Monday, November 12, 2012

8 Video Games For People Who Hate Video Games

My very first post on this blog was about how spectacularly horrendous I am at playing scary video games. Or video games with tricky controls. Or video games with doors. (It's like threading a needle to get a Big Daddy through a Rapture door, I swear.)

That said, I really do like video games, so long as they're not too hard, not too scary, not too violent, and have a compelling storyline. 

Which is almost none of them.


Thanks to the fact that I have a gamer husband who is determined to both get and keep me hooked on them, I've tried lots and lots of games. Kids games, puzzle games, indie games you can only get by downloading them, you name it. And while most are busts, I have managed to find some truly stellar examples that I not only love, but managed to play all the way through to the end - which is HUGE.

So if you're like me and can't handle first-person-shooters, scary stuff, or games that just get too hard (I'm looking at you, Psychonauts), but you love puzzles, treasure hunts, good stories, and fun, compelling game play, then these are the games for you:

  (links lead to Amazon)

This action/adventure game debuted in 2009, and it's available on all the different game platforms. It's adorable, beautiful, engaging, and just challenging enough to keep things interesting without getting too frustrating. There's also plenty of complexity to the game, and even our local GameStop guys loved it, so don't think this is just a "kids' game."

My favorite part is that you don't kill your enemies; you just turn them back into the woodland creatures they used to be. Then you can use a spell to become those animals yourself, which - have I mentioned? - is adorable. There's also plenty to find and collect in the game, and there are so many different ways to fight your enemies that it stays fresh and fun. I seriously cannot recommend this game enough, as it's one of the very few I'd actually like to play again sometime.


ICO is an older PS2 game from way back in 2001, but a remastered version was released along with the sequel, Shadow of the Colossus, for the PS3 in 2011.

I haven't played the sequel yet, but I can tell you that ICO is a beautifully haunting puzzle game. You have to escape a vast fortress, leading a young girl through all kinds of obstacles and battling off ghostly shadow creatures. It's refreshingly different and challenging in a quieter, more subdued way than your average adventure game.

Much like ICO, Limbo is a visually stunning puzzle game. It came out in 2010 as a downloadable game through Xbox Live, and then in a retail 3 pack in 2011. It's relatively short, and you die a LOT - but that's part of the appeal. The death scenes are so creative and morbidly amusing that sometimes you want to die just to see what happens. :)

In fact, here's a quick video review to show you more:

The Ghostbusters video game (available on all the game platforms) made a huge splash when it came out in 2009, and rightly so. Dan Aykroyd went so far as to call it "the third movie," as it contains a completely new story set two years after GB2, and has all of the original actors back doing voice work. (Yes, even Bill Murray!) 

I really enjoyed the gameplay and story on this, and working the proton packs was surprisingly fun. My only issue, as some of you might recall, was that a few of the scenes were so scary I had to get John to stay in the room with me while I played. (DON'T JUDGE.) That's probably more of a feature for most of you, though, so definitely play this if you're a ghosthead.

Several months back I'd given up on yet another game (Rayman: Origins) because it'd gotten too frustrating, and was despairing of ever finding another game I'd enjoy playing. That's when John bought me a copy of LEGO Indiana Jones. Though technically a kids' game, I've since talked with several fellow adult geeks who adore the whole LEGO video game lineup, so now I don't feel so bad about staying up 'til dawn playing that first night.

These games give you lots of goals: things to search for, things to build, things to buy, and plenty of goofy fighting, funny cut scenes, and challenging levels. Plus there's just something so gosh-darn therapeutic about smashing everything in sight into tiny bits.

Oh, and the two-player option is also ridiculously fun, so I'm looking forward to playing the Harry Potter one with John soon.

(This is a downloadable game available on PS3, Xbox, PC, or Mac. Go here for pricing and to download.)

I discovered DeathSpank last year while visiting my older brother, who had it on his PS3. I then stole his PS3 so I could continue playing it after we left. :D  It's a comedy action/adventure game that debuted in 2010, and it is ridiculously - RIDICULOUSLY - fun. And funny. The dialogue will have you cackling, the fighting is easy and entertaining, and you collect things like Unicorn poop.

After you finish DeathSpank you'll need to continue on to Act 2, Thongs of Virtue. And thanks to my research I just learned there's a third installment, The Baconing, which I am so getting.

(You knew I had to include this one, right?)

Portal is another puzzle game with stunning gameplay and a hysterical storyline. (Assuming you call non-stop insults from the computer running your "tests" a storyline, of course.) The first game came out in 2007, and the sequel debuted on all the different game platforms in 2011. There's a reason it's become a worldwide sensation, guys; this game rocks.

I'm listing Portal 2 here because I enjoyed it a lot more than the first game, and you don't technically have to have played the original to enjoy the second. In Portal I had to get John's help to move forward a few times - there were some incredibly frustrating timed challenges - but I didn't have any of those problems with Portal 2, which was awesome. Plus the writing and storyline is so much richer and funnier in Portal 2; I was cackling non-stop. So by all means start with Portal if you'd like to experience both, but if it gets too hard for you (as it did for me) then consider skipping on to Portal 2.

Arkham Asylum came out in 2009 on all the game platforms, and it's the game I'm currently hooked on. I'm about 75% through so far, and with only a single rescue from John! (And even that wasn't because it was too hard; I just didn't like Croc jumping out at me all the time - made me too edgy.) 

While it's certainly the grittiest and most "adult" of my selections here, Arkham Asylum is surprisingly clean. There's no language, no gore, and Batman never actually kills anyone; he just knocks them out. I was also delighted to discover a whole treasure hunt aspect to the game, along with a huge cache of Riddler riddles that you get to solve along the way. Combine that with a bunch of nifty Batarang gadgets and fighting combos, and this is one super fun ride. (Plus John just told me there's a sequel: Arkham City. Woohoo!)

So there you have it, guys: my favorite, most-recommended games for geeks who don't like video games! I hope this inspires some of you self-professed non-gamers out there to pick up the controller, because once you find the right ones, gaming can be an unbelievably fun way to waste all of your productive hours away. ;)

And now it's your turn: what games am I missing? Know any you think I'd like? Then, please, share in the comments!

UPDATE: Two excellent older games I've been reminded of in the comments: Syberia and Kingdom Hearts! I played both sequels, as well, and have to say the original Kingdom Hearts was best, and one I'd definitely play again. Syberia's gameplay doesn't hold up as well to modern games - it's a bit slow and clunky - but it's a really beautiful steampunk story.


  1. A Boy and His Blob is an adorable and fun puzzle game for the Wii. You feed different coloured jelly beans to your blob friend to turn it into various helpful objects. I did get stuck a couple of times due to my terrible jumping skills, though.

    You might also like IloMilo, although not being able to control both characters at once was a bit frustrating for cooperative play.

  2. Okami or Okamiden. It is possibly one of the most beautiful games ever made.

  3. I really loved Voyage of the Zoombinis as a kid - but I haven't had any luck tracking down an emulator/copy of the game. It just has such fun logic puzzles! Way superior to sodoku, that's for sure.

  4. Oh Oh Oh!

    I'm playing and loving Uncharted (1&2) right now - a great combination of puzzle and adventure. There are some difficult (read: scary) parts for someone as jumpy as I am, so my husband had to help, but the story is engaging and I like the combination of high pressure fighting and puzzle solving.

    It is actually a lot like Arkham Asylum/Arkham City, but even a little easier trying to figure out where to go - you don't have the same free reign as Arkham.

    And you can't go wrong with a classic Mario game. Love them!

  5. Lego Star Wars is my favorite of the Lego games. Neither my son nor I like the Harry Potter version at all, which was a drag because we generally love all things Harry Potter and we'd enjoyed the other Lego games prior to the H.P. version.

    I only ever did 2-player mode of these games, so I could play with my son. There are a few drawbacks to 2-player mode, but overall Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones were some of our favorite games we've played together.


    1. I started out with the Harry Potter Lego games and trying to go backwards to the ones like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman was hard because the graphics and gameplay weren't as advanced. I also got the Pirates of the Carribbean game and am happily anticipating Levi Lord of the Rings and Batman 2.

  6. I cannot recommend Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic enough.
    It's really interactive and the choices you make affect the whole outcome of the game. (Like if you blow up the Kolto refinery on Manaan, medpacks become more expensive throughout the game) You get to build relationships and the character itself and there are plenty of side quests you can do. You seriously need to play the game 10+ times just to cover all the bases that could be covered.
    I loved, loved, loved it and believe me when I say, I am not a gamer. I suck at video games, but this was the exception <3

  7. For the Android system I like "The Tiny Bang" story. I admit that there have been a couple of "arcade" style moments that I don't like (I like puzzles and finding hidden things), but my son is delighted to do those for me :)

  8. My husband an I are a video game playing team. I am even less coordinated than you when it comes to controls. Also for some reason I get motion sick only when I actually control the game. So he plays and I make helpful suggestions like :"Right, RIGHT! B button, B BUTTON!"
    We loved the Arkham games! Also the Lego Starwars is super awesome. And Hilarious!

