Beyond the Library

Video Games for Non-Video Gamers

Civilization 6 Art

Video games are one of the world’s largest entertainment mediums, but their relative recency, compared to books or film, mean that many people have missed out on finding the perfect game for them.

So maybe you’ve found yourself at home with some extra time on your hands and you’re wondering what this video game thing is all about. Unfortunately, the vast world of video games can be complicated to navigate if you don’t know what you’re looking for, and don’t want to spend a whole lot of money. But great games are waiting for you on many devices that you probably already own, and for relatively low prices. Here are a few recommendations for games that non-gamers may enjoy during their time inside.

Each of these games can be purchased on a wide range of devices, including smart phones. Each game also features some degree of multiplayer, meaning you can play with other real people.


Minecraft Logo

Minecraft took the world by storm back in 2009 and has gone on to become one of the biggest video games in the world. Even if you’ve never played a video game, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. But its popularity is well-earned. A simplistic art style hides an incredibly deep and rewarding game of survival and creativity.

In fact, those are the two primary modes of Minecraft. In survival, you spawn on a random map with nearly infinite potential. No two Minecraft worlds are the same, from their vast oceans to underground caves and lush forests. You’ll start by breaking trees to get wood, building crafting benches and tools, and finally your own house as you transition from survivng in this world, to thriving in it. Oh, just watch out for the zombies.

If you’re the more creative type, creative mode removes all resource gathering and danger from the equation. You’re given a bottomless toolbox of building blocks and set loose on the world to start building your dream creations. If you were the kid (or adult) that dumped the box of Legos out on the floor and built what came to mind, this mode is for you.

While the controls may be difficult to come to grips with for someone who has never played a game before, Minecraft’s creative mode offers a relaxing environment where you can get used to how everything moves at your own pace.

Minecraft is available on nearly every platform you can think of. If you have an Xbox or Playstation in the house, chances are that someone may have bought Minecraft on those already. Why not play together? Building is more fun with friends and family!

If you don’t have any game consoles at all, most computers can run Minecraft, and it is also available on mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Box Art

When your grandfather passes away, he leaves you only one thing in his will: his run down farm. You leave your city life behind and move to Stardew Valley, ready to begin life anew as a farmer.

Such is the setup for Stardew Valley, a game ostensibly about farming but equally concerned with community, fishing, and maybe a few secrets or two.

Like Minecraft, Stardew Valley is focused on gathering resources and improving your equipment. During the day, you’ll plant and water crops, talk to townsfolk, and go to the local stores. At night, you may choose to go to sleep to begin the next day immediately, or go exploring in some of the nearby caves.

Stardew Valley is full of interesting things to do, but gives the player the freedom to choose what tasks interest them the most. While almost everyone will do some degree of farming, the world is full of other activities as well.

Stardew Valley is available on a wide range of platforms. If you have a laptop or desktop computer from the last 5 to 7 years, chances are it will run on that just fine. Again, if you have any game consoles at home, you can pick up Stardew Valley, or purchase it on your Android or iOS phone.

Through the Ages

Through the Ages Art

Maybe farming and crafting aren’t really your thing. Maybe controlling a character and living out a virtual life isn’t something that interests you. Then this next game on our list might be a bit more interesting.

Through the Ages is a digital adaptation of the board game of the same name. Your goal is to lead a civilization through history from the ancient era all the way to modern times.

This is accomplished with some of the most well tuned strategy game play ever put to board, or screen in this case. Through the Ages is a delicate balances of resources, from minerals to build more buildings, food to grow more population to work those buildings, and science points to research new technologies.

But you’re not the only civilization in town. Up to three other players, controlled by the computer, or other humans, are also competing to have the most culture points by the end of the game.

If all that sounds complicated, it’s because it can be. But Through the Ages has a brilliant tutorial that walks you through all the basics of its game play, and the digital version has a generous undo function that lets you redo actions to ensure optimal play.

Through the Ages is available on nearly any computer or laptop, and also has a fantastic mobile version you can play on your phone or tablet. It’s also a great way to get people together for a virtual board game night, as the multiplayer component works over the internet.

Civilization VI

Civilization 6 Art

The inspiration for Through the Ages was a computer game called Civilization. First released in 1991, Civilization saw players choosing a civilization from ancient or recent history and leading them through the entirety of recorded history.

Now, nearly 30 years later, the series is going strong with Civilization VI. Settle cities, research technologies, engage in espionage or full out nuclear war. Or, play the diplomatic game and trade with your neighbors and build alliances that will last a millennia.

Like a board game, Civilization is played in turns. Early on in the game your turns may involve moving units and maintaining one or two cities. By the end, however, your empire will stretch across the entire randomly generated map, and new threats will emerge requiring your attention.

Like Through the Ages, Civilization can be a difficult game to learn. Again, however, a robust tutorial will teach you the basics of game play. Civilization is also designed in a way that guides you toward each action you may take. The “Next Turn” button always prompts you to take the next logical action before you can pass play on to other players, ensuring each turn is utilized to its full potential.

Civilization VI is a more recent title, and may struggle to run on some older computers. However, like the other games on this list, there is an excellent mobile version, though a tablet is recommended given the amount of things on screen.

Civilization VI can also be played with multiple human and computer controlled opponents, either locally or over the internet.


The four games above are just a small collection of great games to play for people who have never played games before.

From resource gathering to leading armies across history, there truly is a game out there for everyone. Just because you haven’t found your game yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t out there! What better time then now to find the hobby you didn’t know you had?

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