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  1. #1

    Games for Moms?

    Or as it is said in the Ancient English, "Mums". A particular Mom that I know has shown an interest in computer gaming as a potential pastime and a way to liven up some boring afternoons. But when she sees the games I typically play (RPGs, FPSs) she is intimidated by the complexity and says "Oh, I am sure this type of game is not for me."

    So dear RPS, what type of game IS good for a Mom? I was thinking perhaps a lightweight puzzlish game or two, something like Peggle or Bejeweled. She has played standard Windows card games quite fervently in the past, but got bored with them after a month or so. Or maybe an adventure game that is engrossing but not infuriatingly complex? Or possibly Minecraft, though in the case of this particular Mom, that may be too limitless and unfocused.

    What say you?!?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    World of Goo, it's easy to get the hang of (point, click, drag and simple physics), has a very friendly art style and soundtrack and lets you progress through levels at your own pace.

    If you want to give her a Popcap game I'd suggest Bookworm Adventures or
    Plants vs. Zombies. Bejeweled and Peggle are just soulless time wasters.

    Other than that, I dunno, it's hard to give suggestions when you know nothing about the person it's for other than that she's a mom :)
    Last edited by Skalpadda; 11-12-2011 at 06:03 AM.

  3. #3
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    I think a game with a good direction and mechanics that build up in complexity over time is the way to go. Portal would be a great option as long as you didn't hang over her - the hardest part for any new gamer is always figuring out how to get around in the environment, and learning the controls. Most of us had it easy, because many (but not all) of the games we grew up on or first discovered had massively abbreviated controls - doom, command and conquer, etc. The easiest way to acclimatise someone to a new way of navigating is just give them a bit to themselves to muddle it out - nobody wants to sit down in front of a game, realise they don't know how to move, whilst someone who is an 'expert' (in their eyes) watches in judgement - or worse, frustration. So basically I'd narrow down a shortlist of titles with interesting looks, stories, or mechanics, and just leave her with them. Spend as long as it takes to physically tell them how to operate it and then just leave. If they're actually interested they'll experiment. If they aren't, they'll just wander off.

  4. #4
    I think most people can deal with Peggle, Bejeweled, Tetris, but there's still a pretty big leap from this to other games, and to ease this transition you have to hit 4 points:

    (1) a unique, appealing style
    (2) controls that aren't too complicated
    (3) not too much twitch gameplay
    (4) not too much text/dialogue

    Machinarium is a great game that hits all 4 of these. It's gorgeous, the controls are pretty simple, and there's no dialogue to slow things down. My girlfriend enjoyed Machinarium, but was turned off by pretty much anything else I tried to get her into. I also think Lemmings is a great game to get people started: a cute and excellent puzzler that's a little more complicated/game-y than Tetris and the like. I was able to get my elderly aunt hooked on games starting with Grim Fandango, but I think she was just especially receptive; Grim Fandango has great style and is incredibly charming, but the controls are clunky and obtuse.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    Adventure games might be another idea, being narrative driven and not relying on precise motor skills. The Telltale Monkey Island games are pretty good and not too hard for a beginner. Machinarium is also excellent but might be a bit difficult for someone who isn't used to adventure game logic.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Spacewalk's Avatar
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    Match-3, Mahjongg solitaire and hidden object games are a safe bet and are a dime a dozen. Once she's comfortable with those you can get her into the more complex stuff like Plants vs. Zombies.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Spacewalk View Post
    Match-3, Mahjongg solitaire and hidden object games are a safe bet and are a dime a dozen. Once she's comfortable with those you can get her into the more complex stuff like Plants vs. Zombies.
    What he said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    Adventure games might be another idea, being narrative driven and not relying on precise motor skills. The Telltale Monkey Island games are pretty good and not too hard for a beginner. Machinarium is also excellent but might be a bit difficult for someone who isn't used to adventure game logic.
    I agree with you, if it's a point and click adventure with still images. I tried to make mother play realMyst and she ended up trapped in a corner behind a ladder, not even knowing how to turn around, because realMyst has free first person movement unlike the old Myst games. She didn't even get to the point when she had to face her first puzzle :-/
    "So dark le con of man"

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Machinarium! Can not recommend this game enough.

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    My lady friend has shown a recent interest in games and I have pointed her in the direction of The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, Braid and Machinarium. She seems to have liked them.

    It's not unreasonable for someone to find RPG's too complicated for their tastes but we don't have to jump to the extreme casual games like bejeweled.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Most if not all Amanita Design games. Machinarium was already mentioned. But also check out
    http://amanita-design.net/samorost-1/ (fully free)
    http://amanita-design.net/samorost-2/ (a fairly long demo)
    http://amanita-design.net/games/questionaut.html (free)
    And Botanicula should be released soon.

