Super easy casual games for elders
August 15, 2016 3:33 PM   Subscribe

My dad is 70 and wants to play some super easy casual games on PC, iOS, PS4, and possibly Wii or Wii U. Recommendations?

He doesn't want any games that require a lot of skill, and his reflexes probably aren't that great. He can't sit at a PC for long either but computer games are okay. He has a Windows jigsaw puzzle game that gives him a free puzzle every week but he's getting bored with it. We already have Bejeweled. I have a PS4 and I could give him my old iPad, and I have Steam. I gave away my Wii but we would be willing to buy a new Wii or Wii U if there are enough easy games on it. I don't think he'd get much use out of my 3DS because I think the screen is too small for him. I have a Chromebook also for browser games.
posted by IndigoRain to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (25 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Minecraft? Play on Peaceful until he gets the hang of it, you don't need skills or reflexes to explore and build, and it's a good, gentle intro to first-person which can be tricky to play for some of us old farts.
posted by The otter lady at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Monument Valley.
posted by pharm at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Stawdew Valley. There is very little combat but it's of the hold down a button & mash a key sort, reflexes not required.
posted by wwax at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I play endless rounds of Acid Freecell, so I am perhaps not the best judge of fun, but I am a pretty good judge of slower paced games. Maybe Words with Friends? That's round-based, so he could take as much time as he wanted (and start games with as many strangers — or even friends — as he wanted). I like my iOS Sudoku app, too, as it's so much easier to play in an app than on paper. Just last week I started playing Wooden Block Puzzle, which is kind of like Tetris only you can take as long as you like to place pieces — there's no timed element. I play all of these (except Acid Freecell) on my iPhone, so the iPad would be perfect.
posted by clone boulevard at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2016

Puzzle Agent is a bunch of puzzles wrapped in an adventure about a detective.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:23 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

and his reflexes probably aren't that great.

Turn based games or things you can pause will work better for him.

I like playing SimCity. You can pause it to do planning. SimCity 3000 is my favorite version. It is now available on Good Old Games. It has four speeds, plus the ability to pause it. You can lay out infrastructure while it is paused and SimCity 3000 lets you rename files, so you can pause it, save the game just before making major infrastructure decisions, and try different paths.

I will recommend you turn off Disasters. That is the only part of the game where you need good reflexes.

It does have scenarios if he wants to have a goal or a means to "win." But the normal game involves just not killing your city. It is kind of a sand box game in that, outside of the scenarios, there is no winning.

I will also recommend he start with an existing starter city until he learns the basics.
posted by Michele in California at 4:33 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been consumed lately with 1010 which is sort of like Tetris in reverse.
posted by DrGail at 4:34 PM on August 15, 2016

maybe Threes or Dots?
posted by vunder at 4:43 PM on August 15, 2016

Would something from telltale games work? I really enjoyed tales from the bordetland and hear great things about a wolf among us. Both are a cross between a choose your own adventure and a movie. That said there were a couple of quick time games in borderlands, but I believe failing them was simply one of the possible outcomes.
posted by phil at 4:46 PM on August 15, 2016

Threes! Threes and its cousin 2048 have been my go-to casual games for iOS for at least a year. 2048 is free, and I think Threes costs $0.99 or some equally paltry amount. I was also obsessed with Drop Seven for ages. (These are all grid-based games with slightly mathy or number oriented components.)

I'm a huge fan of tower defense games and have loved Kingdom Rush and everything along those lines from Armor and Ironhide Games. That said, I've played through all of those games on PC and haven't used their iOS app. It might be fiddly for fingers that aren't used to phone games, and at some levels reflexes and quick fingers become important.

I have Don't Starve on my phone, which I normally wouldn't describe as "casual", but then I don't consider Minecraft or Sim City casual, either. Don't Starve is more of an "hours of obsessive gameplay where I sometimes forget to go to the bathroom"/"log thousands of hours on it"/"keep their wiki bookmarked on my computer" type of thing. Though I suppose there are many ways to play.
posted by Sara C. at 4:47 PM on August 15, 2016

I really like Starbound. He can make a character on Casual mode, and you two can play multi-player and it's super fun, as long as one person uses their computer as a dedicated server.
posted by yueliang at 5:35 PM on August 15, 2016

Machinarium, Botanicula, and Samorost are a series of beautiful, atmospheric little puzzle games. You can play them in sections (so short playtimes), & no quick reflexes required, just pointing and clicking. The links are for their PC versions, though they exist on iOS too, I believe.

Also: Two Dots? It's a simple, calming, cute puzzle game; there's no need to tap a lot, or quickly. Or maybe its successor Dots & Co., which I haven't tried, but which looks to be a simpler/more user-friendly version of Two Dots.
posted by stellarc at 7:13 PM on August 15, 2016

Ditto Monument Valley, but if he likes puzzles, maybe Klocki or The Room series?
posted by juv3nal at 12:26 AM on August 16, 2016

Seconding Stardew Valley - you can play the game however you like, so if you find the combat (mining) or fishing challenging for reflexes and just want to craft/farm/make artisan foods/forage, there's a full game there. You can play a game day in about 15-20 minutes (it saves at the beginning of each day) and there's no way to lose, but it's really engaging and interesting. If he likes planning/resource management, he might really enjoy it.

If he likes mysteries at all, maybe Contradiction - you're a detective in an English village investigating a murder by talking to people and spotting contradictions. It's cosy, a bit goofy, and a good puzzle not requiring game-specific skills.
posted by carbide at 12:49 AM on August 16, 2016

Journey is on the PS3 and PS4. Requires little in the way of skill.
posted by Strudel at 1:11 AM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe.
posted by PenDevil at 4:35 AM on August 16, 2016

Check out games by Amanita Design
posted by falsedmitri at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2016

He should check out the long list of puzzle games available on Facebook. I love Cookie Jam, so much better than Candy Crush for me. He can try and whole bunch and see what he likes.
posted by Coffeetyme at 7:46 AM on August 16, 2016

The Battle of Polytopia on iOS. It's a turn-based Civilization clone perfectly stripped down and streamlined for mobile and it has beautiful graphics.
posted by mattholomew at 8:45 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

No Man's Sky is amazing on PS4; see the discussion on the blue.
posted by Nelson at 11:21 AM on August 16, 2016

IOS: Siege Hero - Fortresses, Buildings, Viking Ships need to be knocked down with two to four strategically placed weapons such as boulders, broken rock pieces, fire or oil.
It's easy to use in that you just touch where you want the weapon to land, instead of a pull & release such as in Angry Birds.
Low frustration level as you can watch a 30 second video to skip a tough level.

IOS or PC: Mahjong - many different game patterns, depending on the app there can be different patterns on the tiles rather than hard to tell apart japanese characters

PC: Hidden Object Games. Gorgeous graphics, sometimes an interesting but generally you can skip them. Try Playrix or Big Fish for no or low cost games. Watch out, he may sit at the computer too long when playing these.
posted by IpsoFacto at 4:01 PM on August 16, 2016

What about PopCap games like Bookworm Adventures or Peggle?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:07 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Animal crossing?
posted by yodelingisfun at 12:10 AM on August 17, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for all your suggestions! I can't believe I didn't think of Journey, and for that matter Flower, I have them and loved them! You've given us some great ideas. I'll get him started on a few and see what he likes. I'm pretty sure I showed him a hidden object game somewhere along the way, I wonder if he forgot about it.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:44 AM on August 17, 2016

If journey and flower are good fits, the recent titles Abzu and Bound are in a similar vein fyi.
posted by juv3nal at 2:02 PM on August 17, 2016

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