Super Mario Galaxy 2

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Nooners:
An old retro game like the original Mario or Sonic-perhaps even Mega Man would work out pretty well.

A turn-based RPG would also work pretty well IMO.

I agree that Mario, Sonic or Megaman would make good beginner games because they are simple and straight-foward, but I disagree about RPGs. Consider the attention span of the average newbie gamer, and then consider how patient a player must be watch through dialoges and cutscenes to get to the gameplay, especially with today's RPGs.

Personally I think Arcade games make the best demonstrations, but all the good ones are online now. I sure do miss the golden age of arcades...

Plus, I also think American Football games make good introductions too, if the person is a sportsfan. The controls are usually simple enough for a gamer newbie/football fan to pick the right play and go with, but eventually they can learn advanced controls when they get comfortable.

Posts like these are the reason I still pay attention to Yahtzee. Behind all the nitpicking and dick jokes is probably one of the best video game critics around.

I think the lego games are also a good entry-level series for new gamers. They have some decent platforming elements, the controls are simple but also respond poorly at times, it encourages the "gotta collect everything" feel that most gamers have almost instinctively and they almost mandate co-op so you can be a crutch for the newb. Perhaps LBP has many similarities though. I haven't played it myself so I can't really tell but I'm sure you're probably right in your assessment.

I actually had this idea last week (which one game would you force someone to play to prove that videogames are a valid medium of expression) and was going to be all smart and make a forum post about it, but I couldn't come up with an answer. I was going to say one of the Gamecube Zeldas, since I think the GC has a really intuitive controller, and Zelda tends to be fun and engaging without being too difficult, but then I flash back to attempting to teach my mom how to play Super Swing Golf and give up on the whole idea.

I hope to god Mario games never feel like they need to be too innovative on the plot. That's not what we play them for. We have Mario RPGs for that.

Super Mario 64 has a nice and easy difficulty curve and you can learn to play as you go by reading the signs. GREAT for a new gamer. And my second or third favorite game, right after BioShock and possibly BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. (If Continuum Shift and/or BlazBlue 3 screw it up for me, Calamity Trigger may drop a few.)

Feh, evolution be damned. Mario Galaxy 2 is enough of a better game than Galaxy 1 and on the whole *infinitely* better than Sunshine (not from a "the water pump was a stupid idea" standpoint, mind you, but from a "there were just too many @#$%ing terrible aspects" standpoint). You can talk about evolution all you like, but Galaxy 2 did what any sequel worth its salt should do--took what was good about a previous installment and expanded on it. For me, that's more than enough.

It's great when a game does more than "just" improve, mind you. But I just do not see that as a requirement for a good game or even a great game.

EDIT: Variety, on the other hand, is plenty required, but personally I see variety within a game more important than variety between games. Maybe that has something to do with me being more concerned for the eight-plus hours I spend playing the game than for the two-plus years I spend waiting for the next one.

HA! I totally agree with the little big planet thing! I got a few friends who don't usually play video-games into it! Being a multiplayer game helps a lot with the whole "here's how you jump/here's how you grab/etc" thing, and it's simple, funny and fun!
My friends are mostly girls, so the whole "dressing up" your character stuff adds a lot to their entertainment too! Mario? It's lots of fun, but totally hard for a first timer.
I remember when I was young! I was used to 2D games (I had a megadrive. Nintendo was too expansive and my family was kinda broke at the time) and I had a kind of rich friend who had 3 different video-game platforms and she had a Nintendo64. Gooooooosh...
It was only the beginning of the 3D, but I felt so lost trying to control the characters..... (also, the controller was kind of different from what I was used to)!
Ah, I remember this was the first time I saw Ocarina of Time (I was 8 I guess... something like that)! I was fascinated by it.... but my friend got bored of it! I dreamed of finishing the game and was only able to do so last year... ah, the joy of a dream being fulfilled! *-*

Anyway.... Little big planet is a really good game to get people into gaming...
Every time my friends come visit, I already know what they want to do: play LBP.

I gave my friend the xbox controller that he has never picked up in his life. He was frustrating to watch.

I think Mario 64 would be a good starter game.

If I was to suggest a game to a new gamer it would either be Okami (on the PS2) or one of the latest Zelda games. Zelda has a better difficulty setting, but Okami is much prettier. The only problem with Okami is that its way to easy.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
It can't be too retro like the original Marios, because it's hard to get past primitive sound and graphics in today's demanding times and we're trying to sell gaming as it has evolved into now, not the whole DNA sequence.

Hmm. Good point.

I don't want my kids snubbing the gems of the past, so they'll be raised on the retro games first, I think. Like any education, you've got to start with the basics. And if they don't like it, I'll double their brussel sprouts allocation.

i agree with yahtzee 100% and i played the game and that its a littel bit wonky for some parts

Solaris Paradox:
Feh, evolution be damned. Mario Galaxy 2 is enough of a better game than Galaxy 1 and on the whole *infinitely* better than Sunshine (not from a "the water pump was a stupid idea" standpoint, mind you, but from a "there were just too many @#$%ing terrible aspects" standpoint). You can talk about evolution all you like, but Galaxy 2 did what any sequel worth its salt should do--took what was good about a previous installment and expanded on it. For me, that's more than enough.

It's great when a game does more than "just" improve, mind you. But I just do not see that as a requirement for a good game or even a great game.

EDIT: Variety, on the other hand, is plenty required, but personally I see variety within a game more important than variety between games. Maybe that has something to do with me being more concerned for the eight-plus hours I spend playing the game than for the two-plus years I spend waiting for the next one.

Second.

The funniest thing about this article by far is that I bought Super Mario Galaxy 2 based on your recommendation of the first title. I borrowed Galaxy from a friend a short time later, and I was shocked at the similarities.