  9. Machinarium!!!! Beautiful, just hard enough (hints along the way are helpful) and an amazing soundtrack. Just perfection. (And cute robot love to boot.)

  10. I loved Spyro as a teenager. I would play Medal of Honor and Starwars Battlefront with my brother but Spyro was all mine.

    What I wish they would make is a Harry Potter game where you get sorted and go through all of your years at Hogwarts, taking classes and playing quidditch. My brother has a game called Bully where you go through 4 years of high school and watching him play that made me want a Hogwarts game. I think that's what everyone was hoping Pottermore would be.

  11. Have you tried Syberia and Syberia II? They are steampunky puzzle games (I think they're PC specific).

    They are great! I have the same video game issues that you list and I love them.

  12. KATAMRI DAMACY! It's awesome! It's older, you've probably heard about it already, or already played it. I only played the first one, for PS2, but there is one for X-Box and PS3 as well.

  13. I actually do love video games -- but one my daughter recently downloaded on Xbox called Stacking might really appeal to you. It's unlike anything I've played or seen. The "people" in the game are all matryoska dolls -- solving the puzzles and winning the game requires stacking into the ones with the abilities you need. It's visually gorgeous and the violin-based soundtrack is equally appealing.

  14. Costume Quest on the Xbox 360. You play as a child rescuing their sibling from monsters bent on taking all of the Halloween candy. Lots of different missions, reasonable combat and a great plot! It's brought to you by the people who made Psychonauts, but it is soooooooooo much easier.

  15. @ Dylan - Ah! Yes, I'd forgotten about Syberia! Such a great game; I'm glad you mentioned it. I think I played the sequel, too. I'd love to see that game brought back for more installments.

  16. I like Fable II & III. (I found 1 too hard) Also love the Myst series. Can't fall off and die!

  17. Have you tried Kingdom Hearts? Its an older PS2 game, and its Disney/Final Fantasy so I'm assuming you may have mentioned it before and I missed it. Either way I love it and can't praise it enough. First game I ever played all the way through! (the second was Final Fantasy X) Its a "button masher" and requires no technique really so it was super easy even for a video game newbie like me.

    The Lego Star Wars games are also good but I've only personally played the Original Trilogy.

  18. Katamari Damacy!! So cute, so weird and so addictive. And rainbows!

  19. I was going to recommend Pikmin, because the cute, it is too much! Now that I think about it, though, I wonder if you would like it or not. The 1st one is definitely the more difficult of the two, since you've only got 30 "days" to collect enough of the precious items that you need to return home. The 2nd one gives you an unlimited number of days, adds a second controllable character so you can split your Pikmin forces and accomplish more, and just generally has better features, but...there are these underground caverns, see, that frustrated the daylights out of me when I eventually HAD to go into them, so I dunno.

    Overall, the 1st one was my favorite, and if you can get past the time limit issue on it, you might love it!

    Or you might hate it. But I doubt you'd be somewhere in the middle on it. :)


  20. oohh.. and if you like Downloadable PC puzzle games then I highly recommend World of Goo. You have to use little black goo balls to build bridges for the other goo balls to climb.The animation and story lines are incredible. And I found some of the puzzles tricky but no so tricky that it was frustrating.

    Its also available to download for the Wii.

    Seriously can not say how much I loved this game. Its brilliant!

  21. If I might recommend a game? Journey, by Thatgamecompany is a beautiful game that has some simple puzzles, but is really excellent in the multiplayer aspect. Now before you say anything know this: I do NOT play multiplayer games because of all the meanies out there. This is a game I actually like and actively recommend the multiplayer.

    There are one or two levels that might be a little bit nervous making, but they aren't too bad, I don't think.

    I've only seen it on the PlayStation, but if you've got one it's well worth the money.

  22. Have you tried the Nancy Drew Games on PC? My 8 year old son and I both love them. Shadow Ranch is our favorite but they are all great.

  23. Scribblenauts & Super Scribblenauts are excellent if you're a fan of puzzle based games. I also highly, highly recommend Lego Lord of the Rings (which was just released). It is seven shades of amazing! :)

  24. Journey, by Thatgamecompany for PS3, is just beautiful. Zero stress and makes you reevaluate everything about gaming.

  25. I'm loving Wizard101 and Pirate101. They're downloaded desktop games, so they take up a bit of room on your computer, but they're just fun and innocent, with just the right amount of challenge. My kids actually got me into it (they're promoted as 'family' games) and I think I play more than they do now, lol. I think both of them are freemium games, so they give you a free trial up to a certain point, and then can decide to pay if you want to progress. Worth a look, at least. They're very different playstyles, so if one doesn't work for you, the other might.

  26. Machinarium is very cool. I even like playing the unlock-a-hint minigame when I get stuck

    Bastion is amazing for the presentation, and the haunting story, and the way that the narrator works.

    I could understand the gameplay not being for you, but Planescape: Torment is AMAZING for it's story. As in when I finished it I went sat there for five minutes just savouring the ending, then went back to my last save and played through all the other potential endings.

    To The Moon is another awesome storyline, especially if you know anyone with Aspergers.

    Finally, my wife and I loved playing through the Mass Effect games. I'd control the movement and combat, and she'd choose the dialog options. Fun times!

  27. I personally recommend the Mass Effect series. They are shooters, but they are 3rd person, not 1st person so there is less "help, i'm stuck on a door!" or "why can't i climb this ladder?". You get to customize your character, customize his/her looks, piece together your own back story and decide what type play style you want If you want to minimize shooting, you can pick a tech class or biotic class which are power based. You can't get away with never firing a gun, but you can at least shoot less.

    On top of the character customization, you also get to pick what KIND of character you are playing. There are Paragon and Renegade choices depending if you want to be an upstanding virtuous hero, or a ruthless "end justifies the means' hero. Since you get so much control, you really feel like Shepard is an extension of you, within the game.

    The story line is also one of the most complex and compelling that I've ever found in a video game. There were a number of moments where I got tears in my eyes or danced for joy or punched a fist in the air for victory due to sheer awesome.

    Also while I do consider myself as something of a gamer, I have a lot of the same problems with games that you do. I don't like them too hard, I don't like them to be too scary or depressing, and I hate getting frustrated by mechanics like being unable to climb ladders or get through doors. Sorry that was long winded, but it's seriously my favorite game series in existence.

    (Did I mention that you are Shepard, on a ship with a ragtag band of crew? WIth a spunky female engineer, a wise cracking pilot, and at times a gun-nut mercenary? And there are Blue Suns mercenaries?)

  28. I don't know everything about it because I'm only about halfway through on my highest-level character, but might I also suggest Star Wars: The Old Republic when it goes Free to Play this week? I absorbed someone else's account back in April or so and I've mostly liked playing it. The only problems I've had are fighting bosses alone.

    I mostly just like it for being a Star Wars game with more freedom than I'm used to. It was made by the same people as Knights of the Old Republic. I have KotOR on Steam, but haven't had a chance to play much.

    ...I might also want more people to play with on a semi-regular basis...

  29. Yeah, Lego Star Wars is fun. I have Lego Indy - and have had for about a year but I've never started it. I love playing video games but I get about 90% through, get out of the mood to play games or get busy with something else, forget where I'm at and then start a new one. IloMilo is fun and cute - I think you'd like that one. I also played the demo of Bastion which is in the arcade on Xbox - it's quite fun.

  30. I loved Arkham Asylum too! Though I feel that I should warn you that Arkham City takes the controls that you already know and adds to it. It ended up being a bit too much for me. =\

    I also love the Lego series. Harry Potter, especially the second one is by far the best of the bunch.

    I would also recommend Beautiful Katamari. It came out on Xbox 360 that I know of. It's timed and can be difficult some times, but it's interesting enough to make up for it, I think.

    Also, the Fable series. Freaking awesome. It's more violent (you kill people, and it's rather bloody), but still excellent story lines and the fights are generally doable for everyone. (The first one is on the original xbox... I chose to not play it because I couldn't handle the step back in gameplay, but it's not necessary to play it to understand the other two in the series)

  31. Love love love all of the Lego games. My favorite thing about them is that I can enjoy them alone, or I can play two player with any of my kids (17, 12, and 8). There aren't many games that span the ages like that.

