How to teach my dad to play video games

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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I want to teach my dad to play video games. He is quite interested in them and I can convince him to try and play a game but he is bad at it and I want to teach him to play. I own an xbox 360 and a pc and I tried to play borderlands on xbox with him but he can't move both sticks at the same time and is always kinda disoriented and can't aim well. So maybe he should start with a different kind of game? Maybe a platformer, an RPG, etc... Or maybe he should first try to play on pc? Or any other suggestions.

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csl316

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#2 csl316  Online

The further back you go, the easier the controls are to grasp. But the harder the design is. It's always an interesting quandary.

What sort of games does he seem to be interested in? Depending if it's for story, action, puzzle, you have a lot of directions to go in.

Jumping straight into a modern shooter can be crazy intimidating. For an FPS, might as well start with Doom if he won't get offended by ultraviolence and the devil.

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@csl316: I don't really know what games he's into. I only tried borderlands and battleblock theater and he hasn't played video games before so I don't think he knows what type of games he's into. I also don't own a lot of FPS, only borderlands (1 and 2) and gears of war 2.

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LikeaSsur

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If he's never played video games before, start him super simple. Super Mario Bros. simple if that's what it takes. Platformers seem to be the most common type of "gateway games" that get people into them. From there you could branch off into puzzle games, turn based RPGs, anything that doesn't require split second reflexes/decisions. I'd say FPS/action games are a ways off still.

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mosespippy

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You know how I learned how to use a controller? Tony Hawk 2. That combo system was easy to understand. It's just a direction and a face button. Super simple to begin with and you can keep adding to it the better you get.

Another good option is racing games. You don't usually need to move both sticks in a racing game. Again, controls are fairly simple most of the time; accelerate, brake, reverse, ebrake and some directions.

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@mosespippy: Well,I don't have those because I'm not into that type of games so race games and skateboard aren't an option.

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mike

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It may help to find him a game related to something he is actually interested in in real life, maybe something like golf. Golf games have especially simple controls and you can easily find one of the older Tiger Woods games for a few bucks. They're fun too.

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Spoonman671

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#8  Edited By Spoonman671

Why is your father interested in video games?

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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I just looked through my games and I'm considering assassin's creed. What do you think? You don't really have to control the camera and the game is simple enough. When he is good enough with assassin's creed maybe portal 2 to train the camera. No battles so he can take his time. Maybe a game like dragon's dogma too, but later because it's difficult enough.

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mosespippy

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@the_shiniest_meat_bicycle: Ok, how about a hunting game? My dad used to play hunting games. They're pretty relaxing games, at least they were in 2000 when I was playing them. It might be a lot easier for him to grasp the controls if there isn't the pressure of someone shooting at him. I'm sure you can pick up an old hunting game on the cheap.

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@spoonman671: He sometimes watches when I play, also I think he agrees to play because this is what I like to do and when I tell him about video games, the plots and stuff he's interested. He also likes fantasy and sci-fi, he reads fantasy and sci-fi books and he saw star wars, lord of the rings, etc...

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@mosespippy: I think portal may be an alternative to this. It's first person and you also shoot portals and most of the time no pressure.

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csl316

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#13  Edited By csl316  Online
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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@csl316: Unfortunately I have it for pc and not xbox and I'd like to stick with xbox. Assassin's creed also has a sci-fi plot (kinda) and is easier than a shooter. But maybe I'll try mass effect on pc if assassin's creed doesn't work out.

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Shortbreadtom

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Mass Effect 2 on the "tell me a story" difficulty (whichever that is) is pretty easy and its story is good even if you don't play games

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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Also how about L.A. Noir? It doesn't have a difficult gameplay and no pressure most of the time.

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Spoonman671

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#17  Edited By Spoonman671

@the_shiniest_meat_bicycle: I'm thinking Fallout 3 might be an ok starting point for him. Though the plot isn't great, Fallout has a great sci-fi universe, so he'll probably be into it.

Even though it is a 3D dual-stick kind of game it provides the option to swap between first- and third-person on the fly, and a different perspective may help his control issues. Also, the VATS system's auto-targeting will alleviate a lot of pressure in combat situations.

The game's difficulty is highly adjustable, and can be changed at any time. If he finds himself in a difficult situation that he simply cannot deal with, he can just go into the menu and make the game more manageable for himself.