Though I think the best argument in Galaxy 2's favour is that, well... sometimes you WANT more levels. Sometimes that's all you need. Galaxy 2 fills a hole quite nicely for many, many people - remember when Nintendo referred to it as "Galaxy 1.5"? And in while it is a cash cow, loud and mooing, it's a nice looking cash cow, with a whole lot of fun, new design elements; and sometimes that's all you really want from a sequel.

I always thought that games like Singstar, Guitar Hero, and Buzz! were the perfect newbie friendly titles - ease them into gaming, ease them into the idea of a controller, then ease them into doing stuff. But for selling the whole culture to them... god. There IS no jump-off point. The culture is built around people's joint experiences while gaming - differences are our similarities - and when a culture is built around acquired tastes, it's hard to thrust someone face-first into it without expecting either heavy bruising, or just total lack of willingness to do it again.

Ebert is a film critic; the lowest kind of -itic. The longer we keep referencing him, the longer he wins.

The game that got me into Video gaming was Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time, that was my first game from nothing to harcore so i would recomend that!

I just got to reading this article and haven't finished going through all the comments yet, but I worked for a few years at a video game archive and when groups of girls would tentatively poke their heads in or be dragged in with their boyfriends who went straight for Gears or whatever shooter I would immediately try and set them up with Little Big Planet and they would always, always fall in love with that game and want to come back and play more. I think Little Big Planet is a wonderful introduction into the gaming world and it's always been my fall back suggestion for new gamers. So right on Yahtzee, right on.

Gaming King:
Super Mario 64 has a nice and easy difficulty curve and you can learn to play as you go by reading the signs. GREAT for a new gamer. And my second or third favorite game, right after BioShock and possibly BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. (If Continuum Shift and/or BlazBlue 3 screw it up for me, Calamity Trigger may drop a few.)

I actually learned how to play video games in the first place when I got an N64 plus Mario when I was very young. It took time getting used to maneuver, but it was easy enough to adapt to regardless.

Great article overall, and it made me really think about showing a non-gamer that a game is also a medium of art. While I stand by that art is overall a subjective thing, you have to be able to understand the mechanics of how to play a game to experience the "art." You can't just play a supposedly "artistic" game to someone because they're not in control and experiencing any immersion or connection. It's the equivalent to watching a CGI film, a transition in perspective once the other person playing takes control, and then they are completely lost in what's so special as you start tearing apart the undead (or whatever) over and over.

Robert doesn't like video games. Lost a little respect, but we should know that everyone has flaws.

Just plain brutal for me. I hit the part about SMB2 vs. Doki Doki Panic and my eyes just glaze over and I practically close the page. Such an old topic and only surpassed in it's weird "unable to just up and die please" power by the Final Fantasy 2 and 3 vs. IV, IVe and VI debacle. At least the Final Fantasy thing has been given a legitimate rebirth due to the remakes but the only person that is going to be confused and think you mean "The Lost Levels" when you say, "SMB2," is a foreign exchange student from Japan reading this article.

As for the topic of a "first timer" video game. How bad would it really be to an honest to god "first timer" to throw them in front of the SNES Super Mario Collection? What about Super Mari World from SNES? Where is their bias about "good graphics" coming from if they are a true first timer? Maybe crazy blocky, Playstation 1 era, 3-d graphics I could see but would Super Mario 64 be okay or do we have to bump it up to Super Mario Sunshine? If you don't start them out lower they are going to have an awfully hard time ever going backwards to check out gaming's roots when/if they want to.

A good example of not being able to go backwards in gaming would be my friend. We both work at a well known gaming publisher with an in house dev studio. We're gamers, for sure, worked our way up from QA to where we are now. My buddy happened to skip out on the early Resident Evil games and basically only jumped on board at sequel number 4. It is pretty much impossible to get him to play parts 1 through 3 on PS1, the best I could do was play a 2 hour speed run through RE1 for him to watch and he essentially voted the game, "Pretty much crap and not scary." I know this guy well and if we had played this together when it was released (like I had) he would have been a fan.

Now this same guy I threw in front of my Neo Geo and made him play Metal Slug 2 and he had a blast... so he's hardly biased about graphics game play if they are classic sprites at least! That's why I wonder where you could really draw the line for introducing a "first timer." SNES at least, in my opinion.

SelectivelyEvil13:

Gaming King:
Super Mario 64 has a nice and easy difficulty curve and you can learn to play as you go by reading the signs. GREAT for a new gamer. And my second or third favorite game, right after BioShock and possibly BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. (If Continuum Shift and/or BlazBlue 3 screw it up for me, Calamity Trigger may drop a few.)

I actually learned how to play video games in the first place when I got an N64 plus Mario when I was very young. It took time getting used to maneuver, but it was easy enough to adapt to regardless.

Great article overall, and it made me really think about showing a non-gamer that a game is also a medium of art. While I stand by that art is overall a subjective thing, you have to be able to understand the mechanics of how to play a game to experience the "art." You can't just play a supposedly "artistic" game to someone because they're not in control and experiencing any immersion or connection. It's the equivalent to watching a CGI film, a transition in perspective once the other person playing takes control, and then they are completely lost in what's so special as you start tearing apart the undead (or whatever) over and over.

Cinematic games can build a sort of emotional connection, though, that might very well interest new players who are used to other media. FINAL FANTASY XIII would be great for a newcomer, I would say.

I would say Okami, although now, you can really only get the wii version. Still, it's a beautiful example of games as art, since it's practically an interactive watercolor. It would take some time to get used to the controls but it's a pretty easy game. The only thing I had trouble with was occasionally not knowing what to do next. Not a big platformer myself, so the usual platformers like Mario and Legend of Zelda kind of give me trouble but Okami is cake.

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