Only young once, but immature my whole life
October 29, 2015 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm approaching my 50th birthday, and I'm thinking of buying myself a gaming console, such as an Xbox One or Sony PlayStation. I'm not a gamer (at all), and I'm looking for some advice.

I'm interested in the gaming console for two reasons. First of all, I need some kind of fun recreational activity to let off steam. Second, I've seen some evidence that playing video games can boost your cognitive skills (yeah, I know the studies are not exactly air-tight).

Aside from the cost of the device, though, I have some concerns.

I'm not very coordinated, so I worry that the games will be too hard for me, and I won't enjoy them. Are there any games out there that have a super-easy mode that can be gradually boosted as you get better?

I'm also left-handed, and it doesn't seem like there are any left-handed controllers available. Not sure how much of a liability my handedness will be.

Finally, I'd be interested in people's opinions of Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 (or maybe some other system altogether).
posted by alex1965 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (39 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a lefty and a pretty big gamer. I've only had issues with the WiiU and specially Wind Waker.

I'd recommend the ps3, it's pretty cheap being a console behind, there are a lot of really great kinda easy going games. I'd recommend Journey to start. It's pretty short but it comes in a game multipack and is excellent. Also I'd check out Portal.
posted by KernalM at 10:23 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are there any games out there that have a super-easy mode that can be gradually boosted as you get better?

I really wouldn't worry about that. Except for a handful of games that advertise themselves on their difficulty (e.g. Dark Souls), most any game you are interested in should have a difficulty level so low as to seem insulting after a few hours or days. If you're worried about a particular game being too hard, there are rental options like GameFly or your most Redbox machines. If you do get a console that's a generation behind, used games should be cheap enough that there's very little risk. Good luck and have fun!
posted by yerfatma at 10:28 AM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm not very coordinated, so I worry that the games will be too hard for me, and I won't enjoy them. Are there any games out there that have a super-easy mode that can be gradually boosted as you get better?

Whatever you get, I suggest you get a copy of Minecraft. It's crazy popular for a reason - you can play in "survival" mode (Easy) where you gather resources and fight monsters, or you can play in "creative" mode where you build stuff. Some people build AMAZING stuff. Great way to blow off steam (I'll just kill some zombies tonight) or use a game to create wild and creative stuff.
posted by anastasiav at 10:29 AM on October 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

So, a suggestion - and I guess you could return it if needed, but some people (me. sigh.) experience motion sickness when gaming, especially first person games. I used to not feel this way, but now it really affects me. If there's any way for you to try one out (and some stores have them that you can play - best buy, game stop, etc) I would recommend that just to be sure.
posted by needlegrrl at 10:33 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you have specific types of games in mind? Some games are platform-specific - it's why I'm considering the PS4 over the Xbox One, because more of the types of and series of games I'm interested in are on that platform.

I can't really speak to the "handedness" of controllers, but if you've already got a computer or a smartphone, there are affordable game options to try out on them that don't require you to buy a console, while letting you use something you're already accustomed to. I'm not particularly coordinated myself, so I find that I enjoy games that don't require perfect timing the most - things like role-playing adventure games, puzzle games, and the like - and I *hate* first-person shooters, which overall require a degree of coordination I lack.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am (around) your age and am an avid* gamer.

I like the Xbox One - it's quiet, quick, runs Blu-Ray, and with the advent of backwards-compatibility, should have a ton of casual games for you to play. One of my favorites, Tales from the Borderlands, is not much a game as it is a digital novel.

If you're just starting out, though, I'd get an Xbox 360 and play Skyrim. It levels you up in accordance to your skill level, and if it's still too difficult, you can pause the game and choose a lower skill level. Also nthing Minecraft. Another fun game is Burnout: Paradise - it's an open-world driving game that you can just drive around in without completion drama.

The one game which absolutely helped me acclimatize my coordination in the digital realm is Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64.

As for being left-handed, I don't think there's much of an issue, but you most certainly could purchase a left-handed third-party controller. Best of luck and have fun!

