So, I’m going to pretend everyone now has reasonable hand-eye coordination and logic skills. The two games I mentioned last time should have gotten beginners up to a reasonable level. If not, supplement games include, but aren’t limited to, Professor Layton games, Rock Band/Guitar Hero games, and almost every game that started its life as a phone game and was adapted for a larger platform (Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, Angry Birds, etc.). A lot of people are going to disagree about the phone games, but I think they are a pretty reasonable start, especially if played on a proper system instead of a phone. They aren’t meant to be the core of your experience, just something to keep in the practice of playing games.
Back to pretending everyone kind of knows what they are doing. Now that basic mechanics and strategies are out of the way, real challenges are brought in. Limited lives and enemies, not to mention competition, are really important to bring in. We don’t play in a bubble. If there is no threat, the game gets boring. So, let’s bring in some competition.
- Portal 2: Playing Portal 2 is a lot of fun. It has puzzles to solve and a high chance to die. There are any number of things that can kill you between pits of goo and turrets and lasers and whatever else I’m forgetting. There is a pretty good likelihood of you biting the dust. But, that’s okay. Plus, in Portal 2, you can play with someone else and fail/succeed together. That’s why I say Portal 2 over Portal. Portal is great, but it’s nice to have someone play with you and to work together. It puts together hand-eye coordination together with puzzle solving. It also kind of gets you used to a gun. Not so much that you could play Portal 2 and then go play Halo, but it does get you used to aiming and having a gun on the screen.
- Mario Party/Mario Kart/Super Smash Bros./etc.: I’m not going to get into which version each of these is the best. Everyone has their personal favorites so I really can’t speak too narrowly. These kinds of games really help you develop good sportsmanship as well as gaming skills. These are games you play with your friends and have a healthy competition. Many a relationship has been lost because of poor sports. If you pitch a fit over Mario Party and Co. you aren’t ready to play online with others in other games. Learn your self-control here. These games remind you that you are playing with friends and that even if you are horrible you can still have a pretty good time. I usually came in last when there were four people playing. Of course I played with three guys most of the time and they all had more gaming experience. Yeah, there was some teasing, but when I did well they gave me positive feedback. I had a blast anyway, plus I got better over time. Also, here’s a tip if there is at least one computer player: don’t worry about beating anyone in the room. As long as you beat the computer you’ll have a good time.
- Kirby games: Kirby is a great franchise. The games are varied and you have to maneuver through the various stages. It’s a little less intense than Super Mario Bros. because the platforming isn’t as rough due to Kirby’s floating. The enemies are interesting and the gameplay is solid. You can lose lives and health in more than just an abstract way. The games themselves get harder the more you play and you get better just by playing further into the game. That’s true of most games, but this series has a nice, gentle curve. You’ll still yell at it, but you won’t be throwing any controllers.
There are still a few games that should be played to help bulk up skills like Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man for platforming. These are great to play in general, but especially for platforming. Pokemon is a good way to learn basic traveling around a world and battle systems. It’s pretty linear for the main part of the game, but afterwards offers some more freedom. Mortal Kombat is a classic fighter that does require skill to do well, but unless you are playing against that kid from the arcade it’s worth picking up for combat basics. To be well-rounded is important to me because I like to play with a number of different people and know what I’m doing. Everything can contribute to becoming a better gamer, so why not learn a little of everything? These aren’t really necessary, but I think they are important enough to mention.
This is the point where most people know what kind of games they want to play. Now is the time to at least research what you are interested in. I’ll cover the varying genres in the next list because the games most people want to play are easier to adjust to after getting used to gaming. This isn’t what I did and I know a lot of people just dive in, and that’s fine, but the purpose of this is to help those who don’t want to just jump in. I respect that most people don’t play Bioshock as their first full game like I did. Look up all of those games that you’ve been itching to play, but didn’t know how to start. Watch some gameplay or download a demo if applicable. If you used to play games and want to start again, go for the nostalgia. You’ll have an easier go of it, except for maybe Sonic fans. You may just want to opt to play the old games again. But overall, find something you used to like and try the modern takes, or play the old games over. I don’t care if you like sports games, RPGs, FPSs, beat-em-ups, or anything else. Find what you like and try it. We’ll get to the good stuff next time.