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Game Recommendations for Spouse With No Experience


ICrappedMyPants
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My wife never grew up with video games, and I’m looking for suggestions on how to introduce her to some games so she can feel more comfortable with them.

I have tried SMB, Tetris, and Super Mario Kart without success.

What games and what approach do you recommend? Should I try something like Wii Sports?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Edit: In response to what platforms can the recommendations be, anything Nintendo NES or later. I can do vintage or modern games.

Edited by ICrappedMyPants
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If Frogger doesn't work, you might be out of luck!  Ms. Pac-Man would be a good choice too.  Start with the classics, but not Galaga or Robotron or anything where you have to shoot or attack (which can turn some women away).  Think Snafu, Frog Bog, Mouse Trap, stuff like that.  Good luck!

ETA: what platform(s) are you on?  If we're talking modern consoles, something you two can play together like Overcooked or Snipperclips might be up her alley.

Edited by glazball
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Try a 2 player beat em up game with her. Something like Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Ninja Turtles, etc. Those games are easy to pick up and play, and generally don't require total concentration and hand-eye coordination to have fun with. Plus, having 2 players on screen together means that you could assist her if she's having trouble with an enemy.

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Administrator · Posted

People who grew up not playing video games aren't going to enjoy the NES as their first foray into gaming, generally speaking. 

My wife never really enjoyed the older stuff, though she did have a ps2 that she didn't play all that much before I came along. We used to play a lot of Soul Calibur 2 together, and she liked watching me play God of War. Chicks dig stories and characters. She loves Overwatch because there's a whole sore behind it and every character has an interesting backstory; conversely she's totally not into military shooters like cod. 

The first game I was able to get my wife into was actually an MMO - Final Fantasy 14. She's actually played it more hours than me, and I've racked up over 3000 hours on it; I think she's put in around 3500 to 4k hours. It's something she can take at her own pace. 

Some stuff to consider there. 

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16 minutes ago, Mega Tank said:

How about just asking her what type of game/genre she would be interested in? Narrow it down from there.

It sounds like she's not interested in any genre...  yet!  I mean, if SMB and Tetris doesn't at least pique her interest, she might be a lost cause.  Who doesn't love SMB??

I almost hate to recommend it, but my wife and stepson used to play a lot of Minecraft together.  It has a way of sucking you in.  Or, she might take to something like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley.  You never know what someone will like!

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5 minutes ago, glazball said:

It sounds like she's not interested in any genre...  yet!  I mean, if SMB and Tetris doesn't at least pique her interest, she might be a lost cause.  Who doesn't love SMB??

I almost hate to recommend it, but my wife and stepson used to play a lot of Minecraft together.  It has a way of sucking you in.  Or, she might take to something like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley.  You never know what someone will like!

I figured it would help narrow options down. My wife and I have been playing Overcooked. It might be too chaotic, but we enjoy it. It is frustrating at times as teamwork is needed throughout the game. We try to get 3 star on every level before we move to the next one. We have had fun with the game though. My wife isn't big on games, but she did beat GTA V, so she is all over the place with genres go.

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I am not surprised that someone who doesn't game wouldn't like SMB or Tetris.  They are good games but I just don't picture new players being overall interested in the old stuff. 

If I were in this position I would do what a buddy is doing with his kids.  Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Party, and others of the current era.  Play the refined more accessible versions then go back if curiosity is there.

Edited by zeppelin03
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7 minutes ago, zeppelin03 said:

I am not surprised that someone who doesn't game wouldn't like SMB or Tetris.  They are good games but I just don't picture new players being overall interested in the old stuff. 

If I were in this position I would do what a buddy is doing with his kids.  Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Party, and others of the current era.  Play the refined more accessible versions then go back if curiosity is there.

amen brother.  I think you need to think about difficulty, ease of understanding, fun/short sessions, and ease of play. Don't force it, don't get too upset if they aren't listening.  You will just scare them away.  Take it slow.  When they show interest in something go ahead and jump back.

Mario Kart 8 is fantastic with the assists built in.  Wife/Kid friendly. 

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My wife has a similar history and really isn't interested in videogames. However, she will occasionally humor me with some co-op sessions and we've stumbled on a few things she enjoys doing that.

In general, controls are the number one enemy of new gamers. You may find it intuitive that when you push a button on the controller, a corresponding action occurs onscreen. But this is not as intuitive as you think; it is a learned behavior and you've had hundred or thousands of hours to master it. Also, modern style controllers have a D-pad, two analog sticks and ten or more additional buttons. This is extraordinarily intimidating to new gamers. Imaging being given a power tool with 16 buttons in a layout you've never seen before and being expected to use it with no instruction or practice. You may only need to use two of the buttons to make it work, but how will you know which two buttons? And in which order do you press them? Consecutively? Simultaneously? Anyways, my point is that even simple games are overwhelming to new players. Lastly, even though old games are "simple" and have less complicated controls, new gamers don't want to play them. Better graphics or an approachable art style are valuable in attracting interest. So taking all that into account I recommend the following.

My wife's all-time favorite game is Zack & Wiki on the Wii. She likes that it has co-op and requires problem solving, but rarely requires frantic or tightly-timed actions. There is also a minimal story to drive the narrative forward.

Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii) is another good choice. It has a great art style and pretty solid gameplay. What's really nice is that both players have the full gamut of abilities, but anyone can press the A button at any time to go into a protective bubble that floats around the screen. This gives an easy way to bypass areas that are too difficult. One player can also carry the other player with little to no consequence on available actions. This is nice for getting though a short challenging stretch without having to give up total control of your character.

I'd also echo the above sentiments regarding Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii U Play, & NintendoLand. They make interesting use of motion controls and the Wii U gamepad and pretty much anyone can understand the controls.

Lastly, both Plants Vs. Zombies and Overcooked were fantastic experiences in co-op. Be wary of Overcooked though, because, as @Mega Tankmentioned, it can get pretty challenging and she may feel overwhelmed. DO NOT CRITICIZE HER as the game is not easy for people who don't hold a modern controller often.

But most importantly, you need to make sure it's fun for her. If it's not fun for her it definitely won't be fun for you. You also need to accept that what might be fun for her, may not be fun for you. But if your goal is to get her playing, you may need to take more joy in the experience of spending time with her rather than in playing the actual game.

Good luck!

Edited by DoctorEncore
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Administrator · Posted

Of course an alternative would be to give up on it. Legit - some people simply don't find gaming fun, and that has to be ok for you.

I like cooking and baking, my wife doesn't. I don't force her into the kitchen to make us dinner. You probably wouldn't like feeling like you're being forced to learn how to crochet or something.

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1 hour ago, glazball said:

It sounds like she's not interested in any genre...  yet!  I mean, if SMB and Tetris doesn't at least pique her interest, she might be a lost cause.  Who doesn't love SMB??

I almost hate to recommend it, but my wife and stepson used to play a lot of Minecraft together.  It has a way of sucking you in.  Or, she might take to something like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley.  You never know what someone will like!

I think most people find Super Mario Bros. (and other similar platformers) to be quite silly and frankly, too difficult to control.

It's the usual go-to game to show to someone not familiar with games, and I've had a lot of family and friends try to play it while visiting. Most of them end up not getting to grips with the controls, and find it nothing more than mildly amusing for 5 minutes. It requires a lot of dexterity and hand-eye coordination to be able to to really enjoy such games, not to mention the inherent interest in mechanical and digital playthings. Most people don't quality for all those criterias, which is why gaming used to be such a niche thing.

Now you can find games in all types of forms and genres. A lot of games require different skillsets, and many games today even require almost no particular skillset at all, just time. So I think Gloves is really onto something when he is saying that it's a good idea to let someone new to games find a game they can go at in their own pace, and on their on terms. I think that's a big reason why games like The Sims, Animal Crossing and Minecraft have become so popular with those who would traditionally be called non-gamers, for example girls.

Edited by ifightdragons
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Member · Posted

Another recommendation is to look at your wife's general hobbies or ways she likes to unwind and look for things that integrate that type of enjoyment into the game.  My wife and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon.  We aren't "Disney nuts" but we enjoy a lot of Disney stuff.  So, she enjoyed watching me play Kingdom Hearts, and it was the only game she's ever watched me play.  She and I have always been into good rock music, so we would shred guitar hero together and, we both grew up playing with LEGO and when the LEGO Star Wars trilogy came out, we both enjoyed co-oping that one.  Eventually she grew into enjoying more traditional games we could co-op, like Super Marios Wii, but she also loved to play Katamari Damachi.  Actually, there was something about that game that caught her attention shortly after LEGO Star Wars.  Eventually, she bought some games for herself like Wii Fit and about 2-3 Just Dance titles.  I mean, those aren't games that most of us guys care about, but she had gotten to the point to where she was interested in gaming enough, she started making her own choices rather than just tagging along with me.  But, it did take about 5-6 of marriage and inviting her into the activity with games she'd like before getting to that point, though.  I suggest the same approach.  Take what she likes and look for games with those type of activities or themes within them. 

Oh, and keep it modern.  I LOVE classic games more than newer stuff for sure, but old video games are much like old childhood movies.  We can argue until we are blue in the face that some of the best 80s movies are The Goonies or The Princess Bride (hey, hey, hey, I agree, I'm on your side that they are!) but I have consistently heard from people our age saying that those movies aren't that great if you didn't grow up with them and saw them as an adult.  If you weren't there to experience and appreciate it the first time, a casual player isn't going to enjoy the experience.

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Sounds like she likes slower pace games which would make sense for a beginner. Try to find a few more games where she can go at her own pace and isn't pressured by enemies. Maybe a game like The Sims or something. There are some more exploratory type games for Wii like Endless Ocean or some chill point and click games for mobile/PC. 

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the games that my wife (generally a non gamer) enjoys the most are Dr. Mario, Mario Kart Wii, and Kirby's Epic Yarn. she likes games that we play together (i.e. Bubble Bobble and Kirby Return to Dreamland) as well.

anything with precise controls i've introduced is a short gaming session.  in short, emphasize fun and/or co-op.

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@ICrappedMyPants what sort of hobbies or other things does your wife like to do in her free time? More specific thoughts/recommendations would be helpful with that kind of info.

However ideas for easy to pick up co-op games is a very solid choice. Any sort of easy to share & pass game, i.e. Super Mario would also be a pretty good choice. Beyond that puzzle games are always a good time, Tetris, Doctor Mario, Columns, etc

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