The modern video game industry has been going strong since the 1970s and has changed from simple shapes and flashing lights to cinematic masterpieces of immersive storytelling. With more than 40 years of video games, it can be tough to know where to start for first time gamers. In order to help new players out, we turned to our sources to rank the top five best video games for beginners.
Video games began as automated games including pachinko and pinball machines with some predating the 1940s. By the 1970s, video games as we recognize them today were being developed and released by clever programmers and game developers. Early hits like “Pong” (1972) and “Space Invaders” (1978) would define the first modern arcade experiences. The first generation of home console gaming began in the early 1970s with the likes of Magnavox and Coleco. The second generation included the Atari 2600 that was released in 1977 and represented a big leap forward in terms of the number of software titles available and ease of use. The famous third generation of home consoles includes the unforgettable eight-bit Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Master System also known as the Famicom and Mega Drive in Japan.
The jump to 16-bit graphics at home was ushered in by classic game systems Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis as well as outliers like the impressive Turbo Grafx-16 and the exorbitantly expensive Neo Geo. The short-lived fifth generation included the monster hit-console Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo 64, among others. The sixth generation is considered by many to be the start of the modern gaming era. It included the legendary PlayStation 2 and the first Microsoft Xbox. By the time of the seventh generation of consoles in 2005 Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo had firmly established themselves as the “big three” of home console gaming. It was in the late 2000s and early 2010s that video games would be changed forever by the rise of smartphones and mobile devices.
With over 50 years of video game classics at hand that are constantly evolving, these titles are a good place to start for anyone looking to get into gaming. We turned to trusted sources to rank out the best video games for beginners. Did we miss one of your favorite starter games? Let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Games for Beginners, According to the Pros
Many parents know “Minecraft” simply as “that building blocks game” and they are not far off. “Minecraft” is a wildly popular title that lets players run wild with a massive imaginary sandbox to mine resources, build amazing structures, and landscapes. The Gamer raves, “To absolutely no surprise, ‘Minecraft’ takes the top spot. Not only is it an excellent survival game for newcomers, but one that delivers a richly detailed procedurally generated world built of blocks with endless fun and allows you to express your creativity. There’s no story or mandatory missions to complete, just roaming the terrain and gathering resources.”
The Guardian praises, “The hugely successful block-building game allows you to explore vast landscapes, constructing your own houses, castles and whatever else you want to make, while avoiding zombies and mining for useful minerals. [This Game is] Endlessly creative and rewarding, and brilliant to share with children of all abilities.”
G2A.com exclaims, “‘Minecraft’ took the world by storm with its stuff creation mechanics that let everyone unleash their creativity and build something totally amazing. Naturally, the game has a survival mode where you need to gather the necessary resources, build a shelter, and fend off attacking creatures, but where’s the fun in that, right? The main strength of the game is it lets you build pretty much anything you desire.”
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is the latest entry in the smash-hit cozy game series. Cute animal neighbors and chill vibes will help keep new gamers entertained for hours. NBC Select says, “Rosalie Tinelli, Select’s senior social media editor, said ‘Animal Crossing’s’ cuteness is only part of its appeal. While playing, you’re able to develop your own island among animal neighbors. She said there’s a business aspect involved in the game — you sell fruit or fish, and use what you earn to buy new outfits, make updates to your home, and upgrade the island by building bridges and staircases.”
“The latest game, ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ is a cute game in which you design and explore your island, interact with villagers, collect, create, trade items, and interact with friends online. It’s a simple, yet addicting way to spend your time, and a great way to jump into gaming without feeling intimidated,” describes Steel Series For Glory.
“The game that got half of the world through the first wave of the pandemic, this Nintendo title is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. This game is a social simulation game that lets you build your own virtual communities (think ‘The Sims,’ but cuter), but it is so much more at the same time. This game gave birth to a new era of gamers and is a perfect starting point for those not knowing where to begin,” elaborates The Journal.
This title is disarmingly simple in its design and execution. It features a traveler in a scarf running across a desert landscape. ScreenRant comments, “Surprisingly engaging and depicting a harrowing story, especially for a game without a single spoken word, ‘Journey’ is a game that truly is a piece of art. Somehow, the game still manages to get the player to root for their quiet protagonist, and, when the final screen appears, the short experience is as rewarding as it is touching.”
Mashable adds, “‘Journey’ won just about every major award available in 2012 for good reason. A virtual adaptation of Joseph Campbell’s famous Hero’s Journey narrative structure, your mission is both simple and vast. The last of your kind, you must reach the peak of a mountain, soaring through a gorgeous sand desert and overcoming all the challenges a hero must face.”
“‘Journey’ is the video game equivalent of those calming meditation videos or audio streams you put on in the background to let your body and mind relax. The game begins without any exposition; you’re a faceless robed figure skating its way through a mesmerizing, otherworldly desert of sand dunes and ruins, and a magical scarf that’s tied to your robe allows you to fly across distances and float up towering gates,” details thrillist.
In 2009, game developer PopCap released the original “Plants vs. Zombies” for personal computer. By 2013, the game would be released on mobile devices and reach the highest levels of popularity. Plitch explains, “‘The Plants vs. Zombies’ series… are tower defense games. That means you protect a base from ever-increasing waves of enemies. In the title developed by PopCap Games, your home is the home of plants, and the enemies are zombies. The graphics are more comic-like, thanks to the colorful style and cuddly character designs.”
‘“Plants vs. Zombies’ is a tower defense strategy game, meaning that you use your resources to create defenses against waves of enemies. You will need to use cards to arrange the playing field with different kinds of plants, each with their own abilities that fend off shambling zombies. It will start out easy, then get progressively harder over time,” offers Steel Series For Glory.
“Originally, little more than a mobile game that gave players the [chance] to use weaponized plants to protect their garden from invading zombies, ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ has grown into a franchise of its own. With games like ‘Garden Warfare’ offering a three-dimensional environment for plant combat, there are options for anything gamers might like,” states ScreenRant.
Lauded as one of the most fun platformers of all time, “Rayman Legends” is all about running and jumping. This classic game formula was popularized by the “Super Mario Series,” but “Rayman” is a fun and imaginative take on the genre. Plitch claims, “The jumping passages are easy to handle, and the game has a decent size with 120 levels. The game design is creative and varied. Each area has its own challenges, enemies, and secrets. Graphically, you can enjoy rich colors and detailed environments. The character models are also done with a lot of love.”
“This long-running series of inventive and welcoming platform games reached its zenith with 2013’s ‘Rayman Legends,’ a delightful almost hallucinogenic romp, filled with Gallic eccentricities,” relates The Guardian.
G2A.com reviews, “Set a century after the events of ‘Rayman Origins,’ ‘Legends’ sees the titular character return – along with his friends – to save the world once again, from Dark Teensies this time. Expect lots of precisely timed jumps, zany foes to beat, and peaceful inhabitants to save.”
You might also be interested in:
- Best Pokémon Video Games
- Best RPGs On Steam
- Best Nintendo Games of All Time
- Best Cozy Games On Nintendo Switch
- The Gamer
- The Guardian
- NBC Select
- Steel Series For Glory
- The Journal
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.