*Avid does NOT mean 'hardcore' - I'm more of a casual gamer who hates going online.
posted by singmespanishtechno at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2015

Between the One and the 4, The Playstation 4 is cheaper and slightly higher performance (last time I checked). I also don't think being left handed will be an issue once (if) you get used to using either controller. I have several left handed friends that I game with, and I've never seen a LH-controller either.

Totally check out Portal and Portal 2. If any games will stimulate your problem solving, those will.
Most games have a few difficulty levels. Any game with a plot or a campaign will most likely have 3 or 4 levels. As far as coordination goes, some games have aids for that. The old Battlefront games, Grand Theft Auto (and I'm sure many others) have auto-aim settings (point in the mostly correct location), sometimes even independent of the difficulty.
If you can use the internet and Metafilter and you're willing to try, you'll be okay.

I recommend you ask a behind-the-counter employee when you buy the system. They will be able to point you directly to a few casual games to try out.
posted by shenkerism at 10:39 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm left-handed, and it has never even occurred to me that I would benefit from a reversed controller. As such, I certainly don't think it would be necessary or even at all helpful.
posted by joelhunt at 10:41 AM on October 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

posted by joelhunt at 10:41 AM on October 29, 2015 [9 favorites]

Do you have a PC, and if so, have you tried playing games on it? You can install Steam for free, and buy games through it. I'm currently playing Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition this way. I mention this game because it has an easy setting (called explorer mode), and all the combat is turn-based, which means you can take all the time you want to decide what action you want to take, then the enemy takes a turn, then back to you, etc. If you think you will have a problem with coordination, take a look at turn-based combat games.
posted by Bunny Boneyology at 10:42 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Another lefty, sometimes-gamer here to pop in and say that game controllers are really like pianos -- it doesn't make sense to have a "left-handed" one since both hands end up being so involved in the movements.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:42 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Most games now a days come with an easy mode. The only games I'd avoid are ones that are designed to be multiplayer, at least until you build up your confidence. Sandbox games like GTA or Skyrim or Fallout would probably suit you as you can fight as much or as little as you like, there is lots of other things to do besides kill all the things which is a nice way to build confidence, get the hang of controllers exploring, jumping, picking up things and introduce you to a whole bunch of game mechanics without you even realizing it.

Portal & Minecraft are also really good "gateway" games, though I prefer Portal 2 to Portal 1 as the story is so damn engrossing you want to do the puzzle sections just to find out more. The easy modes on those are pretty forgiving, and you can adjust difficulty as you go. also most games now a days have they have a lot of tweaking you can do in the setting like auto aim, controller sensitivity etc.

If controllers really worry you, as Bunny B. suggested you might want to look into PC gaming if you have a PC as you can often map all the actions to whatever key you like.
posted by wwax at 10:44 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm forty (or a few months away from it) and I can't make my hands work right on controllers. Too many buttons, which is silly because I play the shit out of PC games on keyboard. I'd suggest going into a store that has a system set up to try, or playing around on a friend's machine. If you can deal with the controllers (PS4 or Xbox, doesn't matter really which) then your handedness won't be an issue.

As far as which system to get, ehh, I don't own either but I know folks who own both and for whatever reason the PS4 owners are a lot more, shall we say, evangelical about their system. I personally think that it would boil down to which system has the exclusive games (if any) that you care about.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:45 AM on October 29, 2015

I didn't grow up playing games, and I'm hopelessly uncoordinated, but I'm so fascinated by games as a form of culture that I've always wanted them to be part of my life. So my husband and I bought ourselves a PS4 as an anniversary present, and it was SUCH a good choice.

Here are some games I've thoroughly enjoyed, despite being uncoordinated and a bit headache prone.

Flower is *beautiful* and so, so, so soothing, but somehow totally engrossing. You are a flower drifting on the breeze. As you explore your environment - and, trust me, if I can master the mechanics of how you control Flower anyone can - you pick up more flower friends. The soundtrack is exquisite. I LOVE FLOWER. We've taken to playing a few rounds of Flower with friends when we have dinner parties - even non-gamer friends get into it basically immediately.

