Non-Gamer No More: Five Games I'd Give a Non-Gamer To Make Them a Gamer

5 games for non-gamers.

There are so many different reasons I wanted to make this article, but one that sticks out is the sheer fact that the gaming industry is poorly represented by popular franchises such as Call of Duty. Advertised on YouTube and on television, Call of Duty serves as the wall between non-gamers and gamers. I've seen it firsthand; non-gamers will immediately be turned off by the franchise, and shooters like it, because they dislike war simulators. But now they will never have the pleasure of delving into hundreds of other, actually unique titles. I have had the pleasure of playing spectacular titles, and it would be a real shame if non-gamers missed out on the adventures to be had. Here are five games I'd have a non-gamer play to make them a gamer. Hopefully by the end of this you'll be able to turn that stubborn friend of yours into a gamer, or even change a mind or two about the games themselves.

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 

Rated: Teen

Release Date: December 1, 2008

One of my first Playstation 3 games, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a masterpiece. Developer Naughty Dog is known for its ability to perfectly blend gameplay and story, and it really shows in this title. You play as Nathan Drake, witty treasure hunter who risks his life for loot alongside his partner Sullivan. Drake follows Marco Polo's doomed voyage from China in 1292, where Polo's fleet shipwrecked in Borneo, carrying the Cintamani Stone from Shambhala. The road to the stone is a difficult one, full of betrayal, trickery, and a surprising amount of humor from our friend Drake. Playing it is incomparable to any film experience I've ever had, as it feels like your playing your favorite action blockbuster. This will especially get non-gamers who are also movie buffs hooked. I personally am not a film buff and I beat this game twelve+ times.   

2. Batman: Arkham City 

Rated: Teen

Release Date: October 18, 2011

The Dark Knight has been celebrated for over seventy years through film, comics, and television shows, and developer Rocksteady felt it necessary to make a kickass video game franchise out of the iconic superhero. Sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, the game centers around Arkham City, a walled off part of Gotham that is ridden with gang rivalries and wars. Bruce Wayne campaigns against the city, and is captured by TYGER guards sent by Hugo Strange and is taken into Arkham. After Wayne is confronted by Strange and the Penguin (a.k.a. Oswald Cobblepot), he escapes and decides this is a problem not for Bruce Wayne, but for the Batman. Alfred sends him his suit and a long and dangerous night begins. With an unforgettable story and one of the smoothest combat engines to date, Arkham City is one of my favorite games. As a big fan of the Bat I can honestly say, Batman fan or not, this story will keep you playing until its eye-widening finale. 

3. The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series 

Rated: Mature

Release Date: April 2012

Winning over eighty game of the year awards (including the Game of the Year award at Spike's Video Game Awards (VGA's) last year), The Walking Dead is bittersweet. An incredible journey struck with loss and sorrow, which has left many players with tears in their eyes. It's divided into five episodes, but if you're like me and want a disc, there is a retail version you can purchase that includes all five entries.

The game has you play as Lee Everret, a man who was on his way to jail when a zombie outbreak engulfed the city. The car swerves to avoid hitting a person on the highway and goes off road, into a forest full of infected flesh-eaters. After the police officer who had arrested you is eaten, you unlock your cuffs and escape the forest, jumping over a wooden fence to create a barrier between you and the zombies after you. Upon entering an abandoned home, you click to hear a voicemail from a distressed mother. Soon, after finding a walkie talkie, you meet the daughter of that distressed mother, and your journey officially begins.

The real factor that players love was the way the story unfolded by your hand. The game develops as you make decisions, and you have to make a lot of decisions. Core decisions, little decisions, they all play a part. You actions could make a character hate you, you actions could make a character love you - totally your choice. Its strong cast of characters and storyline is balanced by its simple walk-and-click gameplay. It's an experience you shouldn't miss. 

4. The Last of Us 

Rated: Mature

Release Date: June 14, 2013

The Last of Us, another title developed by Naughty Dog, received perfect scores all across the board after its release back in June. As a huge Naughty Dog fan, I was immediately excited for it to release upon its announcement at Spike's VGA's in 2011. Pitting main protagonist Joel in a world fallen ill with people infected by cordyceps (a very real fungi), the game takes you along a road where the past cannot be denied the spotlight. Number four is about an apocalypse, too, but thought it may be about infected, don't be fooled - these are no zombies. 

