Happy belated Thanksgiving, my gaming family! No matter the situation, there is always at least something to be thankful for. Even in our games. Big game companies might let us down occasionally with annoyances such as microtransactions, but for every EA, we have a Sakurai.
So what am I choosing to be thankful for, this year? I am thankful to those in my life whom I love, even if they don’t share my passion of gaming. Not all of my friends or family enjoy this medium of entertainment like I do, even though I consider it to be as essential to understanding modern culture as movies or books. I hope you all can relate to this like I do, because it’s Thanksgiving over here in the States and this is what is what I feel like writing about during this slow (gaming) news week. Here I give you, the different non-gamers in your life and how to get them into it.
Please keep in mind that the suggestions below are interchangeable. You can use any of the tips for any of the groups listed below. Not everyone is the same. Results may vary. Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to “change” people. Especially family. If people aren’t cool with games, they just might be cool with games.
Your Old Parents
Maybe you have old parents who never got into gaming. Maybe they see your hobby as a waste of time. Or they just don’t get it.
Not to worry, Nintendo figured this out a decade ago with the Wii. If you still have Wii Sports or even just a Wii set up, Nintendo is a great company to go to for family friendly entertainment. But everybody already knows this.
After all, I remember playing frisbee golf from the Tiger Woods game for the Wii with my whole family. Why wouldn’t it work? And what about modern consoles? What if I don’t have a Wii anymore?
It’s not about the fact that it’s a Wii. It’s the type of game that lured them. Not the specific console.
In fact, with the Nintendo Switch, things may be even easier. You can bring the Switch anywhere that your family may be. But I found (and I remember this is just my experience) parents adapt to video games easier if it’s something that they can understand.
Usually it has simple controls and easy rules. Like game shows or sports. There are many game show games out on modern consoles. Although, a Jackbox Party Pack may be too risqué. It depends how tightly wound your parents are. I remember when I was a kid with my Nintendo 64, playing Wheel of Fortune, of all things, with my mom. It’s a nice memory. I hope you have some too.
Your Siblings or Other Family
Perhaps your siblings aren’t as tightly wound as your parents, but still. They are only “kind of” into gaming. And the Rock Band craze ended years ago.
I’ve found a wonderful genre for them can be fighting games. Preferably, the kind that you can button mash and see results. Some modern examples include, Super Smash Bros (any entry) and the Soulcalibur series (also any entry). Some of my fondest gaming memories of my brother were of us keeping up with Soulcalibur 2 up into the hours of the night.
Of course, you may try game show video games like with your parents, but what makes fighting games a great choice are the inherent (hopefully) rivalry. That is something priceless.
Your Significant Other
Maybe you love someone, but they don’t love gaming like you do. That’s ok. I once tried to record footage of an RPG because my girlfriend loved movies. But the lack of voice acting made it so she didn’t know what she was looking at.
So I tapped into the games she was already familiar with. The old arcade games she liked as a kid. Donkey Kong, Burger Time, House of the Dead. Those games held pleasant memories for her. So if the game shows or fighting games don’t work, get your significant other into co-op games. She may like Burger Time, but this evolved into us going through Overcooked together. She even got a temporary kick out of some side scrolling beat-em-ups.
The truth is, whatever your family’s passion is, level with them. They may give you a chance as well. Explain games in a way that would appeal to them, not you. And be thankful that they are in your life at all. Happy Thanksgiving.
I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been playing video games. I also do standup and improv. The game that made me realize that video games could be more than just a toy, was Metal Gear Solid 2.