Video games for my stepdad since his stroke?
June 2, 2009 11:35 AM   Subscribe

What are some easy computer games my stepdad can play? He had a stroke a few years ago, and that has seriously limited what kind of games he can manage. He sits at home all day and plays non-stop Solitaire and FreeCell. I figure there's got to be some better options for him.

He likes racing games (cars, especially), historical stuff (mostly World War II), and things that probably don't have related video games, like gardening and carpentry.

Obviously, since his stroke, there are major limitations as to what sort of games he'll be able to play.

It should be able to be played one-handed. He has full use of his left hand, but he's lost most of the use of his right hand - he can use a mouse with it (although not very well), but he can't use the fingers on that hand, and he can't use the mouse and the keyboard at the same time.

It needs to be simple. There can't be too many choices for him to make (sandbox games are right out, something like "you go here. you shoot these things" is fine), and it needs to be really, really easy to work out what you're supposed to do on each level. (My mother explicitly specified "something on the level of what a 5 year old could manage")

It cannot involve any reading (since his stroke, he's lost the ability to speak, read, and write).

His computer is not very good. He's running Windows XP, has 256mb of RAM (I have no clue what his graphics card is like, but assume it's a piece of junk), and has dial-up internet.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
posted by spockette to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by elsietheeel at 11:38 AM on June 2, 2009

Response by poster: Ah, we have snood already, but he can't use the mouse well enough to aim properly without it taking a really long time, and he gets frustrated with it.
posted by spockette at 11:43 AM on June 2, 2009

Popcap puzzle games are great fun for kids, and disturbingly addictive for adults who're technically supposed to be doing work, so those are a good start. Audiosurf is an awesome, incredibly simple in theory game which combines with music so you also get to listen to your favourite songs... his computer might JUST run it but it's possibly going to be a struggle on his hardware. Definitely worth playing if it'll run though.
posted by fearnothing at 11:43 AM on June 2, 2009

i am totally addicted to Peggle definitely worth a look
posted by moochoo at 11:46 AM on June 2, 2009

consider getting him a nintendo ds—lots of games for kids and older adults, plus then he won't be tethered to the computer and can play elsewhere. check out titles like tetris ds, metroid pinball, cooking mama/gardening mama, touchmaster 1 & 2.
posted by lia at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2009

Hmm, I guess Plants vs. Zombies is borderline too many decisions to make, eh?

Can't remember how much reading you really have to do there.
posted by mrhaydel at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2009

Best answer: Bejeweled (the non-timed version) might fit the bill.
posted by Ostara at 11:52 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There was a big driving computer game boom from the late 90s to the early 00s. These games would be available cheap from any video game vendor in discount bins and racks (big box stores such as Best Buy in particular seem to carry these). Plus they are old enough that it should be smooth sailing in terms of computing power (most still have quite nice graphics as well).

The only controls necessary for most of these games are the arrow keys. He might need help navigating the menus to get into the game if he can't read, I suppose, but other than that he should be fine.
posted by hiteleven at 12:01 PM on June 2, 2009

My mother likes trying out flash games on sites like Kongregate or Newgrounds. There are just so many of them that there are bound to be some that are playable even with reduced abilities; especially those that emulate the feel of those old point-and-click adventures from the 80s.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:05 PM on June 2, 2009 has TONS of free little flash games to play that are simple and don't require a lot of planning. My personal faves are Clusterz and Patchworkz (both are just mouse-clicking games). I also love Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies (an excellent gardening tie-in!), as recommended above, but PvZ is a little more planning-oriented. Maybe that can be a possible step-up game for times when he's ready for more of a challenge. :)
posted by so_gracefully at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2009

I was going to suggest bejeweled as well, and possibly mahjong.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2009

The Sims 2 has a pretty nifty gardening feature if you add on the "Seasons" EP to the base game.
posted by zarah at 12:28 PM on June 2, 2009

Oh, his computer doesn't have enough ram for the sims, sorry about that!
posted by zarah at 12:30 PM on June 2, 2009

There are lots of online jigsaw puzzles. This site also has jigsaws of varying levels of difficulty. If he can play solitaire games, might he manage Mahjong?
posted by angiep at 12:42 PM on June 2, 2009

You might check out:




All of these games are untimed, use only a mouse, and move no faster than the player does. I've wasted many hours playing all of them.

Good luck!
posted by DrGail at 12:42 PM on June 2, 2009

posted by InsanePenguin at 12:50 PM on June 2, 2009

Two games by Monolux, Rocknor's Doughnut Factory, and Rocknor's Bad Day, might do well. They only require input from one hand. They're puzzle games, but they're untimed, and you can take as long as you like - and goof up as much as you need to - until you get to the end. They each cost about $20, but I find them very worth it. They mostly involve spatial puzzles - how to get something from a-z using a certain set of rules.
posted by mccn at 12:54 PM on June 2, 2009

Actually, those might be too complicated for him, now that I take a look. You could see what you think, though.
posted by mccn at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2009

Can he read numbers? If so World Wars is an untimed strategy game that might fit.
posted by XMLicious at 1:14 PM on June 2, 2009

Best answer: As everyone has mentioned, Peggle is excellent, requiring only a very occasional click, and is incredibly addictive. You can try out any PopCap game for an hour. Iggle Pop is maybe another good PopCap game -- it's rather like Pacman. I am not sure if he has enough dexterity for that.

Although he would be unable to use this, Jay is Games is a good resource for browser and downloadable games, and if someone has the time to look through it for him, you're bound to find a lot of things.
posted by jeather at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2009

Best answer: If he has a hard time aiming and shooting with Snood, he will probably have a tough time with Peggle.

I marked the answer suggesting the non-timed Bejeweled as a favorite, because that's easy and requires very little hand-eye coordination.

Is he only playing regular Klondike solitaire? There are pretty good, cheap packages with lots of different variations, like Pyramid, that he might already know how to play. Maybe also Mahjong or an Othello clone.
posted by jennyb at 2:00 PM on June 2, 2009

or an Othello clone.

Strictly speaking, Othello is a Reversi clone, so you might get more hits for that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:11 PM on June 2, 2009

Best answer: Would Shisen sho be simple enough?
posted by dilettante at 3:33 PM on June 2, 2009 has tons of card games for one person to work on, and you get ranks and badges so it's not like just playing the one that comes with windows.
posted by legotech at 4:46 PM on June 2, 2009

Boomshine. Easy and addictive. There is a little text between levels, but the object of the game is simple enough that it's almost beside the point.
posted by contrariwise at 6:35 PM on June 2, 2009

marbles used to do great on dialup.
posted by auntbunny at 8:42 PM on June 2, 2009

pariboro is another matching game. I also like combine.
posted by pointilist at 10:39 PM on June 2, 2009

Google earth? If he's enjoying solitaire, he might enjoy swooping over the planet too. I know I do.
posted by chairface at 10:06 AM on June 3, 2009

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