  32. The LEGO franchise also has Batman 1&2 and the Lord of the Rings comes out tomorrow. We've loved them all.

  33. Stupid phone, not sure if this went through the first time or not. If it did just pick your favorite and go with that.

    My recommendation is a little RPG called Bastion. It came out a couple of years ago and is available on multiple platforms (Xbox, PC, Mac, mobile). It isn't a super long RPG but it is a solid game. The graphics and art are pretty and I thought it was easy to pick up and go, no big learning curve with the controls. The best part is that it has dynamic narration and the narrator has an awesome voice. I really enjoyed the music as well. I got the soundtrack and it's part of my regular music mix.

    This is the trailer video:

  34. You know, it's funny. I've never been a gamer, but I bought the Portal games largely because of all the Portal mentions on this blog, and I love them. And when I was asking a coworker for more game suggestions, literally last night, he recommened Limbo, so between you and him I think I'm going to have to check that one out.

    Another puzzler that a different gaming coworker turned me on to is Braid. It can be somewhat challenging, and there are bosses that you have to fight, but the backgrounds are all beautiful watercolors, and it's got a very cool storyline and design. When you die you can just rewind time to before you died, and there are a lot of other ways in which you alter time in order to achieve your goals.

  35. Thank you thank you thank you for the suggestions! I love video games, but am having such a hard time finding ones I actually want to play now. Which means I end up playing the same one or two over and over again. I really appreciate this list. :)

  36. If you love puzzle games you should play the Professor Layton games. They are only for Nintendo DS but they are so fun!

  37. You might get some ideas from a blog called Games I Made My Girlfriend Play ( The couple who write it talk about all kinds of games and her reactions to them.

  38. I can't play the first person games. They make me dizzy, lol.

    Try out Batman Arkham City when you get finished with Arkham Asylum. It's excellent (you get to play as Catwoman). I did have to cheat a bit though and look up how to defeat Mr. Freeze on the interwebz.

    I love the Lego Games as well.

    The Assassins Creed games are fun.

    Bastion and Castle Crashers are a couple of my favorite downloaded games.

  39. In addition to Journey, thatgamecompany also released Flower and Flow, two extradordinarily beautiful games that are simple, yet fun to play.

    Also, Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain are great choices if you prefer something more story-driven. They were also not too difficult to play.

  40. Probably not your cup of tea but I have found that Bioshock and Left 4 Dead (and their respective sequels) were a lot of fun despite being FPS games. Yeah, I play them on easy mode so that I don't spend all my time frustrated, but I really don't give a crap what other people think of me for being the "easy mode" queen.

  41. I loved all the Lego games until Harry Potter. For me the split screen messes with my medical issues and I can't play it without ending up ill.
    Sadly, all the new Lego ones have the same, even on single player mode.

  42. I'm shocked that Kingdom Hearts I & II weren't on this list! Though they're really old at this point (PS2). Maybe *someday* they'll make the third. I'm still holding out hope. Also, you've mentioned before playing Epic Mickey -- is it any good? I'm like you in that I *want* to enjoy video games, but I get frustrated so easily. (FPS and platformers are usually out.)

  43. I love Lego Star Wars too. I hate games that are too hard and I was really happy with LSW. I played the complete saga.

    I also agree about Ghostbusters. I played it recently and thought it was really fun. It's really short too so you don't spend too much time on it.

  44. Braid is a super gorgeous game. It is a puzzle platformer with an awesome soundtrack and a very intriguing story. If you like Limbo, try Braid!

  45. I liked ICO but LOVED Shadow of Colossus. You are a romantic hero riding horseback in search of 16 colossuses (colossi?) to defeat and destroy their idols so that the shadow spirits will revive your love. So engaging, though challenging, and unlimited redo. <3 I always thought it was a prequel to ICO, personally, due to how one ends and the other begins.

  46. Shadow is a beautiful game! You have to try it!
    You should also try Papo & Yo. It's an ps3 indie game by a guy who grew up with an alcoholic father. The whole game is a metaphor. You play as the little South American boy & "Papo" is a big guy that helps solve puzzles but turns into a monster when he eats poisonous frogs. He can't resist them when they are around. Coming from a similar situation, I thought the game was hauntingly accurate & admit I cried at the end. It was a totally different type of game than I'm used to. Almost like an interactive mystery movie, where the "solution" is getting the full story. It's hard to describe, it was sad but beautiful. It wasn't really a physically hard game either. And smashing the frogs against the wall was pretty fun.

  47. Someone already recommended Syberia and Syberia 2, so I just want to second that! I'm absolutely no good at video games, and many of them make me want to hide under a blanket, especially the scary ones, or any of the games where someone's shooting at you. I just panic! I love the action/adventure games. Syberia and Syberia 2 are my faves. The other person who suggested them thought they were for PC only, but I played them on my XBox (not 360, just the original). I also like The Longest Journey, which is only for PC, but there's a sequel for the original XBox and PC. Syberia and Longest Journey are both absolutely beautiful, with great characters and storyline, plus some fun and/or challenging puzzles.

  48. Best least stressful game ever? Katamari Damacy! As well as all of its sequels.
    And I love love LOVE its soundtrack!

  49. World of Goo is amazing. It's a physics simulator and presents you puzzles that you have to solve by building structures out of Goo Balls (who squeak adorably)!

    I'm a big fan of the computer games I grew up on though - Dungeon Keeper's tongue in cheek humour is one of my favourite game narrations ever. Although, some of the levels do get quite tricky.

  50. You absolutely positively ridiculously without a smidgen of a doubt NEEEEEEEEEEED to play Little Big Planet. Best. Video. Game. Ever! And super cute too. Oh! And added bonus, Little Big Planet 2 is filled with cupcake worlds and jam rivers!!!!

  51. I second the recommendations for Costume Quest and Stacking, both of which are by the same company as Psychonauts but are a lot easier. Stacking even has a bit of a steampunk element to it, and it gives you multiple ways to complete tasks so you don't have to think exactly like the writers to advance the game.

  52. I JUST did a post full of steampunk game recommendations, including Syberia. I think you'd especially like Machinarium.

    And all the Lego games are awesome. Except I didn't like the Lego Indiana Jones 2. You HAVE to play the original trilogy Star Wars one.

  53. My big delightful time waster hobby is point and click adventure games. So far my favorites are:

    The Sherlock Holmes series by frogwares. They stick nicely to the characters, while coming up with completely new storylines. Sherlock searching for Jack the Ripper! Sherlock vs. french gentleman thief Arsene Lupin! One where there's a Cthulhu worshipping cult! The oldest one is about 10 years old at this point, and rather clunky to navigate, but the most recent three are all stunning.

    Syberia, and it's sequel , which are gorgeous and vaguely steampunky, with automatons playing a large role in the plot. Actually, pretty much everything made my Benoît Sokal is pretty darn fun, although most of his other games are fairly short.

    And The Longest Journey , which was one of the first adventure games I played, and helped get me hooked. The story is complex, and the characters and world building is quite engaging.

    And on a completely different note, World of Goo is very funny and super cute :)

  54. I was never allowed video games as a kid but I decided to get a PS3 a couple years ago. Typically it takes me a bit to get used to the controls for a lot of games and so I prefer games with good storylines and at least some humour to keep me interested.
    Not sure if you've come accross these before but here are a 3 series I'd recommend:

    Ratchet and Clank future series is super cute and hilarious.. Ratchet is a humany-animaly-creature mechanic and Clank is a diminutive, sentient robot. They travel through the universe, saving it from evil forces. I think this is only available on PS though.

    Dragon Age:Origins (and sequel) which is dark fantasy role-playing game; offers a different twist on magic, elves and dwarves (plus random bits of snarky humor) set in sorta medival type world. You can completely customize your character. In Origins you can choose to be human, elf, or dwarf, and between being a mage, warrior or rogue. In the sequel you are human but you can still choose between mage, warrior or rogue. You also have various dialogue choices available to you which makes replaying fun. You recruit companions who all have distinct personalities which can be quite amusing if you catch the banter between them. Companions also have their own backstories and quests.

    Mass Effect (though I never played the first game) is another role-playing game series. I hesitated for awhile about this game since I don't like shooters, but ended up really liking it. It's 3rd person so you can see more around you and aren't as surprised with random attacks you can't see (or just getting stuck in a corner). You can also choose different classes and abilities so you don't necesarily have to rely on the guns. Personally I like cloaking, can't be attacked if they can't see me! lol In this game you can import your character between games so can keep them for all 3 games and choices you make in game one can have an effect on the third game. You also have different dialogue options based on the type of personality your character develops as you play. Again you recruit companions who each have their own story and quest.


