These games appeal to non-gamers because they have simple premises, low pressure, easy learning curves, and don’t require a huge time commitment. Another good feature is fun co-op for parties or hangout time. Most of these games are either puzzles, party games, or platformers with a few sandbox games thrown in. It’s possible that if you have a non-gamer friend who you think would love gaming, one of these will be a gateway drug for them. Especially games that have elements of first-person shooters and RPGs but without any of the complications that may turn off a first time gamer.
Guitar Hero/Rock Band/Singstar
These games are great at a party, but they can get really boring if you’re playing alone. Singing along to Eric Carmen alone in your apartment may just worry the neighbours, but with a gaggle of your best pals, it’s a personal karaoke showdown. In addition, RockBand is more fun when you’re playing with someone on every instrument, and Guitar Hero is more fun when you’re battling your friends. However, no one is going to judge you for practicing Guitar Hero before a big party so you can crush your opponents. (P.S. Duelling Banjos is out as DLC now.)
Nanas of the world dominate at Wii Sports, making us feel inadequate. You can choose from bowling, tennis, baseball, golf, and boxing, but the Wii gimmick is where the appeal lies. (Nana’s don’t play Tiger Woods Golf). Ultimately the Wii controls is the reason why this is probably the most popular video game in retirement homes. That and the adorable little Mii character avatars you can create and download.
Brain Age/Big Brain Academy
These little puzzle games are great for keeping you busy while you wait in the doctor’s office or just keeping your mind sharp. They don’t hide puzzles behind a slick story or gorgeous animation; they just present them as they are. Sudoku anyone?
The point of Scribblenauts is to collect “Starites” by solving puzzles. You solve puzzles by summoning objects to help you. You can summon objects by simply writing the word–any object you can think of. This game is half puzzle half side-scrolling platformer. It’s very addictive and simple enough for anyone to play. The only thing that may be confusing is the freedom you have to literally conjure anything!
This is another simple puzzle/platformer hybrid that likely doesn’t need any introduction by me. If you haven’t heard of it, you play a test subject who must use inter-spatial portals created by your Portal Gun to complete puzzles, often using physics to maneuver yourself through chambers. Throughout Portal and its sequel, Portal 2, a darkly hilarious story is told through the commentary of the malevolent AI, named GLaDOS that runs the testing facility.
Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, and Indiana Jones all have LEGO video game incarnations with great co-op play and quick playthrough time. The low-diffculty prevents this game from being frustrating to non-gamers but isn’t enough to bore regular gamers, making this a great game to play with your friends! These games are especially great for playing with kids.
Little Big Planet & Little Big Planet Karting
The Little Big Planet series, including Little Big Planet Karting, is so fun that I often forget how recently the games were released. It feels like they have been around forever, and they match the appeal of the Super Mario series. Seriously, if you enjoyed Mario as a kid and you haven’t played this, you are missing out. The game is really action-packed, and if you finish the main story line, you can download user made levels to keep playing. The Little Big Planet Karting game is very similar to MarioKart but with the signature Little Big Planet style and content. Users have recreated the original tracks and they’re available for download.
Harvest Moon/Animal Crossing
These two series are simulator/RPG hybrids in which you play a character in a fictional town. Harvest Moon has you building up your farm, getting married, having pets, and participating in your little community. Animal Crossing is more community focused. You live in a village of anthropomorphized animals where you make money doing various tasks. There are no set goals or objectives, you just collect items, socialize with other villagers and customize your home. In the newest installment, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you are the mayor of the village and can manage the entire town!
Minecraft is a sandbox building game that truly has the ability to become whatever the player wants. This game could be played like an RPG, exploring the wild world, or as a life simulator, with the player building up their home and farm and interacting with villagers. Essentially, you live in a world of blocks that you can break down and use to build other things. You must eat (there are plants and animals) and you must defend yourself (there are monsters that come out at night and linger in caves). This game would be great for non-gamers who play together on a server or LAN connection!
The Sims series is another sandbox game where you can control little Sims (virtual people) and basically do anything in their lives that you can do in real life, but of course, with no consequences. This is really the ultimate non-gamer’s game. The gameplay is so simple and the premise so appealing. Your little people live, work, have families, and die all at your whim. You could just build houses and interior decorate if you wanted to, but most players escape to an alternate reality where they can marry the prom queen and cheat on her with the sexy maid. There is tons of user-made content, from clothes and objects, to entire worlds.
There you have it! A plethora of video games for non-gamers! All the games on this list are beloved and great to fall back on between big releases or when you’re home sick and just need to relax. Enjoying the games on this list do not make you less of a gamer! Their universal appeal is what makes them so popular among non-gamers and gamers alike!