If you know nothing about gaming, but you're curious, what should you play first? If you've played hours of Candy Crush and you're looking for something better, what's the next step? Here are some suggestions for the best "gateway games".
This is just a list of examples based on some games that my own non-gamer friends have enjoyed. Many games that made our "best games to play with a friend" list would also fit nicely here, but let us know what games you've found to be good for introducing people to video games!
Portal 2 is probably one of the funniest games I've ever played, but it isn't just a great example for this list because it's entertaining to listen to GLaDOS for a few hours. Despite using first-person controls, which can be intimidating to people who didn't grow up playing games, the puzzles in portal are just that: puzzles. For the most part, they don't require careful, twitchy execution. Once you've figured out what to do, it's just a matter of pointing your portal gun in the right direction. Every solved puzzle gives the player a great feeling of accomplishment as they figure out how to do something that moments ago seemed impossible.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead TV show is already so popular, if you're trying to convince someone to try out a video game, they probably already know the show. From there it's an easy pitch to point out that the game is basically an interactive version of the show. I love this game because it takes what's great about a show like TWD but adds so much weight to every twist, since you've been influencing the story all along. Like Portal 2, the game is mostly about decision making, not execution (except for when you execute people, so maybe not a great starting point for the squeamish).
If you didn't grow up playing games, controlling a character in 3D space can be very frustrating. You end up constantly bumping into things. Luckily, the goal in Katamari Damacy is to bump into things, so it's a great way to get used to controlling a character without giving up and throwing the controller through the TV. Also, it's a strange and adorable game that's just a lot of fun to look at.
If you're interested in videogames but you're really opposed to all the violence and competitiveness that many of them revolve around, then Journey is a great bet. The same goes for if you can't see yourself spending 10 hours playing Portal 2. Instead of flipping through Netflix and watching a two hour movie, spend those two hours surfing through the desert and exploring the ruins of this beautiful world. Journey is great for non-gamers, but most people won't know about it unless they've got a gamer friend to show it to them.
You might know about it already, but in case you don't, Castle Crashers is a silly, fun arcade style beat-em-up for up to four players. While it isn't exactly a "party game", I've often ended up in a group having a great time playing this game with people who I didn't even know could operate an Xbox.
Robot Unicorn Attack
Sure, the gameplay isn't really anything special, but it also isn't difficult to understand or play. And there's just something special about the absurdly cheery song combined with the fact that your robot unicorn's decapitated head lands on the screen when you crash. Even if you've played it before, go take a trip down memory lane, it's free!
What? It's Tetris. Even if you haven't played it, you know that everyone loves Tetris.
I know there are many more games that could be on this list, so leave your suggestions in the comments, using the following format:
[Image, ideally 640x360]
Why is it good for non-gamers? Specifically, would this be good for someone who has played no games at all, or has a little bit of experience? Is it good because it has a good story, or simple mechanics, or something else?