We’re not here to gatekeep video games. Whether you’ve completed a permadeath Elden Ring playthrough or only play Candy Crush, you’re a gamer. But there’s no denying some games are much tougher to get into if you’ve not been playing others like it since you were young, let alone if you’ve never held a controller before.
“Tetris is the greatest puzzle game ever created. What I love about it is that it’s really simple to pick up; you’re dropping these shapes down to create lines. When you’re starting out, you’re happy just getting lines but over time, you can make it harder for yourself by trying to get Tetrises (when you clear four lines at once with a straight-line piece) and by making the blocks fall faster. It’s easy to pick up, but hard to master.”
The original released in 1985 for the NES - only a year after Tetris - but delivers a more crafted, complex experience, with a little bit of a story. Philip explains exactly why it’s an excellent choice for someone new to gaming:
“Most of the gameplay is running across the stage from left to right, jumping over obstacles and jumping on the heads of enemies to kill them. For new players, there are few controls to master, the objective is straightforward and the music, sound effects, and visuals are all engaging.”
It isn’t often said of Super Mario Bros, but it shares an important quality with Tetris: that of low barriers to entry, making it perfect for new gamers, but also an almost-endless skill ceiling. There is a lot of room to perfect your craft here, so once a new player has caught the bug they won’t get bored in a hurry. And if they do, it can lead them down a path lined with more competitive games.
"The game caters to a very large audience and is extraordinarily simple to get the hang of - you can even play it with just one hand. The graphics are gorgeous and the storyline has four distinct paths depending on your preference:
- Freestyle - Use your flair and tricks to score points in events.
- Off road - Find your own path to the finish line across rugged terrain.
- Pro racing - Stick to the track in high-performance vehicles on dedicated circuits.
- Street racing - Race through the streets, in a mode that strikes a balance between all the others."
Of course, racing games aren’t going to be for everyone, but The Crew 2’s open world and freedom to take it at your own pace means it lacks the pressure of competitive racing sims. A quality it shares with the next racing game…
“The latest couple of Forza Horizon games are a brilliant introduction to so many gaming tropes; they include excellent accessibility options, and visually they’re extremely impressive. The sandbox nature of the game means you can play around, experiment, and get comfortable with the controls and experience, with very few limitations. It’s also a great game for discovery, be it exploring new areas of the map, unlocking new cars, or checking out events and custom liveries. Even if you’re new to racing games, you can flick all the assists on, keep the difficulty low, and have a blast.”
If Mexico doesn’t sound like your jam, Forza Horizon 4 is also fantastic, set in a very scaled-down United Kingdom. Edinburgh is the main location there, so you can hurtle round the old-timey streets and up to the castle before sending your hypercar crashing through the countryside. And as with The Crew 2, Forza Horizon’s open world and RPG-lite elements are an excellent gateway to other genres.
"The logic of the puzzles is quite complicated, but this is what I want from an adventure game, and it’s easy to control with no time or step limit. Following the rhythm is very cozy and I appreciate that different puzzles are connected. There are not only complicated puzzles to enjoy but also epic landscapes waiting for you. Details in this game are handled perfectly so you won’t be confused about what you should do next. Various themes of landscapes immerse you in the wild but engaging world and there are many secrets hiding everywhere.
“Solitaire is the only logic puzzle I have played recently because I lost enthusiasm for most puzzle games. But Cocoon has rejuvenated my love for puzzle games in a wonderful, comfortable, and smooth way.”
"I wish there was something like this when I was growing up. It’s really cute and fun, enjoyable for both kids and adults. Roblox controls are fairly easy to move around and the menu is simple.
“You get to adopt pets and raise them, they will demand constant attention for food and playtime like a real pet would (a great way for kids to learn how much responsibility a pet could be). You also have a house which you can furnish and upgrade, and since it’s an online game, you get to meet other players. The servers are fairly small so it’s not an overwhelming amount of people at the same time, and you can totally do everything alone, but it’s a nice way to get a first glimpse into playing and interacting with other people online.”