  55. I will always be a Zelda fangirl at heart. But my husband has trouble with the controls (even I get frustrated occasionally) so my guess is you'd struggle with them, too. But I just love love love the stories.

    I don't know if you have a Wii, but you can download Super Mario RPG from the store. It's from the Super Nintendo platform, and is super fun. I recently got it to play again and I just love it. Fun story, colorful graphics, many funny moments, one of your companions is a cloud who thinks he's a get to fight...wait for it...a CAKE! One of my all time favorite Super Nintendo games.

  56. I think that Little Big Planet might be a perfect fit for you. It's based on puzzles/adventures/treasure hunts, and it's absolutely adorable. I can't say I've played a lot (mostly because I have to mooch off a friend) - but the little I've played has been incredibly addictive.

  57. I LOVED Ico. It's one of the few games I've finished. I'll second Machinarium and the Uncharted series. Also if you like strategy with a storyline, Valkyria Chronicles.

  58. Braid has a fascinating story and it's quite a puzzler in its action. Well worth the download! I'm so not a gamer, either.

    I also love Uncharted. And all the Lego games. I may have played the first Lego Star Wars until reaching 100% on everything...

  59. Have you ever tried The Neverhood? It's a claymation game from the mid '90's for PC, the puzzles are brillant, the music is excellent and of course the claymation just completes it. I'd send you my copy but I loaned it to someone and never got it back :(

    We're also currently playing Lego Indiana Jones when the kids aren't around so it's taking a bit of time to get through, can't wait to get hold of some of the more recent ones through which go split screen once you move too far apart making exploring easier and not so much of a team effort

  60. FABLE 3!! It is the ONLY game my boyfriend has gotten me to play and finish. His selling point was that I got to be a princess and choose to be good or evil. Some of the things you fight are a little creepy. But you get to use magic and zap them all at once! Anytime my boyfriend tries to get me to play another game I always ask him if I get to use magic. The main story is your brother is King and is destroying the Kingdom so you go and try to gain a following so you can overthrow him. Once you are in charge you have to make the good and evil decisions and depending on your choices you earn a cool little feature near the end! There are all sorts of extra things to do, you can change clothes and hairstyles. My favorite mission is to hunt down the 50 gnomes that you brought to life and they shoot insults when you walk past them.
    I'm the girly girl that has no interest in video games, and I LOVE Fable 3!

  61. Our whole family loves all the Lego games. My 4 year old is hooked on Star Wars and Harry Potter right now.

    I am not a gamer at all either, but the first game I beat, all by myself, was the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for xbox. If you haven't played it, you should!

  62. I definitely second (third?) Machinarium and World of Goo. The other I would add is Braid - it's entirely puzzle-based, and each level has a different element that makes the world a little bit more complicated. It's an amazing mechanic, the game is beautiful to look at, and I loved all of the fun twists to the traditional platform game.

  63. My wife and I LOVE to play the Lego games. We own and have played EVERY single one. Lego Lord of the Rings comes out tomorrow, and we have that coming from Amazon!! Can't wait to play another one!!!!

  64. I love the Professor Layton games- puzzles with fun storylines. I am getting a 3DS soonish solely so I can play the new one!

  65. I was going to suggest a lot of the games suggested in the comments already (Scribblenauts, Journey, World of Goo), but I'd like to add Quantum Conundrum (it's brutally hard at times, but it's by one of the original Portal people, and therefore awesome), The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (it's old, mind you, you'll need a Gamecube or Wii to play), Animal Crossing (there's one for just about every Nintendo platform), and you might want to try watching the new game Dishonoured (it's kind of a steampunk Bioshock... it can get grisly (though you can easily play through as non-lethal)).

  66. I am echoing a bunch of recommendations here, but I promise a new one at the end!

    JOURNEY. If you play nothing else, play Journey. It made me cry without a single word of dialogue.

    Stacking and Costume Quest are silly fun, as are all the Katamari Damacys and LittleBigPlanet.

    Mass Effect is an amazing FPS/RPG, as long as you keep the mode on the easiest setting (like I did :P) I'd recommend you start with Mass Effect 2 if you try them, though, 1 is clunky and they explain its plot in the beginning of 2.

    Professor Layton is so much fun! Frustrating at times, but it's soooo satisfying to get a puzzle right that you've been struggling with for ages.

    And in that vein...any and all of the Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright games are AMAZING. Likeable characters, a plotline that weaves through each game and builds throughout the series, humor abounding, and you get to be a detective AND a defense attorney all at once! Not to mention that you can use the DS voice controls in the courtroom. I've never had so much fun playing a DS game as I did shouting "OBJECTION!" at my screen on the middle of a crowded bus (...oops).

    Hooray for games that show you can have fun without constantly shooting things!

  67. My suggestions were already mentioned. World of Goo which we play on the iPad, Okami and Okamiden which we play on the wii (and the kids just love!) and Scribblenauts which we play on the DS. There is a iPhone version but it's much more limited.

  68. My boys & I love, love, love the Lego series for Wii. I love Pirates of the Caribbean. It's full of brick breaking humor that is just hilarious.

  69. The other thing to look forward to with Arkham City is Stana Katic (Kate on Castle) voices Talia Al Ghul. I remember you mentioning Castle a couple of times.
    Getting off topic, did you see last weeks episode set at the Sci-fi convention? or that one from a couple of years ago with the Steampunk Society?

  70. I'm a mom of 2 and and a medical professional...and I'm addicted to the Lego games! I have all of them and have played them through to completion at least twice!

  71. The latest patch for Psychonauts made the Meat Circus a lot easier for me, so give it another try if that's where you're stuck!

    I second the person who said Bastion and To the Moon for games with good stories. As for puzzly stuff, SpaceChem and Back To The Future: The Game are two of my favorites.

  72. Great video game suggestions! I'll be sure to check out a few of them as we have similar game play styles.

    Have you ever played Bastion? It's one of the few games i've finished all the way through and bonus! It has an amazing soundtrack that I was inspired to buy as well. It's a downloadable game through the Xbox Live Arcade.

    Fez, is another Xbox Live Arcade game that is full of puzzles. It's a little lacking in plot which is why I never finished it, but it was a fun and care free game that I think you'd enjoy.

  73. And what do you recommend for those of us that found Portal 2 and Mini Ninja's Daunting?
    Never Mind, I really shouldn't be able to even use a computer.

  74. Yes, the LEGO Harry Potter games were a blast, as was LEGO Star Wars! (You get to lift and build LEGO pieces with Accio and the force! So Fun!)

    Animal Crossing is a super fun time-wasting game (And you can even connect and play it with your friends!

    I'm a HUGE Zelda fan, with Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess being my favorites. Not too terribly difficult, no gore or blood, and they are absolutely chock FULL of challenging puzzles and some really fun nonessential side-quests you can embark on. Plus the story lines are very complex and intriguing, and some of the characters are hilarious! And you get to ride your very own horse. It's awesome!

    And if you get stuck on a task or in a Temple, The Zelda Dungeon on YouTube has complete walkthrough videos for most, if not all of the Zelda titles.

  75. I own all of the LEGO games available. Sadly, I will not be able to buy LEGO Lord of the Rings tomorrow, as I am broke this week, but SOON! Your right, there's just something about smashing Lego things to pieces. My kids get mad every time I let them play with me, as I like to explore EVERYWHERE, while they like to just run through the main plot line of the level. Needless to say, I play alone a lot. Lol. I also get first run at a new game. The joys of being the one who purchases it!

    Epic Mickey was a good one also ( I want to say you are the one who first "told" me about it?), so EM2 is a definite must buy.

  76. As said by others: Little Big Planet. Why have you not played it already? Sounds like the perfect game for you (since you sound like the kind of gamer I am, and like the same games I do) And if you do not have a PS3? Get one. Even if only to play Little Big Planet (at least the first one - I myself got mad at the controls in the sequel, but I have about zero patience)

  77. i feel as though you'd like Braid, especially as you seem to love limbo :) braid is this awesome puzzle game where you play around with time to solve the puzzles. It has some crazy dark undertones that aren't really evident when playing the game, so careful if you go looking stuff up lest you spoil it :)

    Another (series of) puzzle game/s that i found quite by accident and really enjoyed is Drawn. There are three games and while they're not very long they have some stunningly beautiful artwork and really testing puzzles. I've played through each game multiple times trying to get all the puzzles completely done on my own!

    A nice in-browser game is Windosill which you can play most of online for free. It's got this really clean design thats pretty spectacular and it's more than a little challenging! If you're a british comedy fan, its what the dvd menus on the IT Crowd series 4 disk is based off. Bit of trivia.