Journey, by the same studio as Flower. This game made me cry at the end, and I'm not ashamed to say it. This incorporates some slightly more challenging puzzle elements, but this environment is so wonderful to spend time in, I didn't find myself getting too frustrated or disheartened. I LOVE JOURNEY.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. You're in a small English town in the 70s/80s. Everyone has disappeared. All you do is explore the town and find out what happened. The game mechanics are so lightweight that 'hardcore' gamers kind of scoff at it, but the story is totally engrossing, and the graphics/soundtrack/environment is exquisite. I may have also cried playing this game. Video games make me emotional. I can't recommend it more highly.

We never really considered Xbox, because the games we wanted to play are all on PS4. I love our PS4 hard, but YMMV.
posted by nerdfish at 11:09 AM on October 29, 2015 [11 favorites]

Just another data point... I'm 40-ish and have no trouble using controllers. I have a PS3 and a PS4, and play the hell out of both. I also play a lot of games on my PC. I'm an avid, casual gamer. I played when I was a kid, stopped mid-high school, then started playing again in my mid-30's, I think. World of Warcraft / Wrath of the Lich King was my gateway drug, so whenever that came out is when I started playing as an adult.

I like games with a lot of story over games with a lot of fighting. I've found the Bioware games hit that sweet spot for me. Right now I'm playing Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 on the PS3, and Dragon Age Inquisition and Witcher 3 on the PS4. These are quest-y games, not shooters, but there is some fighting with swords and/or magic. They all have ultra-casual/easy modes and I don't have any trouble with them - as you get better you can choose harder modes. I'm thinking of trying out the Assassin's Creed games next, but I'm not sure they have enough sorcery to go with the swords for my tastes.

I also really enjoy MMOs to a ridiculous degree. Depending on what you want to do, they can be devilishly hard or ridiculously easy. For instance, in Warcraft you can play and level up without getting into raiding, and that's easy as falling down about 99% of the time. But if you want something harder, you can get into raiding and that was way too hard for me. It stopped being an outlet and started being an additional stressor for me. Now I just level, and it's great.

I have motion sickness problems with some games -- but I have to emphasize it's some games. Many don't bug me at all. First person shooters are the worst. No, I take that back, Super Metroid was the worst; I used to play that game till I threw up (it was a fun game! .... to a point.) But RPGs and MMOs don't ever seem to trouble me. If you have any motion sickness tendencies, beware of Portal 2. I tried that a few years ago and within 5 minutes felt so sick I wanted to die.
posted by kythuen at 11:25 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Because you are not an established gamer, I would second the recommendation for a PS3, since that will be cheaper than a PS4, and there will be a huge number of used games you can pick up for a song.

Lefty or righty really shouldn't matter for a game controller, since you'll be using both hands so often. In almost all games, it's using them in coordination that will take time to master, not any particular hand dominance, but many (most?) games these days come with easy modes meant for beginners/super casual players.

You've gotten some great recommendations above (Portal, Flower, Journey!!!) all of which are available on PS3 or PS4, and I would also add in some of the Lego games. They're designed with children in mind, so very easy to play overall, but still super-fun for adults. I also really love pretty much all of the titles from Telltale Games (Walking Dead, Back to the Future, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands); they tend to be more like puzzle-solving novellas than gamer-games, and not coordination heavy, but they're just so delightful.
posted by Diagonalize at 11:26 AM on October 29, 2015

Why not PC? I wouldn't get a Gaming Rig, per se, just a computer with the right gear to run things from the recent past. is my addiction of choice for classic games (and some modern ones my laptop wont run) but Steam is also a great choice.
posted by Jacen at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not a gamer, but Mr. Makenpace is. I'm 49 and suddenly have a lot of time on my hands due to some debilitating disorders that recently cropped up in my life. So I thought long and hard about it and asked Mr. Makenpace to set me up with a game console (he has every game console known to man from Atari to whatever the latest and greatest is nowadays) and Skyrim. I know that Skyrim is over four years old and not many people play it nowadays, but I thought it would be an easy game to ease my way into the gaming world.

