Where should you start playing video games

I have been playing video games for almost thirty years now. It is a great way to relax, to keep your brain engaged and constantly learn something new. And because I regularly praise video games curious folks like friends, family or collegues ask me where to start playing video games. Some are just curious for themselves while others want to get an opinion on how to introduce their kids to gaming.

Nowadays you can play games on almost any device (phone, tablet, computer, notebook, tv) and there are also dedicated gaming devices like the Playstation, Xbox or Nintendo 3DS. Where should you start? No matter if you are a curious grown up or a child that has never played a video game I will always give the same advice:

Get a Nintendo 3DS XL, get a Mario game for kids with good reflexes, get a Professor Layton game for grown ups that can read and enjoy an interesting story and get a Zelda game for those that enjoy long adventures and have grown up reflexes.

A bit more detail please

Nintendo 3DS XL is portable gaming device with two foldable displays. A new 3DS XL plus a separate charger will set you back 210 USD. If you are on budget get a used one from amazon, ebay or craigslist but make sure it is a XL version because that one has a larger screen. Games cost 20-50 usd and come in form of a small cards that you insert into the back of the 3DS. Playtimes for each game may vary between 20-100 hours per game.

Game recommendation #1:
New Super Mario Bros
 is a jump and run, that has fantastic visuals and lots of happy music. It costs aroud 35 usd on amazon. Do not worry that it says this game is for Nintendo DS. Nintendo DS games can be played on a Nintendo 3DS. Welcome to complexity of buying video games. New Super Mario Bros requires good reflexes and I would recommend it for a younger audience. Playtime is 10-20 hours with lots of replayablity.

Game recommendation #2:
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
is an adventure game where you solve one overarching big mystery by travelling to various places. Places you visit challenge you with different riddles and puzzles. Everything is embedded into an interesting plot. Visuals are are presented in a cartoon style. This game is less about reflexes but more about using your brain and solving puzzles. Playtime is about 20 hours.

Game recommendation #3:
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D
is adventure game that requires you slaying countless monsters on your long and beautifully told journey. The plot is engaging, the sound is superb and the animations are beautiful. It is a timeless game and many would argue one of the best the 3DS has to offer. Playtime is 50-70 hours.

The three games I recommended above are prototypes of games. A classical jump’n’run, a puzzle adventure and an RPG game. They give you a baseline of knowlegde for video games in terms of story, pacing, visuals, sound, immersion and playtime.
There are many more games with the names Mario, Zelda or Layton attached to it. The above three are my advised starting point. But feel free to to explore other games and other genres.

A few more details about the 3DS XL

There are many reasons for a 3DS XL. But it mostly comes down to one simple reason: there is no hassle using a 3DS. It is a portable device; you do not have to have a separate desk like you would need for a PC or gaming notebook. You do not have to occupy your family TV like you would have for Playstation or XBox. You can just lay down on the sofa or play while communiting.

You do not have to install anything on the 3DS like you would on a PC. You just insert the game card, turn it on and after 20 seconds you can play the game of your choice. And the 3DS XL has a great resell value if you decide you do not like it.

Final word and most important rule

Have fun with video games!

(52 Posts)

20 years of coding and working as software engineer but I am still eager to learn more. I am very passionate when it comes to open source, Linux and Java. But I made my peace with Windows long ago to fully enjoy my PC gaming hobby. I have a soft spot for 90s electronic music and Babylon 5. In the evenings you will find me roaming the endless space in Warframe (IGN k05h).