    And finally, someone else mentioned Machinarium in the comments, and i reckon you'd love all of the Amanita Design games, they're beautiful. You can play a free demo of machinarium at the link :) plus, as mentioned, it has a cute robot! It's so you.

    P.S. all of these games are available on steam for both mac and pc, if you have it :)

  78. I just finished playing through Limbo, and I loved it! A great game for the visuals alone.
    I'm currently playing Braid, which is a unique puzzle game where you control time to obtain puzzle pieces. The music is beautiful and relaxing, and the graphics are awesome (they look almost like a painting!).

  79. There are 2 older PC games that I absolutely adored playing. I'm one of those puzzle-adventure games where you can't actually die in them. They also have amazing story lines. The lesser known one is "Grim Fandango" based on the concept of the Mexican Holiday of The Day of the Dead. The other is the Monkey Island series (how can you not love insult sword fighting?).

  80. I LOVE all the Lego games. (They're rated E for Everyone not just kids!) The Harry Potters are my favorites, but the Batman games come in a close second. I super excited that the brand new Lord of the Rings Lego game will be arriving in my mail box this afternoon!

  81. I love all the Lego games, so never feel bad about playing those. They're fun and kind of relaxing.

    The entire Ratchet and Clank series is awesome - and they just released the first three games for PS3.

    Little Big Planet 1 & 2 are good too. I haven't finished either of them because there's a spot in the first one that I just can't get past. But any of the items you pick up or purchase in 1 get sucked into the 2nd one so that makes it that much more awesome. And for LBP2 I splurged and got the Muppet add-on levels and some extra costumes. What could be more fun than running around as Animal? :)

  82. I don't know if you have an i-whatever, but there's an awesome little game app that fits all your criteria to a T. It's called: About Love, Hate, and the Other Ones. It's a puzzle game, moving your characters through various maze-like levels.

    You play as Love and Hate (switching between them as needed), two little blobs that talk to the Other Ones. Love makes them move closer. Hate pushes them away.

    It's exactly like you said: challenging but not so hard you give up. Visually amazing. And the sounds are great too. Hate sounds like Gollum when he talks to the Other Ones. They're just little blobs, but it doesn't take long before you start feeling affectionate toward them.

  83. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but the first game I fell in love with was Paper Mario on the N64 my roommate had in college. I played for 15 hours straight once (on Valentine's Day, because of reasons) and it's also the only game I've ever beaten. I sadly don't own it, but I need to because it is awesome.

  84. I've been playing video games since I was a child. I'm now in my mid 30s. I can honestly say that Journey (Thatgamecompany) is the most beautiful, elegant, and moving game I've ever played. If you have a PS3 you MUST pick up this game. Snag Flower and Flow while you're at it too. (You might be able to pick up all 3 as a bundle.) You won't regret it, I promise!

    My second favorite game of all time is Okami. I'd suggest getting it for the Wii. Otherwise pick up the high definition version for the PS3. You play as the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu. Your goal is to bring life and light back into the world using your paintbrush. The sumi-e art style is fantastic and it has a rich story.

    If you feel like going a little old school I recommend Actraiser. It's half side scroller and half Sim City. You play as an angel trying to destroy the demons of the world (side scroller) while rebuilding humanity (Sim City).

    I also tend to use any of the God of War games to blow off steam/as cheap therapy. They're very mature games (lots of blood and partial nudity). But nothing spooky.

  85. My husband is a serious gamer and he loves and plays all of the LEGO games. I wouldn't be ashamed to admit that you like them.

    When I grew up in Germany (military) we had a Nintendo and the rule was that you could play until you died and then it was the next person's turn. I was five so I would die like, instantly, and then my older sister or stepdad would get it and be on for hours. So. I never got "good" at video games. I can't even make it through Super Mario Bros.

    I like playing Nancy Drew computer games because they're point and click with puzzles. I did play Syberia and it was cool! I might ask my husband about some of the games on your list - maybe I can finally get "good." LOL

  86. I'm not much of a gamer at all but I love all the Lego games: Harry Potter (years 1-4 and 5-7) Star Wars Complete Saga, Pirates of the Caribbean, Batman (and Batman 2). Now eagerly anticipating the new Lord of the Rings one.

    In the puzzle game genre I also like Stacking, Monkey Island and (watching my husband play) Costume Quest.

    For something entirely different - I found Glitch to be rather addictive!

  87. I second Stacking! It was the most adorable little game & it had a really different game play mechanic. Plus it had enough juvenile humor to entertain everyone!

    Journey, Flower, & Flow are all beautiful, cheap downloadables on PS3 with original mechanics as well. Flower is probably one of the most relaxing games I've played. You are a petal floating on the wind & you tilt the controller to collect other petals. The music is gorgeous. Eventually you get to a point where you go around electrical towers, that could startle you a bit.

    Syberia was a good one too!
    I was also addicted to the first 3 Spyro games!

    I love all the Uncharted & Assassins Creed games but those can get kinda violent. I only had my John help with one part in Uncharted 3. :)

  88. In addition to Katamari Damacy, other games I have loved as someone who sounds very much like you with what I want (or don't want) in my games:

    -- Knights of the Old Republic -- it's much more about the story in this game. And you don't have to be good at targeting -- you can turn autotarget on, and it's turn-based, so in any fights, you can take as long as you want to determine what you want to do. I love that feature and wish more games did it. But the story is wonderful, and the gameplay -- it's just hard to describe how intuitive and relatively simple it is.

    Baldur's Gate/Gauntlet -- my husband and I really enjoy these on co-op mode. It's really just punching a bunch of buttons, but there's something so gratifying about it.

    Puzzle Quest -- A download on Xbox 360 -- dunno about its availability elsewhere. It's a game where fighting is done through Bejeweled-like puzzles, but ones that involve a lot more strategy. (If you are a mage, you want to get more blue matches to fill up mana, for example. And you make hits on the bad guy by matching skulls.)

    Ticket to Ride -- available through Steam and on iPad. A European strategy game that is so simple to learn, but the strategy aspect keeps it interesting.

    Second the Kingdom Hearts rec.

  89. You should try Glitch. It's free! It's also completely web-based/online (nothing to install). It's a quirky game that's really hard to describe. Since it's free, give it a starts out with an excellent tutorial to get you going. Also, fellow glitches you meet are always willing to help you out. I have been playing it on and off for a couple of years now. They are always adding more content.

  90. I'd suggest Braid, X-Men Legends, and World of Goo. I own most of the games on your list, but I just wanted to add a few more.

  91. I loved Portal but haven't had a chance to play the sequel yet. The writing is brilliant though and so out of the blue. And of course Jonathan Coulton at the end certainly doesn't hurt.

    I love adventure games that involve lots of exploring and finding. As a result some of my favorite games are the Fable and Assassin's Creed series. Unfortunately they both involve quite a lot of killing and maiming.

  92. I have an old school PS1, and I love all of the Spyro games--those were a good mix of challenging and not very scary.

    I also have a Wii, and my favorite game is Super Mario Galaxy. I'm hoping for the 2nd installment soon. I'm also a big fan of the Lego games, and I'm just now playing my way through Epic Mickey.

    I have Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, and so far, that one is not high on my list of favorites. It's very gritty and high intensity for a Spyro game. Got to try out Skylanders at a friend's house once...that one wasn't as fun as I thought it would be. Geared towards the 10 and under crowd for sure.

    Thanks for sharing your recommendations with us!

  93. OH! Little Big Planet should definitely be on the list. I had not played a video game since I was a kid but when my husband bought that game I was sold. I still play it to this day, even without him. I just love that little Sackboy! :)

  94. I love limbo! You would probably really like Braid, although it gets ridiculously hard so that would turn you off a bit. But it's worth checking out anyway, or at least making John play it so you can watch. It's like Mario, except you control time, and are constantly having to reverse time to solve puzzles. So cool.

    Another one Limbo reminds me of is Super Meatboy, but that's hard and violent, so probably also out. Great music though, really excellent soundtrack.

  95. Well now I feel guilty for never putting effort into playing with my husband. He's constantly looking for games we can play together. Most of these games give me motion sickness (I'm all about Mario on the original Nintendo...two dimensions, just as God intended), but maybe I should put a bit more effort into it. Thanks for the recommendations!

  96. Thanks for the recommendations! I was just having conversation with my husband yesterday about how I feel like I've been left behind by video games because it seems like all of the fun platformers and adventure games have been replaced by really violent games. This list gives me hope.

    Along with some other commenters, I wholeheartedly recommend the Professor Layton and Pheonix Wright games. I just finished Costume Quest and absolutely loved it.

