#10: Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Really, any Mario Kart works, but let's stick with the one most known for its multiplayer action. Mario Kart is a game with a very simple, easy-to-understand objective: Race to the finish. That's it. Nothing complicated. Nothing difficult to understand. Non-gamers can get into this pretty easily if only for the user-friendliness of it all.
Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity. For the main game, all you need is one analog stick. That's it. No buttons. You could play the game one-handed if that's your thing. And let's not forget that the Monkey Ball games come with a variety of incredibly fun party games, some of which are modeled after real-life sports and activities. And everything is remarkably simple and easy to learn. Talk about accessibility.
But mainly just to see what all the fuss is about. And who doesn't get satisfaction out of beating random pedestrians to death with a baseball bat?
An essentially button-free game is one that non-gamers welcome with open arms. I know a number of people who rarely (if ever) play videogames that immediately wanted to play Twisted when they saw me playing it. The game gives you a number of interesting mini-games in familiar WarioWare style that all require you to move your GBA around in some way. It's amazing how many ideas came out of it, but the result is one of the most addicting handheld games of all time.
Interactivity is a good thing, and in this case it came from a very unlikely source: Sony! The somewhat wooden first-party developer came out with this amazingly understated camera device that translated your actions onto the screen. This set of mini-games took advantage of the EyeToy's features and acted as a showcase for hardware. It's amazingly innovative, and even non-gamers could jump in with ease.
#5: Nintendogs (DS)
Well, this one is easy because it's so very similar to that Tomagotchi fad that "swept the nation" a little less than a decade ago. But more importantly, many, many people own dogs, and can therefore instantly relate to the game's concept. You raise a dog. Simple. The touch screen controls strengthened Nintendo's emphasis on simplicity and accessibility, but it's hard to admit that take care of the beautifully rendered puppies was just so fun in its own stupid way.
I can get anyone to play this game. Seriously. Any version of bomberman will work, but I have so much experience with this one that I feel the need to use it. Non-gamers are often intimidated by game controllers, and it's usually tough to convince them that for a game like Bomberman, only a fraction of the buttons are even used. Bomberman is a more subtle game of combat than one would initially expect. It takes timing and patience, and staying alive requires you to think quickly and act quickly. Though more videogame-like than many other choices on this list, Bomberman is a lot of fun for everyone.
Its success overseas should prove the popularity this one has with non-gamers. It certainly helps that Brain Age is composed almost entirely of activities that just about any normal person can interact with. Many of the game's tests of your mental ability relate to solve simple math equations or identifying objects. You write things on the touch screen with the DS's stylus, or say your answers into the microphone. It's easy to interact with, and that's something non-gamers appreciate.
#2: Tetris (GB)
When I think of games that even non-gamers will play, I try to think of people in my own family who have been hypnotized at some point by a videogame. Tetris, for me, is an easy example, because my mother is better at it than I am. It's the greatest puzzle game of all time without question, and that's partially just because the game STARTED puzzle games in the first place. But non-gamers love the simplicity of it all. Take six shapes and fit them together in the best ways possible. Nothing particularly complex about it, and that's what non-gamers need: Accessibility. Though the hardcore appreciate a bit of complexity in their games, we must understand that it's simplicity that attracts the non-gamer.
#1: The Sims (PC)
I can honestly say that I have never been an enormous fan of this series. Play a game that allows you to act out real life? Why not just... live? Needless to say, this is a game that even my videogame-despising sister has been mercilessly attached to, so it must have some appeal. Parents, grandparents, girlfriends (just kidding), siblings... Nearly everyone who would swear to never play a videogame under any other circumstance will likely try this game and love it. Perhaps because it's such a relateable game. After all, you live, don't you?
Simplicity and accessibility are important ingredients in luring non-gamers into the wonderful world of videogames. We gamers will always have our favorite, but those non-gamers will always have theirs, as well.
List by MSuskie (07/20/2006)
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