Easing into gaming: Level 1

I know that there can be some timid gamers out there. They are afraid that they don’t have the skill set needed for the game they want to play. I know I’ve definitely felt this. Even though I’ve been around video games a lot, I only really started playing them more recently. I’m not the best source for video games, but I thought I’d share what I think is a pretty reasonable progression of games to grow accustom to different styles and skills in a new series of posts. And this is assuming no skill or previous contact with video games.

First, I’d like to say that people just starting should try a handheld system first. They are comparatively low commitment and less costly. Most of the time you can set it down after an hour of playing, too. Larger systems and PC games don’t lend themselves to that as readily.

Level 1

  • Tetris: Everyone knows Tetris and almost everyone knows how to play it. It helps build up coordination and eases the player into getting better at strategy and skill. Plus, if you lose, there really is nothing to gain back. There isn’t a checkpoint to be had and losing is low risk. My mother even played it and became very skilled.
  • Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: This may seem like a strange choice, but hear me out. This game has the player handle trials and find evidence for them. This helps develop reasoning and logic skills simultaneously with searching skills. The trial setting may seem limiting, but many RPGs have large overworlds that lots of people don’t explore. Those that learn to search everything for a clue will probably be more inclined to search everywhere for some good treasure. It teaches you to be a bit more unconventional. Though it may make you think more, it doesn’t require any physical skill.

These two pair up so well because one helps deal with hand-eye coordination and the other with problem-solving. Some people have a hard time marrying the two. I think it helps to develop them separately and focus on combining them later. There are a number of other games that are well suited to beginners, but I think these two would do the trick. What do you think? What other games would you add to the list for people taking their first step into gaming?

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About awildnerdgirlhasappeared

I like to art.
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6 Responses to Easing into gaming: Level 1

  1. connorbros says:

    I love this. My girlfriend just started gaming a little more so I gave her my old DS to take back to college and a full selection of my DS games… she excitedly jumped at Phoenix Wright and got really in to it!

    ~Dylan

    • That’s great! I love people really getting into games and gaming. If you keep your eye out, I should be posting the next step up in a week or so. Though it sounds like you already know how.

      • connorbros says:

        I will definitely keep an eye out… especially since your first advice was creepily in tune with what happened last weekend.

        She got really into the new Rayman because that was one of the few games she played when she was young… but I’m definitely on the lookout for other good ways to ease her in.

      • Rayman is a pretty good one, for sure. That’s the problem with making sweeping recommendations, people are all a bit different and have attachments to different things. Anything with a positive tilt from childhood will be more likely to get a better response than new, unfamiliar things. Also, things similar to it. Epic Micky might be similar enough and could lead to Kingdom Hearts, which could lead to Final Fantasy (which opens up the whole series and genre). I hope the adjustment to gaming goes well!

  2. smnfly says:

    While I’m not much one for easing into gaming due to the fact that I just jumped into the medium, I do have to say that the two games you’ve picked out for beginners are excellent ways to work one’s way into non-casual gaming. I would also recommend something like Pac-Man so a beginner can also be exposed to enemies/hostile obstacles and a mini-game-centric party game like Mario Party so that they don’t have to game all by themselves.
    More importantly for the early early stages of gaming, I would also recommend exposing them to a game that’s relative to their interest, even if exposing them to it is just playing it in front of them; if they like sports then show them a sports game, if they like action movies then show them something actiony like Bayonnetta, etc. I feel like this is an important non-skill based thing to do for someone getting into gaming, that way they have something to really work towards. I figure this is would be part of a later step in your Easing Into Gaming, but I find that having something to work towards is a very important part of getting into anything, gaming included.
    Regardless, excellent post. Like I said earlier, the two games you chose are pretty dang good for getting new folk into the gaming scene.

    • I’m glad you liked it. You are absolutely right about Pac-Man! I suppose I can’t remember everything. Thank you for pointing it out. I think Mario Party games are the next step up because some people are simply sore losers and can’t handle competing just yet. I know some people that picked up Mario Party or Mario Kart and have never picked up another game because they weren’t good at it and lost all the time. Getting used to losing is a huge part of learning to play. I, too, kind of jumped in and I got used to dying a lot.
      Having goals is a really important part in anything. I think that showing someone a really good game in a genre that they like is important and can inspire them to get better. The early Castlevania games are really good, but scare people away if they aren’t used to that style of gameplay. Like you said, exposing them to certain games and getting them used to it is an easy, and effective, way of building interest. It’s definitely something I’ll address in more detail in future installments.

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