What Would You Show to Someone Who's Never Seen a Game?

As some of you know, I'm living with my grandfather for the near term, because he's 86 and needs some assistance, and the companionship's good for him. But he keeps asking me about video games.

This past week our lunch and dinner conversations centered on video games, because one naturally talks about work, and this is mine right now. But I also sense that he's increasingly curious about them - maybe from a big-picture standpoint. The guy's a Harvard MBA after all, and video games are an enormous, multibillion-dollar business.

So I've done my best to keep this in contexts he understands. I talked about Nintendo, and its strategy of exploring growth among casual demographics - unsaturated markets, in other words. There's a Wii bowling league in the retirement community club down here. He was especially fascinated by the back-and-forth between movie studios and game publishers, how one project will become an adaptation of the other, and why. We talked about military games - he was appalled by the concept of Six Days in Fallujah. A Marine colonel, he is familiar with that operation on a different level. I deliberately didn't tell him of Atomic's claims that they'd consulted with insurgents.

Granddad's never played a game in his life but he looks like he might be interested in seeing what one looks like. He was amazed by the complexity of the PlayStation 3 controller I showed him, especially when I told him about the tilt control and rumble feedback. I told him I was playing The Godfather II - an exceptional movie he enjoyed greatly - for a review. That clearly intrigued him, but I didn't show any of it to him. Had it been a better game, I probably would have at least shown him some of the cinematics.

The longer I stay here, the more inevitable it will become that he's going to watch me demonstrate a game. And that brings up a question I'd like to put to you:

If you were showing someone the first video game he had ever seen in his life, and you wanted to show him the very best the industry had to offer, what would it be?

Call of Duty: World at War, or really any military game, is straight out, because this guy was a first-person shooter on Okinawa, and it wasn't entertaining. But what do I show him? Bioshock? Do I try to impress him with the depth of a world in an MMO or a sandboxer? Do I keep it simple with something like Braid?

Would it only be a cutscene or an introduction? Would it be actual gameplay? Bear in mind my grandfather is an extremely intellectually curious man. But he's also, with a gentle smile, said that the hobby "sounds like an enormous waste of time." But he is genuinely fascinated that people would spend so much time and money with it.


Comments

    well it depends. if you want to show him a recent game, show him halo, or you could do a historical thing. ping, space invaders, mario bros, mario world, zelda oot, etc etc etc.
    i would reccomend showing him mario bros, then something more recent.

    My grandpa is totally sold on Wii sports :) whenever we go over there for a family sort of thing, I bring along the Wii and we have a bash at Golf and Tennis etc. We also break out Boom Blox, being another game thats essentially controlled with just 2 buttons and motion, he can get the hang of that too.

    Its impressive stuff because the medication hes taken makes it unbelievably hard to remember and concentrate on such things, the two button controls for example were too much for him at first but after about an hour I didn't have to tell him what to do any more.

    This is of course if you want to get your Grandpa to actually PLAY with you :)

    The fact that you talk about him being gentle and that he was interested in the mechanics of gaming, it brings to mind a visualy stunning game like the PS3's 'Flower'.

    Keep in mind he would still be a casual gamer so things like the short but trilling 'Portal'. or the contructive 'World of Goo' you could give a go. games with a lot of rules would be a no go. something easy, simple and fun does not have to be be visually handicapped.

    Management gaming would also be the go, yet make sure it doesn't tilt on the Repetitive side so for example try 'Sim City 4'

    Just my two cents

    If you want him to play a current game, I'd go for something thats story heavy, old people like stories, so something like Fallout 3. If it's any game then thats easy, Super Mario Bros!

    I've introduced my grandparents to various games over the years. The one that has facinated my grandfather more than any other was easily World of Warcraft. It wasn't so much the game itself, but how you could interact and work with others from across the world.

    If you want to show your grandfather the best of the industry, think of what might intrigue him most. What could warrant people spending so much time and money on a particular title? Community? Game-play? Narrative?

    probably mario brothers, just get some wii points and download it.
    its a game for the ages and it turned a card company into one of the biggest video game manufacturers in the world.

    Been there lol, i showed Assassins creed on ps3 purely for visual splendour.

    Oblivion.

    It's huge, pretty, and there are no guns.

    What about Shadow of the Colossus? Nice fantasy setting, realistic horse movement, simple controls, pretty graphics (almost, even compared to todays standards).

    or maybe start off with something simpler and pretty like Grid or Burnout Paradise (although the purposeful car crashes might not go down too well)

    Show him Shadow of the Colluses or Little Big Planet.
    Simple yet innovative games.
    Or Something on the Wii...like Metroid Prime 3
    Or a simple DS game

    I personally showed my Uncle, Bioshock. He was very impressed with the water in the game.

    Since you enlightened him, using the Ps3 controller. I would definitely show him flower, that game is brilliant!

    I'd show him something that is pretty like Oblivion, Fable 2 or even GTA4, etc. You don't have to do any killing or real gameplay, just show the worlds and how they interact. Then I would show him something he is interested in, this could be a sports game, fishing game, car racing game, etc, there are games for everything just find something he would be interested in.

    Yeah, i would give them a ps3 and any game on it, that way when I showed them any other system, they would be really impressed (lol)

    Maybe crayon physics?

    Fable 2 is a beginners game also.. Generally built for your gf so she will stop calling you a nerd for playing games.

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