Top 7 Games to Hook Your Non-Gamer Friends

We all have someone who we wish played games with us. Maybe they’re skeptical, or afraid, or just ambivalent, but for whatever reason it’s difficult to get them interested in our favorite hobby. Here are seven games that are not only great in their own right, but that I have seen my non-gaming friends lose hours of their lives to.

7. Wii Sports
Whether we are avid sports fans, or only ever catch a game when its broadcast on a ring of televisions surrounding us at a restaurant, most of us know that baseball involves swinging the bat at the ball. Wii Sports handles all of the rules we never bothered to learn growing up and says “Here, swing this remote around until you’re having fun.” Gamer, sports fan, parent, spouse, whatever you might label yourself as, chances are that it won’t take more than a minute of swinging a remote around your living room before you’re determined to prove you’re the best at it. Competition brings people together...mostly so that they can throw fits and call each other cheaters, but it’s a start.

6. Arkham City
Everyone loves Batman. Even Marvel fans love Batman. He’s moody and dark and there’s something tragically broken about him. Arkham City not only captures the caped crusader thematically, it’s also one of the most fun games out there. The game has a steady drip of unlockables, perfect for someone who might not be familiar with video games as a whole.

While you start out with next to nothing, the game continues to feed you new content periodically, giving you enough time with each new addition to keep you from being overwhelmed. This makes it one of the easiest, and most fun games for non-gamers to pick up and engross themselves in. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also one of the best games on the market.

5. Skyrim
It’s easy to convince newcomers to play Skyrim. For starters, media for the game is all over the place. People outside of the gaming culture know Skyrim, whether they’ve played it or not. Getting them to sit down and play the game is just a matter of name-dropping. Getting the controller out of their hands after they’ve killed their first dragon? Almost impossible.

Escapism is the key to good entertainment, and nothing says escapism like creating an entirely new person to go explore a massive world you’ve never set foot in. While other games are about experiencing someone else’s story, Skyrim is about making your own. No matter what you’re doing in Skyrim, you’re doing it your way, and that hooks people in.

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Gamer or not, chances are you’ve played a Mario game before. He’s the drugged out plumber we all grew up with. Unless you were that kid that had a Sega, then you’re likely more familiar with Sonic who, for some reason, is faster than any hedgehog has a right to be. Whatever side you might have fallen on, if you grew up in the 90’s, you wanted to see these two fight. And now you can. Mario and Sonic are going to be the big headliners, but really the gang’s all here. While characters like Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance’s Ike might not be familiar to the less devoted gamer, there’s a Pokemon, plumbers, and tactical espionage action-heroes for everyone.

3. Mario Kart Wii
Why Mario Kart over Brawl? Aren’t they of a similar premise? Yes. Both have a large roster of familiar faces and a competitive attitude as likely to ruin friendships as it is to create them. However, Mario Kart is the easier sell, because it’s not as focused on beating each other up. Sure there are shells to throw and traps to lay, but in the end, your real goal is the finish line, not karma. Many non-gamers avoid video games because they think they’re all about violence. And when it comes to the majority of games, they’re right. You can sit down and play Mario Kart with your friends, without feeling like you’ve just entered Thunder Dome and only one of you will get out alive. Or at least you can convince them that’s the case and as soon as they’re hooked, show them the spikes of your blue shell.

2. Dead Space
There’s a reason that theme parks pay people to dress up and chase their guests around with chainsaws on Halloween. Fear is exciting. I personally have no idea why, but fear brings us together. Dead Space combines a masterful feeling of dread and desperation, with just enough hope to make it difficult to put down. Sure, you want to drop the controller and run, but are you really going to leave Isaac to fend for himself?

1. The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is a choose-your-own-adventure book for adults. The zombie apocalypse is something we all dream about: a chance to prove to ourselves and others that we have the gusto to survive a hellish situation. Of course, things become a lot more complicated when you take into account the survival of everyone you care about. And you will care about The Walking Dead’s cast. 

The Walking Dead has the pace and structure of a good book. The kind people, gamer or not, will stay up until four in the morning reading. Even more addicting is the fact that you’re changing the direction of the story with your choices. It’s a wonderful introduction to the big narrative RPGs for people who might never have killed so much as a goblin.
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