Bethesda's games are very mod-friendly, and have a huge selection of mods. I imagine there are plug-ins out there that can be used to customize his experience to better suit his gaming fluency. You may need to install these for him.

Another plus side to this is that it would be a good way to ease him into FPS controls, meaning it may condition him for playing more action-oriented games like Borderlands, which you seem to be into. You may be able to play games together that way.

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Belegorm

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What about skyrim? It's not that mechanically intense, just block, swing the sword, block, shout. It's fantasy and you said he likes fantasy and it's this big alternate world to explore which for me was always a big reason why I started gaming.

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@spoonman671: Thanks, I'll maybe try this, though I have Fallout New Vegas but not Fallout 3. I didn't play Fallout 3 but I think the gameplay is the same.

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@belegorm: I may try this a bit later because I think it's too difficult to start with and you still have to manage the camera, so not really good for beginners.

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PimblyCharles

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Maybe you should play an adventure game or even one of the recent Telltale games with him? They are much easier to pick up than a FPS for newcomers. Getting used to a controller can be difficult for people that have no experience with them.

Telltale's The Walking Dead, on console, was easy enough for my uncle and aunt (who are in their late 50s now) to learn how to play, and they enjoyed it a lot for their 1st video game.

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LawGamer

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#22  Edited By LawGamer

Also how about L.A. Noir? It doesn't have a difficult gameplay and no pressure most of the time.

I would second this. The times I've tried to get my parents into video games, the stumbling block was always learning the controls, specifically the controller layout itself. As a gamer, using a controller is second nature to me. When a tutorial tells me to "press A to jump," I don't really need to think about where the "A" button is because I already know.

What I discovered when trying to get my parents to game is that using a controller is actually something they find really abstract and they have difficulty internalizing the layout. This leads to a lot of looking at the controller when they are told to do something, which in a lot of games ends up with them failing because they can't find the proper button in time. This, combined with a lot of controller terminology (also second nature to gamers), like trigger vs. bumper or d-pad vs. analog leads to a lot of confusion and frustration. Therefore, a good starter game needs to be one that can acclimatize your dad to using the controller in a way that won't frustrate him.

The advantage L.A. Noire has in that regard is that that time pressure doesn't exist in most cases. If your dad is investigating a crime scene, he can look at the controller to find the button correct button prompt and not worry about failing a level if it takes him a while. This allows him to learn and internalize the controller layout so when he plays another game, he isn't as overwhelmed by the pace at which he needs to find the proper button.

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Tyrrael

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#23  Edited By Tyrrael

I actually convinced my dad to play Goldeneye for the N64 a while back, and it was a very similar situation. He was extremely bad and couldn't seem to use the analog stick and his right hand at the same time. I actually was screwing around a few times and let him get a bunch of kills on me, so he wouldn't get too frustrated, but it didn't work. He didn't like it, and to this day, I've never been able to get him to play another game of any genre.

I highly recommend not starting him out on too many twitch games (action/shooter), because it doesn't sound like he's dexterous enough to be able to play most of them, at least not yet. He'll probably just get frustrated. However, there are some that he could still play though that may be just the ticket. I would recommend Torchlight or Torchlight 2. You can get Torchlight on PC or Xbox 360, but Torchlight 2 is only on PC. They will allow him to get used to using both hands, and there shouldn't be too much fear of him getting frustrated. Just turn the difficulty all the way down, and there shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Like some other people mentioned, you could try to get him playing something that he's interested in in real life. I recommend Pool Nation, which you can get for PC or 360, if he's even moderately interested in pool. Again, you will be using all the buttons on the controller relatively frequently if you go with the 360 version, so it will help him get used to the layout. It also shouldn't be too frustrating (usually), since, aside from a couple game modes, it is a very methodical, slower paced game.

If all else fails, you could just let him try a huge list of different games of different genres. If it's a longer game that takes a while to get started, like an RPG, maybe start from a save a little later in. Then you could show him how the game works to see if he's interested (a lot of RPGs start very slow), and he could start with the basics at the beginning if he seems to like it.

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koolaid

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How about castle crashers? Not too hard to play and you can play it together?

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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@lawgamer: Okay, so I'll try to let him play L.A. Noir! I hope he will get used to the controls and remember where is every button and then I'll let him play assassin's creed so he doesn't have to struggle with the camera and to learn to reach for the right buttons during fights, etc and then portal to learn how to use the right camera stick without pressure.

