Have you ever had a friend that was never really into games and you couldn’t understand why? You have a game in mind that you just KNOW they would like but if you try and get them to play it they act like you’ve invited them to join a cult. They might have played some of the “mainstream” stuff like Pokemon and The Sims, but never quite taken the full plunge into the gaming world. I’ve had, and still do have, quite a few friends like that and I will admit that I always try to get them involved to no avail… Until now!
In my first year of University I met my future best friend in my assigned student flat, and she would happily watch me play Final Fantasy XIII and God of War 3 on the PS3 but she never wanted to play anything herself. I found this super weird (need to be careful what I say about her here because she reads this blog sometimes =P), to this day I don’t understand the enjoyment behind watching someone else play a game and her indifference to trying was even more baffling to me.
When I was younger my sister used to watch me play games and it used to irritate me so much. I feel kind of bad about this looking back because, being the loving sister that I was, I was usually telling her to go away so she used to just watch really quietly and hope I’d forget she was there. This was usually if she came into my room and watched my play on my PC though but if I was on the Playstation/Wii in the lounge then it was fair game (sort of… depending on my mood). Weirdly though I never got annoyed with my friend for watching me play games. I did feel a bit awkward sometimes that she never wanted to play though. I was never sure if she genuinely didn’t want to or if she was just too polite to take the controller off me when I offered. Fast forward a few years and we were living together again in our final year of University. This time I had my PS4 and I was heavily into Dragon Age Inquisition, the remastered God of War 3, and Batman: Arkham Knight. Like before she would watch me play through them but this time something caught her interest more than before. That thing being Dragon Age Inquisition.
Her first experiences of playing DAI were the many times I got stuck on the harder astarium puzzles, I suck at puzzles in games, sometimes it’s quite worrying. I would shout out “HELP I NEED LOGIC!” and with a secretly-happy-to-be-helping-and-trying-to-make-me-feel-stupid sigh she’d take the controller and sort me out. Eventually she decided to make her own DAI character and it wasn’t long until we were both full on addicted to the game, it was all we’d talk about for a while. Her elf was getting it on with Commander Cullen while I had started a new game with bad-boy wizard Merlin (we were also addicted to watching the TV show Merlin at the time, but you really don’t want to get me started on that…) with the intention of romancing as many characters as possible (in case you were wondering I managed 5 characters before settling on the gorgeous Dorian). We talked about it like the characters were real people to the point where her boyfriend ended up a bit jealous of Cullen. It also started interfering a bit with exams and coursework and it took all of our willpower to make DAI a reward for after we finished working and not play through it all day.
While I was usually doing something at the same time this was the first time I would watch someone play a game and not want to grab the controller off them (aside from my dad). I can’t even watch Let’s Plays because they annoy me so much, unless it’s a Game Grumps format where they’re chatting and having fun rather than just sort of talking their way through the game. I was also weirdly proud of myself for introducing her to it.
Skip forward a year to the present and now she has her own PS4, every DAI expansion pack and has got Skyrim, Dragon Age Origins and Stardew Valley waiting in the wings for when she finally gets tired of DAI. Looking at all those expansion packs though it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon. Have I created a monster?
In the past I have tried to bring other friends into gaming but it’s never really worked out. They appreciate them to an extent and will happily play “party games” like Mario Kart (I might put them off that though…) or Guitar Hero but they never get hooked. Sometimes they just don’t get it at all, I have a friend that’s never even played Pokémon, or anything really, and I have to take a deep breath every time I remember that fact. That’s OK though, gaming is not for everyone just like how I don’t like reading comic books, for example. Now that I know the magic formula for turning someone into a gamer though I’ll be trying to increase our gamer ranks whenever I can. Turns out all you need is 2 years living with them, constant monopolisation of the TV, and Dragon Age inquisition.
Have you ever introduced someone to the gaming world? Which game do you think is the best for introducing someone to gaming?