Many of my friends don't play video games too often. Sure, they'll pick up a casual game once in a while, but gaming is mostly a solo hobby of mine. Unfortunately, most of them are also extremely competitive. That means whenever we do play games together, I have to make sure to let them win. To make matters worse, I'm also burdened with the responsibility to make it appear as if they actually won, that their victory wasn't just some sympathetic freebie I handed out.
Over the years, I have discovered that certain video games are perfect for gamers in my situation. These are games that are easy to pick up, difficult to master and also have the ability make it appear as if there is a tremendous amount of skill involved to play it well. Whether it's your girlfriend, boyfriend, mom or grandma, the following are the best video games to convince a non-gamer that he/she is actually good at games.
5. New Super Mario Bros Wii (Nintendo Wii)
The cooperation necessary to successfully play Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros Wii is similar to the cooperation required for a successful relationship. At first, each player will have the tendency to leave behind his/her partner and solve all of the game's hurdles alone. This will quickly become frustrating, and you may consider turning off the game to play something else. However, if you discuss the game's difficult platforming sections with your partner, take things slowly and work together, the two of you can overcome just about any difficult section of the game.
Plus, it's also a lot more fun (but messy) to play with three or four players simultaneously.
4. Tetris (Various)
For some strange reason, just about every girl on this planet is good at Tetris. It's a gaming phenomenon! No matter how casual of a gamer she is, you'll probably be in for some serious competition during a one-on-one match of a versus mode of Tetris.
3. Buzz! Games (PS2, PS3, PSP)
What your casual gaming companion may lack in gaming reflexes, he or she will gain in useless knowledge. Trivia games such as the Buzz! series and You Don't Know Jack are perfect for competitive gaming without the twitchy gameplay. Sure, your girlfriend can't control a dual-stick shooter, but her knowledge of Hollywood trivia is frightening.
2. Peggle (PC, XBOX360, PS3, iOS, Nintendo DS, PSP, almost every console)
Peggle is a perfect example of a game this is "easy to play, hard to master." The premise of the game is simple: All you have to do is shoot balls at orange pegs, similar in style to pachinko. However, there is a tremendous amount of depth to the game and will take a truly skilled player to complete all of the challenge levels. The game also relies on a bit of luck, so its multiplayer mode is perfect for a casual gamer to have fun, regardless if he/she is winning.
1. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo Wii)
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It doesn't matter how good you are, or how much your girlfriend sucks at Mario Kart Wii. The skill gap between all players of the popular Wii racer doesn't make any difference because of the game's "rubber banding." Rubber banding is a gameplay-balancing feature that will always give a handicap to skilled players and advantages to unskilled players. As a result of this, every race becomes a close call, especially during the final moments of the race. Although this feature pissed off a lot of competitive gamers, it does result in a lot of excitement between gamers of all skill levels.
Sure, I'll get hit by one of those stupid blue shells right before I cross the finish line and lose the race, but at least my friends think they're skilled players. I'll lose, they'll be happy, and everybody has a good time. Oh, the joys of gaming.