That was about four, maybe five, months ago, and I'm still playing Skyrim. I don't think that it matters which hand you favor since you can reverse the controls in the settings. You can set the difficulty of the game in the settings from "easy" to "adept". And best of all, it's what they call a "sandbox" or open world game so you can play it however you like. If you don't feel like battling you way through dungeons, you can spend your whole game picking flowers and making potions (but I like battling may way through dungeons). You can be as good or as evil as you want. I am what Mr. Makenpace calls "True Neutral", but you can play however you want. I started out on the PS3 but it got very glitchy after level 30, so we switched to XBox 360 which we bought used. I started with all of the Downloadable content, but after a couple of false starts decided I liked the game better without it.

I think that Skyrim or games like Skyrim are good for easing into the world of gaming because you can pick your characters, chose your difficulty level, and because they're "sandbox" games and you can play them however you like.
posted by MildredMakenpace at 11:50 AM on October 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

I would definitely recommend one of the newer consoles (PS4 or Xbox 1) instead of the PS3 or 360. The Xbox 1 is rolling out backwards compatibility for many 360 games, so you'll get the benefit of being able to play older titles with the ability to play new games as they come out. Sony also has been remastering several PS3 games and has a streaming service in the works where you can play PS3 games on the PS4 over the internet.

A gaming PC would also be a fun purchase that you would enjoy.

Also, you should join Mefightclub, which is the gaming forum for members of Metafilter. It's an awesome and respectful community of adult gamers and you will get a ton of recommendation re hardware and games there. Can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I also wanted to say that when I started out, I could hardly get my character to move in the direction I wanted them to move, but it's something that you learn with play. I wouldn't worry about, just don't give up too quickly. It comes with practice.
posted by MildredMakenpace at 11:53 AM on October 29, 2015

I'm nthing the ps3 recommendation, and I'd also pick up a pair of Playstation Move controllers and the camera, and Sports Champions (1 not 2). My main aerobic workout for a couple of years was Table Tennis in Sports Champions, and the Frisbee Golf game is kind of the opposite, relaxing but still active. There are tons of cheap games to catch up on.

If the next gen systems appeal to you, I have both the PS4 and Xbone, and I pretty much only use the Xbone, mostly because I can tell it to turn on and off and it controls my whole system (you need the camera for that, though). If you like cars, Forza 6 is an amazing game, and you can change a huge range of difficulty settings, from having the car brake and accelerate for you to a full on simulation that's almost impossible to control. And you can change those at the beginning of every race.

All the games mentioned above are awesome (I didn't like Skyrim, though), especially Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, so engrossing. GTA V is pretty much the polar opposite of that, but the world is so huge and interesting you can basically learn to play a third-person action game just by running and driving around and it won't get boring.
posted by Huck500 at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2015

45 years old and slowly playing Bloodborne for fun, I'm not one to ask about Easy Games. I started back in the 80s.

I had a 360 last console generation, and kept on looking longingly at all the quirky, beautiful PS3 exclusives. So I have a PS4 now. They ported several of those PS3 exclusives to it, and keep making more pretty things appear; the only XBone exclusive I've kinda coveted was Sunset Overdrive.

You mmmiiiiight want to look at a Wii U, Nintendo's really a lot more aggressive at making games designed to get people who've never played video games in their life to start playing.

I also kinda want to suggest ports of old 80s arcade games as your Video Game 101. Just to get used to the controller, so you can play simple games that only use a few of the thirteen or so buttons and three directional controllers on a modern controller, and slowly expand to more demanding stuff that expects you to know the difference between R1 and R2 without even thinking.
posted by egypturnash at 12:01 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Another suggestion: there are worlds and more beyond action games like shooters and side-scrollers. Minecraft is one of the most famous (it's a "sandbox" game, because it's like building castles in a sandbox), but other genres like puzzle games and adventure games are out there too.