    Other stuff:

    Cat Cat Watermelon
    http://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=190#play

    William and Sly
    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/503833

    Trine and Trine 2. Okay, it's a slightly complex game, but it's overwhelmingly cute so you should get away with that.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgFxIopLANU

    Osmos is very simple. But beware, it gets really hard in later levels.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U67Wrg0W-eE

    Oasis by Mind Control is a very fun, lightweight strategy game. Build your empire in 2 minutes. Surprisingly, it works.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1VXV9CJ4_c

    edit
    How the hell did I forget Knytt Stories ?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpnGL3ggGFk

    also, Enviro Bear 2000 (Operation Hibernation)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J53lmpjGdUQ
    Eat fish and berries to fatten up and survive winter.
    Last edited by b0rsuk; 11-12-2011 at 08:01 AM.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ravelle's Avatar
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    My mother just browses the Zynga/Popcap archive and tries the demo's until she likes one and downloads it. :P

  12. #12
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    My mom was an addict of multiplayer Tetris (Game Boy), multiplayer Dr Mario and Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble. She now enjoys the Dr Mario minigame in Dr Kawashima.

    A good mom game would be The Sims, fairly laid back and instantly understandable concepts. Viva Piņata would be a contender but the awful interface and frustrating destruction by invincible enemies might be a bit much for someone starting out. What about The Settlers or Anno?

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    Angry Birds. Yes, I said it.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Why don't you get her something you think she'd like? My mum likes Chuzzle, Bejewelled, Solitaire, Sudoku, Professor Layton, stuff like that. Someone else's mum might like Resident Evil, though.

    Someone suggested Anno and The Settlers - sure, but they're in-depth and take up a lot of hours, and they might confuse or overwhelm her, at least to start with.

    I'd suggest looking at PopCap's catalogue - as has been suggested - but look at what's on Big Fish. They sell a lot of varied games that might interest her.


  15. #15
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    Any of the Puzzle Quest series. The Sims is another obvious candidate. Peggle/Tetris/puzzle bobble or indeed any of the classic arcade style games likewise (i.e. Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pacman - any of those one mechanic things).

    Part of the problem is likely going to be getting her to try it before worrying about complexity. Tower defence games would be a good example - the mechanics are pretty easy to understand. Similarly Worms, Diablo or any of it's numerous clones (at least the ones which are still firmly based in clicking something till it falls over and your ability to tell if one number is higher than another).

    The other alternative is something which is complex but thoroughly explained - one of the Magic the Gathering : Duels of the Planeswalkers games (or something of it's ilk) for example sounds ideal - it's a card game, the basic rules are easy to understand (and thoroughly explained with assistance available pretty much any time) and everything beyond the basic concepts is written there on the cards while you're playing.

    Failing that you've got the sandboxy muck about stuff - Minecraft, A Kingdom for Keflings, Creatures, Virtual Villagers etc.

  16. #16
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    My mum used to love Wolfenstein, when she'd still play things that were more complicated than Solitaire. She also played a murder mystery game back in the days of DOS prompts (edit: Murder Club from 1986 - apparently part of the JB Harold series, which I never heard of), which was probably pretty basic but looked cool to me at the time. We also played through Myst more or less together. She was much better at SimAnt than I was - she'd play through the campaign, while I'd get frustrated and do Experimental Mode instead. She also managed to complete something in Civ once, but I don't think she actually enjoyed it.

    Sorry that this isn't very helpful... I guess I'd just say not to assume that Peggle is the limit of her ambitions. Maybe get her something turn-based, or something that pauses / saves quickly, so that she doesn't have to be overwhelmed? Also, something that has levels or episodes that can be played through in a single evening tends to be less daunting, to me at least. Desktop Dungeons is fun, uncomplicated and free, and if she decides she likes dungeon crawling there are a *lot* of games out there with a similar theme and of varying complexity. On the other end of the complexity spectrum I'd suggest Fate of the World, but it could really do with more extensive help to figure out where you're going wrong.

    I'd second (third?) the suggestion of Amanita games, although I'd start with Samorost I since it's free and short - she gets to pat herself on the back for completing it, and if she really doesn't like it you haven't invested much time or money. It can be hard to admit you don't like something that cost ten [local currency units], and you want to know right away if she bounces off something.
    Last edited by Pertusaria; 10-01-2012 at 09:16 PM.
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    Network Hub slick_101's Avatar
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    You could try portal. it's very simple to get the grips with as I actually taught my mum how to play it, the reason for this is because you don't have a time limit and so you can experiment in ways in which you like. Other than that you could get her to check out big fish games, that's my mothers general past time with the point and click adventures
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  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    My 'mum' plays Microsoft solitaire and has a high score over 8k. Makes me sick. She also likes peggle and fruit ninja.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  19. #19
    My Mum went halves with me on The Witcher 2 and finished it before me. Then she moved onto New Vegas.

    That probably doesn't help you much :P

  20. #20
    Network Hub corbain's Avatar
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    My mother loves Morrowind, going round collecting ingredients for potions. Interestingly, despite spending 100s of hours in that game, her "mouse move" skills are terrible, and she can't do any FPS at all. Very non-twitchy.

    She loves Plants vs Zombies and is addicted to Defense Grid.

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