If you enjoy gaming, you likely have friends who enjoy it, too. However, you probably also have people in your life who, well, don’t. No matter which of your favourite games you try to entice them to play, they just aren’t into it. Look, you might never get these friends into Dark Souls or Overwatch, but there are plenty of other options out there — here are 10 games that basically anyone could enjoy playing.
Overcooked and Overcooked 2
Are you ready to put your relationships to the test? We’re serious; this game has probably sparked a divorce or two in its time. Overcooked and its sequel, Overcooked 2, invite you and up to three other players to work together in prepping orders at a restaurant. You’ll be prepping rice for burritos, baking cakes, assembling pizzas, and — my least favourite part — washing dishes. And, since this is a video game, you’ll be doing it in kitchens that are constantly moving. Sometimes you’re cooking between two moving trucks; sometimes you’re cooking above a poisonous bog. Par for the course, really.
The characters are cute, the mechanics are simple, but the execution is brutal. You will be yelling at people like you never have before, demanding to know who has the tortillas, why the meat station doesn’t have beef cooking, and, for the love of god, who didn’t wash the dishes??
Available on: Overcooked is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. Overcooked 2 is available on PC, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Amazon Luna.
If your non-gamer friends are suckers for cute characters, Unravel Two might just be the game for them. You each take control of “Yarnys,” who use their yarn to navigate through a series of beautiful levels. This game is a puzzle platformer, which will require you to help your Yarnys climb and swing through areas, solving cleverly designed puzzles in order to advance.
Unravel Two features a story that plays in tandem with your adventures; as you progress through the world, you also progress through the narrative. It’s a neat incentive that might spark the interest of those who are more in it for the story than the gameplay.
Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
Untitled Goose Game
If you aren’t acquainted with Untitled Goose Game, allow me to gladly introduce you. You are a goose, and you exist to wreak havoc upon an unsuspecting English village. The game has you explore different areas of the village with a checklist of objectives to complete. Some of these involve stealing items from humans; others have you goad people into doing things.
It’s all in good fun — until someone gets annoyed with you and chases you out of their area. That’s where a second player comes in handy; while stealth missions are fun enough on your own, having a buddy to pull off the robbery while you distract the human is a blast. It doesn’t feel like a traditional video game; if nothing else, your friends should enjoy honking at other people (or you).
Available on: Mac, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
It Takes Two
On the surface, It Takes Two might seem to be a bit too “video-gamey” for your non-gamer friends. But give it a chance; the game has been lauded for combining an intriguing and heartfelt story alongside strong cooperative gameplay. You play as two recently divorced humans who are magically turned into dolls; the only way for you to become a human again is to fix your relationship.
As one YouTube commenter put it, it looks more like a movie than a game. If Unravel Two’s story doesn’t do it for your friends, It Takes Two will likely grab their attention.
Available on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Perhaps your friends have a dormant desire to leave their jobs and become farmers. Perhaps your friends are farmers. The only way to really find out is to have them play Stardew Valley with you. The charming visuals, iconic soundtrack, and relaxing gameplay are just some of the highlights of this incredibly popular farming sim.
Stardew Valley was already a go-to recommendation for people who didn’t really like video games. But with the addition of multiplayer, introducing a friend to the world became that much easier. Farm together, meet the townsfolk together, build a community together! And the fact that you can play on your smartphone — eliminating the need for a console — means that anyone can pick it up.
Available on: Mac, PC, Nintendo Switch, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita, iOS, and Android.
Among Us was a quarantine sensation, likely because of its easy-to-pick-up nature and the fact that it’s available on your smartphone, not just a console. Oh, and it’s also free on mobile, so nobody has to pay to play. Your friends might be reluctant to try it at first, but after a round or two, most people get hooked. Here’s why.
In Among Us, you and your friends are stuck on a broken spaceship. While most of you run around fixing various aspects of the ship, one player is secretly an alien. That player’s goal is to murder everyone on board without getting caught, while the rest of the team’s goal is to either figure out who the alien is, or fix the ship before they can kill everyone. It’s a sensation for a reason.
Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.
Depending on who you’re playing with, Mario Party can be a fun take on digital board games, or a fight-to-the-death endeavour. Similar to Overcooked, Mario Party games can get heated. But they don’t have to; your non-gamer friends probably won’t lose their minds playing Mario Party for the first time. In fact, they’ll probably just have a good time.
It’s easy for newcomers to pick up, since at its core, it’s really just a board game. But, of course, Mario Party is famous for its minigames; that’s what makes this such a good title for non-gamers because they don’t have to play for long periods of time. Sixty seconds in a minigame, and it’s over? And it’s fun? Sign me up.
Available on: The latest entry, Super Mario Party, is available on Nintendo Switch. But if you have some retro consoles lying around, the series goes all the way back to the N64 (Mario Party 2 is a personal favourite).
If you made it through the pandemic without playing any Jackbox games, I’d be surprised. Still, they’re a noteworthy collection of games to add to this list, since so many are instantly accessible. For the uninitiated, Jackbox makes party games that anyone can jump into from their smartphone. These games run the gamut: mad-libs, trivia, t-shirt design competitions, stand-up comedy, even an Among Us-esque game.
Jackbox has seven “Party Packs” out now, each with its own collection of excellent games. An eighth pack is on its way, as well, so you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of games to play. Plus, you can get these games through almost every platform imaginable, so you don’t need a console to play a few party games with your friends.
Available on: PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Android TV, Amazon TV, and Apple TV.
There have been many kart racers over the years, but the king of them all is still Mario Kart. Fun characters, creative items, and easy-to-understand mechanics make this series a no-brainer for party games. The latest entry even comes with help for beginners, like bumpers to avoid falling off the side of the track, so anyone can play regardless of skill level.
Like Mario Party, there are a lot of Mario Karts out there. The Wii version was popular in the day for its motion controls (something you can still do in the newest game), while the GameCube version lets you share one kart. You’re more likely to have access to a Switch, however, so Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is probably the one for you.
Available on: The latest, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, is available on Nintendo Switch.
Bonus: Virtually anything in VR
Allow me to deviate from multiplayer and co-op titles just to say, people like VR. They don’t know they like it, but they really do. People who don’t like video games pop on a VR headset and, suddenly, it’s like they’re a kid again. VR experiences are always a fun introduction, and can be a good way to make sure that nobody gets overwhelmed on their first go.
I’ve found Superhot VR is a winner with so many people; they freak out at first as an army of faceless red computer enemies run and shoot at them, but once they figure out the controls, they become Neo from the Matrix. If you happen to have a VR headset, you should start having people try it out.
Are there any games that you’ve had success with that we didn’t mention? Share them with us in the comments.