Adventure games have been getting a real revival in the past year or two. "Life is Strange" is one of the best I've seen in ages. If you're a Fables fan or a "Once upon a time" fan (*cou-ripoff-gh*), The Wolf Among Us is also great. Both Square Enix and Telltale games have been doing neat things recently.

Oh and speaking of cross-overs: if you're a Studio Ghibli/Miazaki fan, give Ni no Kuni a look. It's a "Japanese RPG" (another whole genre), but it's mostly the story of a lost boy, with all the Ghibli magic. It's PS3 only though.
posted by bonehead at 12:03 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

It seems like lately, whenever I'm in a gaming thread, I end up promoting this game, but honestly, I'd recommend Saints Row 4 over any GTA game. If you're not one for silliness, it's probably not for you, but the game revels in the fact that any of the behavior that you exhibit in an sandbox game is pretty ridiculous. Limited replay value though.

As far as I can tell, the Playstation (both 3 and 4) controllers are neutral in terms of handedness. Some games make it so that you can switch which stick is move and which is look, if that is something you need to change.

Definitely check for motion sickness. My mom stopped playing video games with me when I started to get into first person games. She couldn't do the movement.
posted by Hactar at 12:04 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're comfortable with computers, you're better off with a gaming PC hooked up to your TV, a wireless 360 controller and Steam Big Picture mode. You don't need a very expensive setup to run current games at HDTV resolution. The only downside is missing out on console platform exclusives, but that problems still exists unless you buy all the console platforms.

I'm left handed and I've never had a problem with twin stick controllers.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:10 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

One thing to quickly (and cheaply) try if you're OK with playing old games is using an emulator on your PC with an old Xbox controller. My ancient 2010 PC (a Dell Zino) has no problems running PS2 games.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 12:27 PM on October 29, 2015

Something to be aware of, if you want to play online, xbox 360, or xbone will require an xbox live subscription. Worse, if you get a 360, the live no longer has a "family plan" - as such if you have anyone else in your household who might want to play online, they need their own live subscription. For xbone, my understanding is one live subscription on a console covers everyone.

PS4 requires a subscription to PSN+ in the same way I think xbone does - I.E. one user needs ps+ and if they declare this console as their main system, then all other PSN accounts get many of the benefits (such as online play, and access to the downloaded game libraries).

As far as I can see, PS3 online play does not require a subscription of any sort. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

At least in Canada, these services are ~$50/year - so it won't break the bank, but with the 360, myself and two kids is a pretty penny, and I'm looking to sell my dual platform (personal, not the family) games for the 360 to buy the same version of PS3 games since I already have (and will keep) a PSN+ account for the ps4. Kids can buy their own live for the 360 now that they're old enough if they want. Seriously, that xbox live eff'ing over of the 360 platform really soured me on xbox.
posted by nobeagle at 12:32 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm dyspraxic, and video games beyond the casual level are almost unplayable for me as a result. That having been said, we got an xbox one and a kinect, and I am loving the hell out of it -- no controller means that I don't have to translate movements on screen to movements in my fingers.
posted by KathrynT at 12:46 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

We just dropped the money on a PS4 because between the XBox One and the PS4, the PS4 had more games that we wanted to play.

If you're worried about the difficulty, whenever you get stuck or start getting bored and want to go through a section as quickly as possible, there are tons of user-generated walkthroughs and guides online. is the granddaddy of them all, but you can just Google for "walkthrough [game name]" and find lots of YouTube videos, FAQS, and other helpful advice.

Walkthroughs were how I diagnosed a bad controller: I'm not a frequent gamer (usually my husband handles the combat and actual controller-wrangling and I watch him in combat and make the story decisions) and once had a terrible time with a particular minigame in a game. Seeking out other people's accounts of it led me to realize that it wasn't that I was bad at it, it was that there was something wrong. Buying a new controller worked wonders.
posted by telophase at 12:59 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm in my 40s and bought a Xbox360 off eBay a couple years ago. It's been great and the used games are cheap. That said, if I was buying today I'd go ahead and get a current gen console (PS4/XB1) because a lot of the newer games aren't being released for the previous generation (PS3/XB360).

