Sadly, getting into video games for the first isn’t quite as easy as it should be, especially when it comes to PC gaming and (most) console gaming.
And in many cases, it’s even more difficult to join the ‘gaming community,’ as certain self-labeled “hardcore gamers” tend to be rather unaccepting of newcomers.
But the fact is video games are for everyone, and no one should feel intimidated by the prospect of getting into gaming for the very first time.
If that’s what you’re looking to do, congratulations! We here at GL are more than happy to support anyone who’s ready to try out this new hobby that offers something unique from every other art form and entertainment medium.
Now, that said, there are indeed many video games out there that are complex in nature and which require a higher level of concentration and skill from the player.
This list includes none of those games. Instead, we’re here to deliver you a list of eight of the very best video games for beginner gamers.
And even if you’re not brand new to gaming, these are just excellent choices.
Just a few brief notes before we dive into the list itself.
We generally stayed away from free-to-play mobile games with in-app purchases (which the gaming community refers to as microtransactions.
Yes, we acknowledge that almost everyone reading this has a smartphone, which immediately makes mobile gaming an impressively accessible and easy option.
But unfortunately, sleazy mobile games could give a terrible first impression of what playing games is like.
These are all paid games, and most of them require either a video game console or a PC.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently one of best selling games on the Nintendo Switch, which is itself one of the most accessible consoles for new gamers, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an excellent choice for beginner gamers.
Why? Because the premise of the game itself is about relaxation and player choice.
The game asks very little from the player, and the player doesn’t even need to actually do even that much if they don’t want to.
Of course, the game’s primary loop is all about further enjoyment.
Progressing, which really means just improving the things you have and getting new things, is a great motivator to repeat some activities that might otherwise start to feel like chores.
The game’s controls are simple and while there are timed events, the more demanding activities are entirely optional.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Based only on gameplay videos of high-level players, Breath of the Wild might seem like a complicated game, but it’s really not.
There are many crucial systems at play, and getting the most out of the game requires learning how these systems work together and getting to know the map well.
But it’s a very accepting game, and it’s another game where the player chooses the timeline and even the level of difficulty, at least to an extent.
Once you’ve earned a few extra hearts and named a couple of horses, you’ll feel comfortable traveling the game world and discovering what’s around the next corner, or, as the case may be, what lies on the other side of the nearest mountaintop.
Stardew has become famous as an extremely chilled-out game.
Some players take it very seriously, but once again, it’s more about player choice.
The game lays out a pretty large number of different opportunities for you to pursue, and none of them are strictly necessary.
You can focus on farming or home decoration or becoming the most popular person in town.
And yes, you can even court some (or all) of the hot singles in your area.
It’s a game with positive vibes coming out of its ears, which is a lot more pleasant than it might sound.
What Remains of Edith Finch
If you’re new to gaming, then you may be unfamiliar with the term ‘walking simulator.’ This refers to a style of video game design that tends to value storytelling over traditional gameplay elements.
What Remains of Edith Finch wants to tell you a story, or rather a series of stories, each of which has its own sort of minigame.
None of these is especially difficult, and most often the challenge is sorting out what the current goal is.
While easy and straightforward on the gameplay side, Edith Finch has some fairly dark stories to tell, so please keep that in mind before you step out into the woods.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
On the lighter side, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a fanciful karting game that places all emphasis on fun while still managing to provide incredible tracks and backdrops.
It’s a racing game and not a very serious one at that.
Beginner players may want to practice on the 50cc race mode, the slowest in the game.
Additional help comes from the optional smart acceleration and smart steering options that will help keep your kart on the track.
If you’re a social gamer, you can hop into local multiplayer or try some online racing, though you should expect to encounter some stiff competition there.
There’s also a battle mode if you want to focus on throwing items at other players or the CPUs.
What The Golf?
What the Golf? (yes, the question mark is part of the title) has been made available across PC, smartphones, and consoles, and in our opinion, it works best with a touchscreen as opposed to a controller.
Think of What the Golf? this way: a laboratory is experimenting, trying to figure out how to make golf less boring.
That’s essentially the premise of the game, and the gameplay lets you try out these various experiments, which are insanely creative and goofy levels that just want to make you happy.
Ideas are presented and iterated upon to an impressive degree, and you’ll need to progress through each one at least once before you can unlock more areas and even more wacky levels that will put a smile on your face.
Also, this game is currently available as part of Apple’s Apple Arcade subscription service, which charges $5 a month for access to a pretty large number of excellent mobile games.
Portal is a game loved dearly by serious gamers and more casual gamers alike, but its premise works incredibly well for those unfamiliar with gaming conventions, and it offers a delectable taste of just how creative and innovative games can be.
It’s essentially a first-person puzzle game where you’re given a portal gun. And that’s it. You use the portal gun to enter new areas, defeat enemies in creative ways, and even to abuse the physics of the game to get wild amounts of speed.
Portal can be purchased for next to nothing, especially when it’s on sale.
Donut County is another highly inventive game that takes a fairly simple idea and expands it outward in all directions, similar to how your movable hole gets larger with each item that it swallows.
The music is breezy and calming, and the dialogue is pretty great your first time through, although, for some reason, the game doesn’t let you outright skip these scenes, even on multiple replay sessions.