From the very start of the game you will be emotionally invested. To avoid spoilers, I won't touch on it too much, but it just goes to show how powerful an opening to a video game can be. The game then takes a jump twenty years into the future, where Joel is in the midst of his new life inside a quarantine zone. Greeted by female partner Tess, the duo sets off to retrieve their stolen guns from former associate Robert. But, when they chase Robert down after fighting off his security, he confesses that he had already sold the guns to a notorious group known as the Fireflies. Marlene, leader of the Fireflies, sets up a trade: she'll return the guns for a drop-off somewhere outside of the quarantine zone. After agreeing, the package that is in need of deposit is a teenage girl named Ellie. By the end of the game, you'll find it very hard to believe Joel dislikes her at first, as the game focuses in on how their relationship grows to be one of the strongest ever, much like Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I can't stress to you enough how much fun I've had playing this game's single-player and multiplayer components. Its gameplay is incredibly entertaining, and its story is painfully addictive. As one of the final titles of the seventh console generation, the generation goes out with a bang. 

5. BioShock Infinite 

Rated: Mature

Release: March 26, 2013

Accompanying The Last of Us as one of this year's greatest is BioShock: Infinite, third installment in the BioShock trilogy. I thought about having the original BioShock on the list, but if you buy Infinite on Playstation 3, you will be given a digital download of it, so you're technically buying two magnificent games for the price of one. As a lover of the first BioShock, I was pretty darn excited for this game to come out. Things were different this time, though - quite the opposite, actually. In the first game, we're taken to a city underwater known as Rapture. In Infinite, we're shot up into the floating city of Columbia. And both unique locations they are. The game has you play as Booker DeWitt, a man riddled with debt, following the game's tagline: "Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt."

From the get-go, the game oozes mystery. Coming into contact with a strange lighthouse, DeWitt walks inside. Ascending the steps and passing a bloody man in a chair, he reaches the top to find an alignment of bells. After ringing the bells in a specific order, doors open at the top of the lighthouse revealing a chair. DeWitt sits down and is strapped down as a Star-Wars-like pod comes up around him and shoots Booker off into the sky - off to Columbia. Being the only first-person shooter on my list, games like this (this title being a prime example) help prove there are other shooters out there that aren't as mindless as war simulators. The story will simply sweep you off your feet, and the gameplay flows great with its pace. This and The Last of Us are titles so good it'll make gamers pry their hands away from their new PS4 and Xbox Ones and come back to enjoy some good ol' seventh generation badassery. 

What do you think of my list? What are your five games that you'd make a non-gamer play to convince them to become a gamer? Write up an answer in the comments below!

Published Nov. 17th 2013
  • Samuel Smith
    Featured Contributor
    If i had to pick my top game to convert someone it would have to be The Last Of Us, My girlfriend saw me playing and was hooked, couldn't believe how far games had gone.
  • Proto Foe
    Senior Intern
    Great read :) Perfect list to bring over the PC purists to console.

    Like other people have said - The list is filled with fantastic titles, yet maybe not the best to present to 'newbies'.

    I recently tried to introduce a friend to console gaming, my titles of choice? Mass Effect and Gears of War.... Didn't go so well :( We somestimes forget that most of us transitioned from d-pads to analog sticks over the course of a generation or two.

    I think I'd be the same if my Wife asked me to try cross stitching.
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Interesting list... but those are all games geared towards basically the same demographic as Call of Duty: young teenage/twenty something males. They might also look over-complicated to someone who isn't familiar with video games.

    Personally I'd suggest much simpler games... similar to what Coatedpolecat said about bejewled and tetris.

    Portal/Portal 2 I think is a good entry point... it's a female lead character and you're not thrown into a fight when you barely know where your buttons are. Very simple controls, but also a ton of depth to that game.

    Nintendo games are also always a great place to start... for most of us that's where we began video games. I'd say Animal Crossing probably appeals to the widest audience... and the things and skills you pick up in that game definitely carry over to a "major" game like Skyrim.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I always suggest Dust: An Elysian Tail. Peggle, and castle crashers. For AAA- oblivion, tiger woods 09, and halo.
  • Steve Lawton
    I agree. The list (while full of awesome games) are console specific story driven games. I think a good place to start would be Super Mario games (Kart, Party etc...) or something like Madden where you can easily jump in and out. If the enjoyment factor is there, then try something like Telltale's The Walking Dead.

    I tried having my girlfriend play Portal and she got dizzy. You forget how jarring the use of dual joysticks can be when you didn't grow up using them.
  • Amy White
    Former Editor in Chief
    Castle Crashers is, I would argue, one of the ultimate gateway games.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Fun read. I got my wife into games by turning on Oblivion and just handing her the controller.
  • Mike Acciarino
    Featured Contributor
    Thanks! It's great how willing your wife was to jump in. It makes me wish some of my friends and family members were as willing. Sometimes they need that extra push of a really good game.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I tired to get my mom to play The Walking Dead... She couldn't stay calm.

    She loves bejeweled and tetris
  • Mike Acciarino
    Featured Contributor
    I tried showing my sibling a cutscene from The Last of Us and they walked away. So much for sharing great works!

    Can't beat the time killers.

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