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The Best Games For Non-Gamers and Beginners

Updated August 25, 2020 5.0k votes 1.6k voters 287.0k views16 items

List RulesVote for the video games that you think offer the best introduction to gaming.

Which video games are best to start out with if you're not a traditional gamer? Unless you've been obsessively mastering the art of dodging killer mushrooms and collecting healing potions since pre-verbal childhood, leaping face-first into the world of gaming can be an intimidating and confusing experience. If you're a new or inexperienced gamer looking for video games for beginners, it can help to get a breakdown of playable titles that will help you ease in. 

Below are some games that are easy to find, fun to play, and a great introduction to gaming as a whole. Well-designed and fun games for people new to gaming come in all shapes and sizes. The difficulty level of these games varies, but the most important thing they have in common is that they're straightforward and self-explanatory, so you'll have a chance to absorb some basic gaming skills without getting too overwhelmed. Just take deep breaths, and try not to throw your controller across the room!
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  • Photo: ravensong75 / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    Journey is an adventure game produced by thatgamecompany, also responsible for Flow and Flower. You play a mysterious hooded character traveling through a desert wasteland toward a mysterious light in the distance. Along the way, you solve simple puzzles, collect clues about your final destination, and (if you're online and playing in multiplayer mode) interact with other players who are doing the same thing.

    Journey is a beautiful, atmospheric, and at times even calming game, and it's a great example of how games can inspire emotions and tell a story with subtlety.
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  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use

    This game's premise is silly, but it's a great introduction to Tower Defense games, which are games where you have to position soldiers and allocate resources in order to stop a hoard of slowly encroaching invaders from destroying your base.

    In Plants vs. Zombies, the invaders are zombies, and the weapons you use to keep them out are...plants. You can select an array of different plants with different goofy crap they can do to fight the zombies, e.g. spitting fruit at them, exploding on impact, being really hard to chew, etc. Fun game. I have played it for over four hours in one sitting before, and I'm only a little bit ashamed of that.
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  • Video: YouTube

    The Animal Crossing games have been popular for years, and New Leaf is the most current one. In this life simulation game, you play as a stranger who shows up in a new town and, due to some bureaucratic mismanagement, is immediately elected Mayor.

    You get to plan the town, make friends with other citizens, and of course, buy lots of crazy furniture, toys, and clothes for yourself. Animal Crossing is a great, goofy, low-key introduction to multiplayer gaming, since the features of the game that are most popular involve traveling between towns and socializing with other players in real time.
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  • Photo: Portal/Valve Corporation

    Portal is one of the most popular puzzle games of all time, and definitely ranks high in fans-geeking-out-over-it category. If you've ever heard anyone make a joke involving some variation of "The cake is a lie!" this is the game they were referring to.

    In Portal, you move through a series of rooms connected by glowing ovular portals, which, based on their location (on the walls, the ceiling, etc) become increasingly harder to pass through. Throughout the course of the game, you gradually come into conflict with a disembodied intelligence who appears to be controlling the environment's physical properties.
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