Some holiday tips for a new gamer

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It wasn&rsquo;t easy, with midterms just finished and final exams coming up, but somehow I still managed to fit in eight hours of video games a day. That was a <em>Simpsons</em> reference. I now feel depressed that people may be young enough to not remember that episode.</p>

But as I obsessively play Fallout 4 and Bloodborne: The Old Hunters, it occurs to me that there are sure to be plenty of people who are rocking a brand new console, be it the Playstation 4, Xbox One, or Wii U, or perhaps a new portable or PC, whether it be from the Black Friday sales or an eventual Christmas gift. And when you’re as obsessed about games as me, you tend to get plenty of questions on what games to buy.

If you’re unaccustomed to games in general, and if the console in question is a friend or family member’s, there are a few good places to start. 

If you’re a big fan of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, you might find the game adaptations by Telltale as a good jumping on point. The gameplay is relatively simple, focusing on making dialogue choices that will affect the characters around you, and often, who lives or who dies. To be honest, I found The Walking Dead: Season 1 game better than the actual show. And I love the show.

Recent hit Life is Strange has a similar kind of gameplay, choosing teenage drama and time travel as its major hook. Until Dawn took the slasher film and made it interactive. You don’t have to be an expert gamer to enjoy a good game — these serve as great entries in the medium, without losing the depth games can possess when done correctly. 

Independent games are usually accessible, with simple mechanics that are easy to get into, but provide a depth not found in the fanciest hardcore games. Not to mention they generally don’t get more expensive than $15, though these are generally on the PC rather than a new console.

I’ve already written about the adorable yet somber retro game Undertale, and if you’re up for some quirky dialogue, it’s a must play. Rocket League’s premise of rocket-powered RC cars playing soccer is pretty much an easy sell. Try Her Story, a game where you sit down to live-action police investigation footage and try to piece together what sort of crime has been committed, and by whom. The twists, as they say, will keep you guessing.

Get lost in a grand adventure. If you feel up to it, go exploring in The Witcher III’s alternative Europe, or Fallout 4’s Commonwealth. Walking around in worlds that feel distinct and alive is what drew me to gaming in the first place. It might seem intimidating, but it can be a vivid experience once you get into it. And frankly, you may never again have as much free time as these massive games demand as you will being a student on holiday.

Also, Nintendo has been a haven for games to sit down and play with friends. Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 alone have made for great nights with four friends on the couch. 

Honestly, the best advice I can give is to find out which games will appeal to you the same way I do. Go onto the internet and take a look at the major gaming websites, like Polygon or Kotaku. Check out YouTubers, people who do reviews or who do Let’s Plays, and just take a look at what’s out there. It’s like any hobby; all it takes is picking up a magazine or finding a reviewer you like or a player who is fun to watch to get into gaming.

The holidays are coming, as is the new year. Lots of stuff to catch up on, lots of things to look forward to. Lots of essays to write, and a future of prospects to look over. For the future of this column, we may only have one year left together. I hope I can keep things going well this last year! 

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