    If you have a Wii, I'd recommend Kirby's Epic Yarn and Super Paper Mario. Both are clever, original, and not too hard.

    And if you like playing video games with your husband, Little Big Planet has great 2 player.

  97. If you have a PS2, both Persona 3 & 4 are fantastic RPG. In both you're a high schooler in Japan, fighting demons & monsters. So you get to go to class and chat up your classmates during the day, and then fight stuff at night. The storylines for both games are totally awesome.

    I'm also a big fan of the Mass
    Effect & Dragon Age series. And I've wanted to play Okami for years, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    I haven't played them yet, but I've heard really great things about both Fez & Super Meat Boy (both are XBLlive downloads). I just watched a documentary on Netflix last week called Indie Game that features both games pretty prominently (as well as Braid which I saw mentioned above).

  98. This is great--thank you! I really enjoyed some of the adventure games that came out in the early 90s for PC, but I have terrible (I mean, really terrible)hand-eye coordination, so I dropped out of gaming altogether once things progressed past point-and-click. But these sound at least tryable. Looking forward to dipping my toes in again!

  99. My favorites are still Grim Fandango and the Monkey Island series, by LucasArts. They're oldies, but goodies.

  100. Ahh, ICO! I loved that game. I'm mostly a Nintendo gal and I had no idea it had been re-released O_O

    Have you ever played any of the Harvest Moon series? It's a really cute farming game. Your character comes into the ownership of a rundown old farm and you have to restore it. You raise crops and livestock. What's really fun is that you can also befriend the villagers in your town and in most games you can get married and raise a family. It's not for everyone, but it's super-cute and highly addictive. ^^

  101. i loved crash bandicoot alot - it first came out for ps1. they also made a few additional installments, one including race cars. its super fun.

  102. Egads, so many recommendations already given!

    I second KOTOR (the first one).

    I loved Arkham Asylum and never finished Arkham City, fwiw. And I am SO gonna have to get my hands on a copy of that ninjas game. <3!

    Bioshock was actually a lot of fun and had such a great story. If you can stomach FPS style games, it might be worth a look. It's got a dark-steampunk feel to it that was just lovely.

    Did you ever like Pokemon? If so, you might look into a slightly older game called Jade Cocoon 2 (skip the first one). It does a very poor job of explaining how to play itself, it suffers from incredible Engrish ... and was hands-down one of the most engaging pet-collection-fighting games I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

    I'm currently hooked on Borderlands 2, but mostly because it's got amazing local co-op and it's hilarious. This as Bioshock are the only to FPS that I play because I prefer adventures.

    A really cute adventure game you might check into is Majin and the Forgotten (or forbidden or forsaken) Kingdom. It's a puzzle gamer that has a small amount of fighting. Adorable, and you can't help but love the Majin.

  103. A couple people have mentioned it already but you MUST MUST MUST play Flower (downloadable on PS3.) I go back to it every few months just to relax. There's almost no controls (tilting the controller for direction, and one button - ANY button - to adjust the wind) so it's easy to pick up. And it's beautiful and the soundtrack is incredible and you just want to play it over and over. The second to last level can be a little tricky and depressing but then you get to the last level and the only word to use for it is "Joyful." Please give it a try - you will love it, I guarantee.

  104. I was actually surprised not to see Stacking but I'm glad someone else mentioned it in the comments. That game was sooooo much fun!
    Botinacula is another beautiful puzzle game with great sounds instead of dialouge.
    I also love any thing in the Seek&Find genre.
    There are a few here I have to check out!! Thanks everyone!

  105. I love the Lego games. We bought them for our daughter and ended up playing them when she's not around, too. We've finished Lego Batman and are about halfway through Lego Harry Potter. We'll have to try Indiana Jones next.

  106. Sorry if someone already mentioned this (tried to scan other comments), but you might like Epic Mickey. It's only for the Wii, though- so I guess it depends on whether you have one or not. I like it because you can choose to be good or evil (paint things, turning them good again, or using thinner to destroy), and you get to see lots of fun Disney characters/settings. The music changes as you play, depending on how you approach things. The first one is a few years older (Epic Mickey 2 is out now), so you can get it cheap.

    I also wanted to say, I totally love the Harry Potter Lego game. I have years 1-4 and am so close to finishing it, but I think I'll end up going back and doing the uncompleted extras eventually.

  107. Well, you're clearly a fan of puzzle games, that's for sure! I might just try a few of these out, myself.

    I recently picked up a DS lite, and so poked around for recommendations and tried out Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. It is wonderful! I have lost so many hours to it over the last few days, and the puzzles I get stuck on turn out to have such brilliantly simple solutions. I cannot describe how much I am enjoying this game!

    Scribblenauts also came highly recommended, but I haven't gotten very far, and haven't enjoyed it as much. It didn't suck me in quite as much, and, lets face it, my time has been spent elsewhere. ;)

    I also picked up a game called Picross 3D which has been enjoyable, although it's more pure puzzle than the others. You seem to enjoy a game with at least one other genre mixed in, so it's less likely to catch your eye.

    Anyway, that's what I've got from what I've been playing recently. Have fun!

  108. I've been loving LostWinds recently. Beautiful graphics and unique gameplay. The sequel's supposed to be pretty good, too, although I've yet to play it.

  109. My favourite DS games have already been recommended so I'll second those - the Harvest moon series (although those are available on mulitple platforms) because they are just so soothing to play and you can play any way you want; and the Ace Attorney series for the fantastic storytelling and characters (I've cried at every game in the series so far I'm just so attached to these fictional lawyers.)

    My only other console is my old PS2, and my favourite game for that is Beyond Good and Evil, where you play as Jade, a reporter, uncovering a plot that is threatening your home planet. It's a great story, but my favourite thing about it is the little side-quests - for example you have to photograph all the animals you can find for a wildlife survey that a scientist has commisioned you for.

    I also have to thank you for writing about the weekend when Portal was free - that prompted me to download it, and now I'm slooooowly making my way through Portal 2 as well!

  110. Sorry if this is a repeat, but I'm too lazy to read all 107 comments and I came late to the party so...
    If you like Lego Indy, you'll love the Lego Star Warses. I prefer Star Wars II, which is actually the original trilogy, but Star Wars I is good too. My only complaint is there are two levels that you HAVE to use Jar Jar in, otherwise you can't pass them. If you're a Jar Jar fan, you probably won't mind. If you're like the rest of fandom, you'll do it with a resigned sigh.

    My daughter and I also really enjoyed Rhythm Heaven. We played it on DS, although I've heard they have it for Wii now. But I can't imagine playing the Wii is as gratifying because there's something soothing about tapping out the rhythms with the stylus.

  111. For the DS, you cannot beat the Professor Layton series, the puzzles are excellent and the animation is beautiful.

    For PC (and now Xbox), my daughter loves playing Minecraft.

    I am completely addicted to Terraria (on PC). I enjoy improving and building my houses and mining for metals and gems. There are bosses, but you don't necessarily have to fight all of them. Terraria will be available on Xbox and PS3 in the future.

  112. Anyone ever play Snark Busters? it's suppose to be a Steampunk setting mini game. I just came across it and i'm debating giving it a shot.

  113. BRAID! Genius game, and you should try it if you haven't already!

  114. At least one other person on here mentioned the Monkey Island games, and I'd just like to say they are my all-time favorite games. They're intelligent, funny, and incredibly entertaining puzzle games made by LucasArts in the 90's. The first two were recently remastered and released.

    I would definitely check them out!

  115. Someone else may have already suggested this, so forgive the repeat, but 110 comments is just too much to sort thru, but Little Big Planet (and its sequel) are ADORABLE!! I love it. Puzzles to figure out, two player options and a STICKER COLLECTION!!! :) Enjoy!

  116. I really suck at games too so my boyfriend is always trying to find stuff I can play and then talk to him about.

    My favourites have been Braid, Machinarium and Samarost and at the moment I'm really into Plants vs Zombies because it is silly!

  117. LOVElovelove Lego Harry Potter! I'm one gold brick away from 100% completion and I cannot find the darn thing. But I will!. Okami is really good, but it's got some tough spots. I'm giving it a break right now, 'cause I'm stuck. One day I will play Portal. I've got another one on my shelf, Fragile Dreams, that is supposed to be a good, beautiful puzzle/adventure game, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet, so I can't recommend it.

    Happy gaming!

  118. Great list! I feel like we have a similar issue- I don't like scary action games or first person shooters! I can't handle the controls for the Arkham games, but I enjoy watching them, and helping my husband find all the Riddler trophies and figuring out some puzzles.

