couch-coop

Great Games to Play with Non-Gamers

Few things are as satisfying as a solid day long gaming session. Stocking up on tasty beverages and snacks, dimming the lights, and settling in to beat a game in a day. As a married man working full time, I find that it is difficult to find time for my day long gaming ritual compared to when I lived alone attending university. Unfortunately, my wife is not a gamer. She has trouble using two thumb sticks, does not like things set in outer space, and hates losing, which come together to make it a bit difficult to convince her to sit down for eight hours and play games with me.

Fortunately for me, my wife really enjoys a good narrative, loves character driven stories, likes horror and serial killers, and most importantly is open to experiencing all these things in video games. If we take a ‘movie night’ approach to gaming she will happily sit with a bowl of popcorn to watch or on a leisurely Saturday morning might pick up a controller herself. It is delightful to share this hobby together from time to time, and here are some games that we have had great luck with together as a gamer and non-gamer.

No.1 – The Wolf Among Us

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A lot of people say that games by Telltale are an obvious or easy choice for casual gaming experiences, but only The Wolf Among Us has really hit the sweet spot for us. Because we were not familiar with the franchise, all of our decisions felt like they were truly impacting the story. Additionally the storybook characters and gritty art style kept our attention, but what really sold my wife on it was the updates on characters that appeared in the corner. Telltale’s ominous updates of how ‘Snow White will remember that’ or ‘Mr. Toad does not approve’ made engaging with the characters easier. I would recommend it to anyone who grew up with fables read to them or has tried to see Bloody Mary in a mirror.

No.2 – Heavy Rain

 

A longtime favorite game of mine, Heavy Rain ticked all her boxes: featuring a good narrative driven by characters and a serial killer, it went down a big hit. The difficulty settings are ‘I do not play video games often’ and ‘I play video games frequently’, which was enough to make my wife comfortable playing the game herself. Running the show made her eager to play, the controls all being intuitively contextual eliminated frustration, and having insight into a character’s thoughts made the story easy to follow. I would highly recommend for fans of film noir.

No.3 – Until Dawn

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For those who enjoy the storytelling aspect of video games, Until Dawn is fascinating. The ‘butterfly effect’ feature of the game makes you aware of the huge impact your decisions make upon the direction of the story. Whenever your actions affect the plot trajectory, you are notified that your journey through the game just took a decisive turn along a new branch.’What if I’d chosen differently?’ you think, mentally retracing your steps like a kid flipping back in a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ novel to see what could have happened. A solid horror game, great for those who like the supernatural and spooky cabins.

No.4 – Beyond: Two Souls

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Another entry by Quantic Dream, Beyond: Two Souls tells a similarly deeply personal story and also has difficulty based on gaming experience level. Playing as Jodie is straightforward with controls ala Heavy Rain, and playing as Aiden – Jodie’s ‘entity’ – is both chaotic and fascinating. Two players can comfortably play this game together, swapping roles if they choose. It reminds us both a lot of Stranger Things, but with a lot more Ellen Paige, and I would recommend it to fans of either.

Gaming is something that everyone can enjoy, no matter what their experience levels or preferences. What are your favorite games to play with non-gamers? Tell us about your experiences below!



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