Regarding coordination, I find the Call of Duty games too stressful because so much is happening at once and I have trouble keeping up. After work and the kids are in bed, I want to de-stress, not amp up my stress. Not all games are like that though as I've been fine with the Halo, FarCry, and Crysis games.

Regarding PS4 vs XB1, I'd probably lean PS4. The performance is slightly better, the price is a bit lower, and the PS4 is outselling the XB1 so game publisher buy in will maybe be higher.

Console exclusives aren't as big a deal with the PS4/XB1 as previous generations. Halo is XB1 only and The Last Of Us is PS4 only but those are the only two big ones I can think of at the moment.
posted by LoveHam at 1:42 PM on October 29, 2015

For two of your concerns, a gaming PC is probably the best bet. Almost all PC games these days allow you to modify the mouse/keyboard to left-handed configurations and may also let you do so with a controller (I rarely use controllers, so I am not sure). In addition, the sheer number and category of games available insure that you can find endless games that match to your level of coordination.

However, a decent gaming PC is going to cost between at least $500-$750, so the initial investment is high. The price of games is variable (new AAA titles are about the same on both PC and the consoles, but with Steam sales, Humble Bundles and the like, you can find many, many games for very cheap). ALso, gaming PCs tend to have higher specs than the consoles and so last longer. They can also be upgrades piecemeal, but the main determinant component, the graphics card, tends to run about $200-$400, so not much savings there.
posted by rtimmel at 2:02 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's been mentioned a few times, but if I was introducing an adult to video games and wanted them to fall in love forever, I would almost certainly choose Skyrim.

To that end, I would get an XBOX 360, which is a cheaper investment anyway (and has an incredible game library), and then re-evaluate whether or not you want a current generation system when you decide you need another game besides Skyrim (about a year, probably).

Also, I know several very avid left-handed gamers. Most gaming systems use both hands pretty heavily and the control schemes (though they are now very heavily formalized). I really don't think this is a barrier at all, with the exception of some Wii games.
posted by 256 at 2:35 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Re: PS4 vs Xbox One. Neither are backwards compatible, meaning you can't just put in a disc from the old generation and play it. However, both will soon have a service where you can stream/download a selection of games from the previous generation over the internet. This will be a subscription service for the PS4, while for the Xbox One putting the game disc in the system will trigger a download (which is probably a better deal). So at this point, probably go for the new generation --- if you get an Xbox One, you'll soon be able to play cheap old games along with the new ones.

I'm left-handed and I've never had any trouble. The standard control scheme for almost all 3D games is going to be: left hand moves your character around, right hand changes the direction you're looking in.

It takes some practice to move fluidly, but it's like riding a bicycle and the skills will transfer to basically any video game. I think Minecraft is a good game for getting used to this kind of movement.

People have recommended Skyrim; the upcoming Fallout 4 is very similar but in a post-apocalyptic setting rather than a fantasy world.

Other people have also mentioned Life Is Strange. It's a twin-peaks-esque drama in video game form where you have the power to rewind time. Definitely worth playing.
posted by vogon_poet at 5:04 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm in my late 40's and have an Xbox 360 which I play Skyrim on. It's my second video game, and I love it. The hubs and I have an Xbox One as well... but since I can't play Skyrim on it, he uses it way more than I do. I actually never used it since I played a game called Child of Light on it... It was fun, but it was over very quickly.

I'm really enjoying Skyrim, the hubs introduced me to it when I said I needed something to fill the time. I'm disabled, we just moved, I don't know anyone here and I'm tired of staring at the walls... Anyway, I'm on my fifth character, and there's still so much to do in that world.

I know that a lot of hard core gamers (including my brother) love the PC, but I really like the ease of just putting the game in the console and bam! play game. I like Skyrim, and eventually, when I tire of it (a long time from now) I'll try something else like it. Maybe even Fallout. But for now, I'm enjoying Skyrim.