    I want to add my voice in for the That Game Company releases- Flow, Flower and Journey. Flow is a little tough to play, but is nice to try out. Flower and Journey are absolutely amazing, I know it sounds pretentious but they're more "playable art" than video games. If you have a PS3, please play them! There is one very scary moment in Journey (I jumped!) but it isn't so bad.

    Okami and Okamiden are wonderful. Okami just got an HD release on the PSN, and I've been playing it with the move controller. The game is so stylized, it feels like you're in a painting. Early on you can get an item that cloaks you from wandering monsters, so you can't be ambushed and you choose when to fight.

    I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but I adored Folklore for the PS3. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. It's set in Ireland, has a fun gaming system, the heroine is 25 (25! woo!) and can cross between the world of the living and the dead to solve mysteries from her past, and find a murderer in a small town. (Although really, the town is so small you pretty much figure it out before the end!) Great soundtrack, costumes, fight engine, etc.

    I just played Costume Quest, it's super adorable and not hard at all. Your superpowers are all based on the costume you wear, isn't that every cosplayer's dream? The dark quirky humor is fun too.

    I think I've rambled long enough, and hey, my copy of Lego LoTR just arrived! DH and I have some orcs to defeat.

  119. I, like many others, can't be bothered to read all the comments so sorry if there are repeats :)

    I personally love all Mario games (lifetime Nintendo fan) but my favorite and one and one I've played all the way through is Super Paper Mario for the Wii. I love it so much. The story is good, the bad guys aren't really all that bad, the music is awesome, etc.

  120. I really did try to get into Portal. My sons both love it and I thought I would give it a go as they were willing to tutor me! But I kept feeling motion sick! I really don't know why, I just couldn't cope with it. But I am going to try making a companion cube cake for the youngest for his birthday, so not a complete loss.

  121. Legend of Zelda! Twilight Princess is personally my favorite. You can get the Zelda games on basically any device, and there are several Zelda games to choose from, each of which you can play without ever having to play the others to know the story line or anything.

  122. Any of the Ratchet and Clank games for the PlayStation are great! I would also recommend their sister games, the Sly Cooper series and the Jak series. The Jak series is the darkest of the three but has the best storyline in my opinion. Also, someone has already suggested Spyro which I wholeheartedly agree with! The original ones though...not this new Skylanders deal... Yeah, they might range more to the kids side but I also enjoy the LEGO games!

  123. Thanks so much for this post! I always appreciate your game recommendations, as I'm just like you about games.
    Additional recommendations: MACHINARIUM! And Aquaria. Aquaria I really liked just because I liked exploring the sea world, collecting sea things and the aesthetics of it. There are a few bosses you have to get past for certain levels, and at those points I handed the computer over to my well-trained boyfriend.

  124. I forgot to mention OSMOS!

    No one has mentioned it in the comments, strangely! It's a bit difficult at times, but I believe they've fixed a glitch on one of the last levels. The music is great and it is a very tranquil and relaxing game, even though it's still challenging. I like that there are several different categories that you can select.

  125. Thank you for that perfectly timed post! :D I just got a Xbox and am looking for games that I´d like and you described exactely what I am looking for. I am definitely going to try Limbo and Mini Ninjas and one of the Lego games. :D

  126. Oooh, I've never heard of Deathspank. Need to add it to my list :)

  127. I love Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii, it's an adorable side scrolling platformer, but done in the style of a toddlers busy book. There is no death in it, you simply lose the jewels you picked up which only get you bonus levels. It's simple and meant for younger kids (we got it for my son when he was four), but there are enough hidden things in each level to keep older players interested.

  128. I love love LOVE all of the Star Wars KOTOR/Jedi Acadmey games. Really fun, not super hard, definately challenging, good story line and not scary. I only really play them on my compy (along with my acient Vampire the Mscarade, which is scary and Myst which is hard).
    My favorite game of all time is actually a console game.An Xbox game called Jade Empire. It's got an involved storyline, gorgeous elements, REAL character development and you can button mash if necessary. It even has ghosts (sad, save me ghosts not scary I'll eat your soul ghosts) It's an older Bioware game so it's very similar to Mass Effect (though really ME is similar to it since Jade Empire came out forever ago). The only frustrating thing is the morality side. They describe open palm/closed fist as one thing, when in reality they suffer from the Penny arcade kitten morality. Open palm/good is love a kitty and send it to college. Closed fist/evil is drown a sackful of kittens while burning down an orphanage.
    Seriously, the graphics are older but it's SUCH a good game. Pick it up.

  129. I'll also recommend Journey by thatgamecompany. It's seriously one of the more emotional experiences I've ever encountered with a game, considering there is no dialogue. Which is a big testament to the developer's visual and soundtrack skills. And that the devs trust that the gaming audience still has imagination. A truly beautiful and unique gaming experience. It is a Playstation Network exclusive.

    And as others have said: any of the Lego games turn out pretty well. I'm excited to give the new LotR a run through.

    Now titles I didn't see already recommended:

    If you liked the 'I Spy' books growing up, then you might like Escape Rosecliff Island. Available on Steam. (demo available)

    Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is a cutesy title also available on Steam. (demo available) Sort of like the Harvest Moon title others have mentioned. It's basically a store sim.

    I'm really surprised I didn't see Plants vs. Zombies in the recommendations. But if you haven't tried it, then I'd say give the demo a try. (available on Steam.)

    The Dig by lucasarts, while it's a very old title, Steam does have it. (no demo) It's a point and click adventure title that I've always had a softspot for. It was my introduction into that genre and I love the story. While it has a few tense moments, there isn't anything really scary. The graphics are dated (1995 original release) but for their time they were actually pretty decent. I know for some graphics are a sticking point.

    I've been sitting here debating on mentioning this or not, as the game hasn't been released yet. (US release: January 22) But it is a game that I've been looking forward to since I first heard it over a year ago. (I first heard about it for it's promotion for the Japan release. Which was Dec'11) Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Level-5 games and the anime company Studio Ghibli teamed up to co-deveop it. (Level-5: Professor Layton series has been recommended in the comments several times. They also did the Dark Cloud games for the ps2 and a couple of the Dragon Quest titles. Ni No Kuni will probably play most similarly to the Dragon Quest titles, if that matters.) (Studio Ghibli: Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo, etc) Both companies I have a good respect for and I'm upbeat that the game will be well done. So maybe this isn't quite a recommendation as much as it's a: a title to add on your radar if you're a fan of the stories Ghibli produces and don't mind jRPGs.

  130. I figured you'd have at least heard of Syberia, given your love of all things steampunk. I'm not much of a gamer either, but I LOVE that game. Not a huge fan of the sequel, though it does have its moments.
    Now I want to play it again...

  131. I don't HATE video games, but I don't play them often. Last year, my brother got me Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol for my DS and I finished a video game for the first time ever.

  132. Definitely Kingdom Hearts, and depending on the consoles/platforms you own, pretty much all of the sequels hold up too. I've just finished Kingdom Hearts 3D and it was WONDERFUL.

    Legend of Zelda is always classic and wonderful, Ocarina of Time remains one of the greatest video games I've ever played in my life, and again, not to harp too much on the Nintendo 3DS but the graphics in the remake are beautiful.

    And, I wouldn't be a good fan if I didn't take this opportunity to pimp Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. It's a Japanese RPG, and while I'm a bigger fan of the original voice cast, the dub cast does an alright job. Treasure Hunts, really beautiful and engaging story, an incredible amount of game play (I've logged 40 hours on my first save file so far and haven't even reached the half-way point in the overarching plot yet!) with a unique style of play, leveling, etc. I could just wax poetic for eons about Persona 4, but really it's popularity speaks for itself (as of right now, there's been a sequel fighting game, a 30 episode anime, a theatrical film, two stage productions and a remaster/expanded version of the game for PSVita).

    So, uh, yeah! Highly highly recommend Persona 4, and it's only 20$ on Amazon right now. Considering the sheer weight of the game play and the price of more contemporary games, incredibly worth it. In my opinion!

  133. Your tastes in video games are just like mine. I am awful at first-person-anything, and anything too intense or overstimulating gives me headaches. I'm surprised no one has suggested Skyrim yet. It's a little more challenging than some of the games you listed, but the game levels with your skill, so it never gets more challenging than the player can handle. There's a lot of fun in picking a strategy - you can use a bow and arrow and fight by sneaking, use magic and fight with strategy, or use a battleaxe and fight by slashing things. The map is incredibly expansive and lovely, with lots of beautiful scenery and varied terrains. You can play through the main storyline, or play side quests, or just wander around the woods and slay dragons.

