Living with a partner who isn’t a gamer can sometimes be challenging. It’s always fun to have some of the same hobbies. Thankfully, I live with my partner who isn’t a gamer but has become open to the idea of gaming over the course of our relationship. Living through a pandemic where we were stuck inside for weeks helped direct his attention to games, and while he does not consider himself a gamer, we’ve found games that we can play together or he can play solo if he feels like it.
While I’ve tried to get him into JRPGs, we haven’t gotten that far yet, but we’re working on it! If you’re living with a partner, friend, or roommate you want to include in your gaming time, there are a number of games that are fun, easily accessible, and don’t require too much skill to enjoy. Some can be played together, some can be played in turns, and some can be played solo. All that matters is that the game is fun and a good time is had by all – especially the person who doesn’t really game. Here is our list of some of the best games for non-gamers.
Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 continues to be one of the most popular games ever. As of November 2021, the game had sold over 38 million copies in its lifetime. It’s a game that has a variety of race speeds so it’s easy to pick up and learn. Once your non-gamer is comfortable, you can tick up to the next speed so the challenge and, hopefully, the fun increases. It doesn’t require a ton of skill and there are even options so that your cart can’t drift off of the track. It also lets you play online with friends if you wanna bring even more people in on the fun. Plus, there are many recognizable and fun characters to choose from.
Death can be really scary, and there are a number of games that feature mindless killing. While there typically isn’t anything wrong with them, they can sometimes be too much for a non-gamer. Spiritfarer is a game that features characters dealing with death, but it has a perspective that offers a positive spin on mental health issues like coping with loss.
It is a cozy, indie game that can be played in co-op. In the game, you play as Stella, a girl who helps the deceased pass on in this in-between space. In co-op, player two controls her mystical cat Daffodil. In the game you’ll help build their homes, collect supplies, cook, and set sail across a magical land.
My partner and I downloaded Fall Guys one evening and decided to take turns playing it together. What resulted was an evening full of laughing, screaming, and general delight. We played on a non-work evening and had drinks, too, and it resulted in one of my favorite memories of us.
Fall Guys is multiplayer but only online. There is no split-screen or couch co-op, unfortunately. But don’t let that stop you from playing with someone. Simply take turns seeing how far you can get through a series of rounds. It’s fun to cheer for your non-gamer friend or laugh if they fail in a spectacularly funny fashion.
Old School Platformers
If you have an old SNES or NES around, fire up your favorite platformer and take turns playing. If you don’t have one, the Nintendo Switch Online offers up a variety of old-school games to play. From Super Mario World to Donkey Kong Country, there are a variety of platformers you can give a go.
These types of games are also fairly accessible thanks to their nostalgia factor. It’s more likely than not the non-gamer in your life is familiar with Mario or Donkey Kong. These games are a great entry point because of that fact.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great solo game. It’s pretty accessible and doesn’t take a lot of gaming knowledge to get into. It also helps that it’s on the Nintendo Switch which typically hosts many accessible games, including most everything on this list.
While there are certain stakes in it, there really isn’t any way to lose the game. There aren’t timers or enemies to kill you. It’s all about the simple island life. Getting to care for your island, meet new villagers, decorate your home, and do some terraforming are all fun activities that won’t cause any major frustrations for a non-gamer.
There are a lot of narrative-driven “walking simulator” games out in the world, but few are as excellent as Firewatch. The gameplay is simple. You walk, interact with items, and make choices as the game unfolds. It’s a great introduction for a non-gamer who loves to read or enjoys binging a good drama.
The story in it is rich and lively with its two leads, and the story and central mystery is immediately engrossing. Firewatch could easily be a stepping stone into bigger narrative games like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or maybe even Skyrim if they’re feeling particularly adventurous.