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StarvingGamer

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I'd just like to mention that the two parts of LA Noire that I remember most because they frustrated the crap it of me were the foot chase that ended in a hostage situation that have you a split second to shoot the crook and the part when you have to vault over and under a series of obstacles trying to escape a bulldozer or something. The game has a lot of quiet, calm moments, but your dad will still be subjected to flurries of action with the additional challenge of fighting against sub-par controls.

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Corevi

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#27  Edited By Corevi
@starvinggamer said:

I'd just like to mention that the two parts of LA Noire that I remember most because they frustrated the crap it of me were the foot chase that ended in a hostage situation that have you a split second to shoot the crook and the part when you have to vault over and under a series of obstacles trying to escape a bulldozer or something. The game has a lot of quiet, calm moments, but your dad will still be subjected to flurries of action with the additional challenge of fighting against sub-par controls.

I remember the car chases being pretty frustrating as well as someone who is always awful at driving in games.

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Hamst3r

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My parents are way into PixelJunk Monsters. It didn't take very long for them to get really good at using the PS3 and XBOX 360 controllers with that game.

It's 2D and single screen, so there's no scrolling or 3D movement to contend with, just making your dude run around and placing towers. So, it might be a good intro into gaming for your dad too.

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#29 FinalDasa  Moderator

Small stuff is probably best. Puzzle games without time limits or constraints. My parents always had trouble finding specific buttons when they needed to and operating both sticks at the same time.

Also some indie games that make homage to older games might be a decent option. Something they may remember playing or having put their hands on so they aren't learning all new controls.

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frymillstrum

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I remember trying to play Resistance Fall of Man with my step dad once. He kept calling it "Fall of a Man" and couldn't orientate himself very well and just couldn't figure out the natural path forward despite the game being designed with walls and invisible grass walls that guided your path, something obvious to a semi experienced gamer. Older people just tend to struggle with first person controls, especially if they're not used to them, they don't have the dexterity of something. Try a different genre.

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HockeyJohnston

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  1. No RPGs/story games
  2. Look for something 'gamey', where the mechanics are clear and the difficulty ramps up gently
  3. All old people love Civilization.
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bgmnts

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Learning to use dual analogs is basically all you need and that comes with practice. It becomes natural.

Everything else is different per game.

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RonGalaxy

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#33  Edited By RonGalaxy

I'm going to tell you right now that if your dad is anything like my mom he's not gonna be able to play LA noire. Tried to get her to play it once and she couldn't even understand how to make the character walk right. My personal recommendation would be to start off with a simple platformer like soundshapes. I would work my way up to 3d games because non-gamers have a really hard time working the camera and the character movement plus further interaction. It's all about baby steps. any game that has fixed camera angles would probably be a good start because that's the hardest obstacle for them to overcome.

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The_Shiniest_Meat_Bicycle

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I just tried L.A. Noire with him and it was okay. He has some problems remembering the buttons, pushing 2 buttons at the same time, he is kinda bad at driving and gets disoriented sometimes but for a complete beginner it was okay. I think with some practice he can get good at it.

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SpoogeMcduck

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Jealous, I remember playing Madden NFL '98 with my dad, was always fun. Whenever I see commercials for Madden games now it makes me sad missing him. :'(

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uhtaree

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Teach me how to vidja.

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Oscar__Explosion

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Castle Crashers

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Rigas

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Either something co-op or something he is interested in in real life. A sport or something.

alternatively Super Mario World.

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MrCalm

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Teach dad to pla video games?

Just think about what he likes and show him a game related to that.

If he's not intrested, he's not intrested. Gaming isn't neccesarily fun for everyone^^ (Hence why they're not playing^^)

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Big_Denim

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Side scroller. That will get him comfortable with the face buttons.

Then get into dual stick shooters. Those are hectic and will beef up his reflexes as well as his need to learn to use both sticks.

After that, give him something a little slower paced but still requires some sort of aiming (The Last of Us maybe)?

From there, it's just a matter of jumping in and trying out other things.

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skadave

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I would suggest Proteus. My young daughter played it on the vita and it was an easy way to introduce first person game play. There are no enemies, no weapons, just walking in an environment.