In case you can't tell, I'm recommending Skyrim as a good first game. We already had the Xbox 360... two actually (hubs used to program video games), so I can't address which game console to get. We went with what we had.
posted by patheral at 5:20 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

You might like this funny, smart essay by novelist Nicholson Baker, called "Painkiller Deathstreak." Baker started playing games with his teenaged son in his fifties. He discusses specific games and systems and writes about how difficult the games are to play.
posted by sophieblue at 5:40 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can install Steam for free, and buy games through it.

The Steam Halloween sale started a few hours ago, and it would be a great way to get a feel for various types of games for a few dollars a game.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:49 PM on October 29, 2015

Hi there. I'm 35, and although I played games throughout my childhood (mostly Nintendo) and into my adult life, the latter were mostly 'adventure' games. These were (and are) games that run on a PC and there are loads to explore at the moment: Grim Fandango; Monkey Island; Longest Journey. You can get them on your PC through Steam or, and they all play even on my crappy laptop. Really fun.

In addition, about 2 years ago, I picked up a secondhand Xbox 360 and a few games. I LOVE it! I hadn't ever played any 3D-type games, but the learning curve wasn't too bad in terms of actually moving around. Mostly I found that any shooting-type games assumed I knew what the difference was between different types of guns, which I didn't. For example, it took me a while to learn that shotguns are better for close up combat etc. There were also some 'rules' of computer games that I hadn't realised - for example, while playing Role Playing Games (like Skyrim, recommend above) there are 'main' quests and 'secondary' quests. Usually, none of the quests are time-limited, so you can feel free to explore and do lots of side quests if you want.

Hands-down the most amazing games I've played are the Mass Effect trilogy. They really are spectacular and so involved in terms of character and setting. I never understood how people could play games more than once, but it's taken me about a year to finish my second run through of the trilogy and I actually miss it. I would highly recommend - the decisions you make in all the games translate through, and you can play on easy mode so that the combat isn't too hard. I even (gulp) connected my Xbox to the internet so I could download the extra content for them.

Other games where you can explore and have fun include Skryim (as mentioned), Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, and the Bioshock games. The Borderlands games are quite shooty and good fun - albeit with less story than those above.

I agree with the commenters above that it's a good idea to try a couple of display machines. I'm in the UK, and a second-hand Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is only about £50, while games are super cheap (all of the above can be found second-hand for < £10). So may be worth getting an older console if you're not sure... As far as I understand, the PS4 seems to have more interested games in the pipeline.

Have fun!
posted by sedimentary_deer at 3:55 AM on October 30, 2015

I was a latecomer to consoles, too, and found the controllers awkward at first. But like most things, with a little practice it becomes second nature.

I suggest going to whatever your local game shops are that have used copies-- for often less than $5-10 you can get some awesome games .

RPGs are a good way to go, as many people have suggested. Most of them "stop everything" as soon as you hit your inventory or attack panels-- that way you avoid the panic of remembering which button holds your Grapeshot bombs and which releases your fire elementals and even though you're about to be attacked by a half dozen wraiths, they're all going to wait while you eat a ham sandwich to restore some health.

You might want to avoid platformers, stealth games, and first person shooters to start, for they rely on twitch and more complicated combos.

I'd go with a new gen. You'll find your friends increasingly on these. There will be deals this season on bundles.

If you end up investing in the PSN for online multiplayer , you get a couple of free games every month or so. That's another way to explore and find out what you like.

Most games have difficulty settings.

Like a lot of people are saying, PC is still totally an option. Between Steam, GoG, and sites like kongregate and jayisgames, you have a huge amount of games.

posted by spandex at 8:24 AM on October 30, 2015

A note on motion sickness: it has affected me a few times when I was playing Metroid Prime in a dark room while sitting close to my TV, so if you run into any problems, make sure you're not doing that :-)
posted by shponglespore at 10:03 AM on October 30, 2015

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