when I die like a lot).”
I hope one of these games fits you and your gaming needs! If not, there are hundreds of other games out there, so a quick Google search should get you what you need!