    The most hardcore games I played before Skyrim were Portal and Pokemon Sapphire, but I enjoyed it immensely. I'm hooked and would absolutely recommend it - it's the only game my gamer boyfriend and I can agree on to play together.

  134. Little BigPlanet is seriously the cutest game I have ever seen. The whole point is to collect stickers and costumes and dress your little "sack person" up. There are some surprisingly difficult challenges for such a young game, but I never really got so frustrated with it that I wanted to quit.

    Mirror's Edge is an amazing puzzle game. You have to solve a lot of parkour puzzles. Some of them can be quite challenging and frustrating, but its a relatively short game as well. The story is really engaging but also kind of dark.

    I'm not really a game player myself. I prefer to watch people play games. That being said, Little Big Planet is a game I can play myself because it is just so fun and adorable and awesome. I also really enjoyed both Portals too (seriously, who wouldn't!?)

  135. Many years ago, a close friend suggested that my husband and I might enjoy the LEGO games. Turns out, it is one of the few games we can enjoy playing together (He likes the Resident Evil, MOH and HALO, I'm all about the Mario, Okami and The Blob) this struck a happy medium, and something we could achieve together. Indian Jones has been a favorite, but they are all good.

  136. Jak & Daxter! Because that is the first game I ever finished, 100%, ON MY OWN.

    I mean, it's not a very difficult game, but for someone who had to call her at the time boyfriend to finish Kingdom Hearts the first time she played it, I was proud of myself. And dit was fun. ^^

    (I am btw replaying Kingdom Hearts right now, and I've almost beaten all of it, and I've done it all by myself. I'm proud of myself. ^^)

  137. Although possibly the most frustrating game of all time you might check out "Odd World: Abe's Odyssey", It's THE side scrolling puzzle game. It almost requires you play it with someone else so you can pass the controller off after you die for the 50th time on the same screen. It really is kinda the best game ever though.

  138. I have a Wii and I love both Picmin 1 and 2, and they just came out with 3. Olie crashes his rocket on another planet and has to get the native picmin to help him gather all the parts to put it back together. Different colored picmin do different things i.e blue ones are the only ones who can run into the water.

  139. I just did a control+f on the comments page to see if anyone else had the same idea as me, and many people did! Get Little Big Planet. it's totally adorable and easy enough for kids to play and challenging enough for adults to enjoy. And on top of it all, it's narrated by Stephen Fry.I mean come on, it has to be awesome if he's narrating it. The version we have has a Toy Story Expansion pack, so you can dress your character up as a little Buzz Lightyear and play against the evil Dr Porkchop!

  140. Just came across this -


  141. Please try Simon the Sorceror 1 & 2. They are hilarious old Point-and-click, like Monkey Island, eexcept you cannot die and you cannot mess up your game if you use the wrong item first (as in MI).
    There are loads of fantasy/ sci-fi parody references and Simon is super-sarcastic. Simon 3 is OK< but hard to control and there is one section you have to be fast as lightning to pass, so it's not so fun and relaxing.

  142. I am not only not a good video gamer, a total sissy about anything scary, but any game were I have to compete with my husband (who is very very good at video games) I get frustrated. So we look for collaborative games, that aren't scary, difficult to control, have plot, visual interest and some sort of engaging puzzle like aspect. So far our favorite has been a xbox live game called ilomilo, the characters are cute, the music is wonderful, the world is lovely and I cheer every time the characters find their way to each other. If I am going to play by myself it is Pikmin (the first one for game cube) I have played it all the way through multiple times since we got it in 2001, it just gets better.

  143. I love, love, love Katamari Damacy. It's a lot of fun, and the story line is absolutely ridiculous.

    I also really like Sly Cooper,
    it's cute and fun. you play a fox thief.

    I also need to shout out to World of Goo and Professor Layton.

    Jak and Daxter is one of my all time favorite games, and I really like 2 and 3 is ok. Definitely check the first one out at least. (#2 is very different, 1 doesn't have any guns/shooting and 2 does, but it's not 1st person and it's easy - I don't like hard shooting)

    Plants vs Zombies is available on a few different formats and it's great. It's cartoony, not scary, you shoot zombies with plants, like pea shooters. It's pretty sweet.

    If you have N64: Conker's Bad Fur Day (wonderfullly innappropriate on all levels, but no shooting and it's not scary) it's hilarious; F-Zero basically a race game, but it's my favorite.

    I have spent countless hours on my DS playing clubhouse games - it's card and some board games, spit (speed), old maid, backgammon, checkers, chess, solitaire, mah jong, darts, bowling, billiards, sorry (ludo), texas hold 'em, etc. Tons of games for pretty much whatever mood you're in.

    Lastly, I recommend World of Warcraft - although that may be more of a time/money sink and not so much a video game, than you're looking for , it's beautiful, great music, great graphics, great quests, it can be as interactive (with other people) as you want, or it can be pretty solo.

    Sorry for the long post! You seriously have to try Katamari Damacy though!

  144. I'd like to recommend Trine 2. I never got around to playing the first one, so I can only comment on the second, but it's a puzzle/mini action game that I just love playing with my boyfriend. The graphics are gorgeous, and it's not scary or too difficult. I usually just play the wizard and keep making boxes and dropping them on my boyfriend's head. I got it on Steam but it's available on other platforms.

  145. Thank you for posting this! I, too, am terrible at games involving shooting/scary things/complex controls, but I love a really good game. The only one we own that I'm even remotely good at is one of the Lego video games. Most of these became instant additions to my Amazon wishlist. My husband asked why, and I said, "If Jen likes it, I will too!"

  146. No matter how cute or fun/funny the game is my grandsons (ages 6 & 8) tell me I can't play with them anymore! hahaha I just laugh because no matter how hard I try I can't get the hang of the controller thingy. It's actually a relief for me!

    Anyway, I LOVE the repurposed gift box; INGENIOUS or what?!?!? Keep 'em coming!

  147. Super Princess Peach for DS and Yoshi Island DS are very similar, but I enjoyed SPP the best c: It's an adorable, collecting, quest, game where Princess Peach saves Mario and Luigi instead of the other way around. Also, Machinarium is a puzzle game that is challenging but do-able and the art is just gorgeous. Plus: ROBOTS

  148. There's a game in the PS3 store to download called Pain. You fling these people using giant sling shots and get points for all the bangs and destruction you cause. It's fun and a good way to blow off some steam without actually hurting anybody. Did I mention you can fling David Hasslehoff and George Takei around?

  149. @ Jake, Norene, etc - I watched a friend play Pain years ago (must have been an earlier version) and was frankly horrified by it. He was tossing a "street-walker" around, and the whole concept made me ill. I'm guessing the newer versions are lighter and funnier, but I'm just too sensitive; I can't handle causing even virtual pain. (Pathetic, I know!)

  150. My 7 year old and I love, love, love Scribblenauts & Super Scibblenauts. There is a version out for the Wii U so we are definitely going to pick that up once those drop in price a bit. We also love the Lego games. We have Lego Batman 1& 2 and Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4. He is better at the Lego games than I am. In fact, he beat Lego Batman 1 with my dad just before he received the second one for his birthday!

    The new favorite is Skylanders. It is a total racket, but it's easy and fun. You do kill bad guys, so you might want to research it before committing. The portal aspect is really cool and the figures are pretty awesome.

  151. Thanks so much for the game ideas. I got my kids Mini Ninjas for Christmas. We love it! We have been playing for 2 days straight, with the rest of Christmas break to go.

  152. I LOVE the Lego games! They're the only video games I can play all day long without getting bored or frustrated (when I actually have time to play!).

  153. I didn't see any recommendations for Dragon Age(Or Dragon Age II), and I haven't seen you mention anything about it, so if you haven't played it. It. Is. A. Must.
    I'm really big into video games, so on most games I like the challenge of the hardest difficulty available, but when it comes to Dragon Age, I love just laying back and playing on 'casual mode'. It's designed with just the story in mind, and each choice you make in the game effects the outcome. Personally, I prefer the first one, it was indefinably better, and had a much more grabbing and intriguing story line. I honestly couldn't put the game down.
    Casual mode just sounds like your thing, you should give it a try when you get the time. ^-^

  154. I agree. The violence in video games has gotten way out of hand as of late (the "Grand Theft Auto" series being a prime example...). Have you heard of "World of Goo?" It has everything you like, and none of the things you don't -- awesome music and cute animation, for starters. The entire game is nothing but puzzles, and if you can't figure out a level, you can just skip it and come back to it later! That was a real winner for me. It also has a bit of a lighthearted plot, but beware of spoilers! The plot doesn't go terribly deep, so a spoiler could easily ruin all of the surprise.


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