Boredom: Start Playing Video Games Now [How to]
Adulting Can Be Hard (You are bored, otherwise you wouldn’t be here)
The scenario: you experienced the Covid-19 pandemic and those days of kids at home are far over. Boredom set in and you’ve become complacent about getting out and about. In fact, you are now a homebody. Yay! Let’s play some games!
“Seasoned” Video Gamers (Mature video game players)
Sharing the love of video games usually falls on deaf ears when it comes to my own age group. I’m talking about gamers who probably don’t have kids running around and have a little more disposable income to invest in console gaming gear. This blog ignores computer gaming (ie., a computer that downloads or allows you to install games and use keyboards or fancy joysticks to play) because when you work with computers all day, every day, the thought of spending more time sitting at a keyboard isn’t exactly relaxing. Not that all video games are relaxing but your brain and imagination are flexing stale muscles! I’m speaking to those older gamers who may or may not have played classic titles but would like an imaginative outlet! (Note: If you do play these games on a computer, that’s great, but not everyone has the technical know-how to maintain updated configurations and that’s why I suggest consoles.)
Easy Consoles (Mature video game players don’t have a lot of time to fix things!)
I’ve had a Sony Playstation since 1996 and today I have the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro. I got the PlayStation because my son had the Xbox. This strategy, along with a family penchant for home computers, meant that we had access to all game titles over the years. Today though, the Sony PlayStation Pro allows me to play remotely from my computer should I have the need for more customized control. I believe the new mature gamer is looking for a relaxing and imaginative outlet. I’m talking to the audience who may want an imaginative outlet and wants to exercise memory, hand/eye coordination, the feeling of accomplishment, and an instant community of other gamers.
But you can’t just grab any game off the shelf, not as a new gamer. Or even if you played video games years ago, I will suggest these top 5 and give scores for factors that I think will help you choose the best one. Here I will discuss why each of my top 5 games could be suitable for your new adventures in gaming–and why.
The Why (Mature video game players need a reason to play!)
Before we get into the details though, toss all the notions you have about video games. Video games (all games) allow anyone to solve problems. Immediately. You can’t say that about any job you’ve ever had. Learning to solve problems with video games is even its own scholarly pursuit. Jane McGonigal and Mark J. P. Wolf have made the study of video games their lives. Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., is a New York Times Bestselling author of Reality is Broken – Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. She is also the Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research group in Palo Alto, California. She’s researched and had great success with her TedTalks on the same subject. Professor Mark J. P. Wolf has been researching and writing about the nature of video games in the communications field and is widely published. His studies further the ideas of how adventure games engage our imaginations much more than games that rely on hand-eye coordination or simple puzzle problems. Think of adventure games like a list of fiction books, but yet, allow you to shape the story. Instead of reading about and only being a witness to the story – BE the story! Okay, enough background, let’s get back to games.
Which Console Should I Get?
A console system allows you to sit back and not worry about updates, upgrades, and peripherals you aren’t sure will work on your computer. The Sony Playstation comes with everything you need except for the television. You don’t even need extra sound, but it’s nice to have it. You can wear headphones (Bluetooth or plugged into the handheld controller) or you can let your television provide sound. Everything I say here works exactly the same (pretty much) with an Xbox so:
I only have one rule about which console to purchase: What do your family and friends have? Get that one. You’ll thank me for that later.
Rating the Games for Mature Players
My top 5 list is focused on the core group of older, even elder, potential players. This group has less patience, less history with technology (or more), and may not have the hand-eye coordination of a 12-year-old. You have to at least be able to view the details on the screen, hold the controller comfortably in your hand, and be able to smash/push/punch buttons on it (you don’t have to be fast and you don’t have to have everything figured out the moment you start!). There are accessibility systems that will allow all players to engage as well!
There are blind video game players, so don’t ever limit your ability for fun and imagination! Every game has a controller help screen that tells you which buttons do what and at the start of many games you are given gentle guidance to help you understand movement. More on that later, but remember that you don’t have to know anything to start except to follow the instructions on how to connect the system and push the power button. No reading instruction manuals!
What Type of Television Should I Have?
Your television should be HDMI and the perfect size for your viewing location (or disability). You can get an ultra HD television if that’s what you want but you can also still play console games connected to LCD televisions. The key is being able to see some detail (or see the accessibility link). For those of us with sight issues: If you can’t read closed captioning, you aren’t close enough, or the TV isn’t large enough. In video games, I always turn on closed captioning so that I don’t miss any details. Newer video games include captions for sounds (hearing not necessary but can be nice). Some settings screens or character screens might have text that is smaller and you will need to be able to be close enough to see those items. Sit in a comfortable spot with your arms resting on your thighs. Don’t lean forward and hold your arms up pointed at the screen, that’s for marketing photos. Relax comfortably even recline somewhat if you can. The Ikea Poang chair is perfect for video games because of its slight recline and footstool to prop feet up! It’s also easy to move around the room so that you can test different distances. The key components to the perfect television are your ability to read details and that you are in a relaxed position.
Critical Feature of Games
The most important feature of the games I recommend: you can adjust the player settings to easy or story mode in each one! That means you can choose your level of difficulty (easy!) when you start playing any of my recommended games. The 5-star game system works like this:
- 5-stars = Player can set the level of difficulty (or sometimes referred to as story mode), menus are intuitive, you can create your own character, and you can play the game how you want versus following an exact sequence.
- 4-stars = Player sets the level of difficulty, menus are fairly intuitive, you pick from a set of characters, and you should normally follow a sequence but can also enjoy variances.
- 3-stars = Player sets the level of difficulty, menus have some complexity, you pick from a set of characters, and you follow a sequence. But lets face it; only four and five star games today!
- 2-stars = we don’t suggest anything less than 3! You’d never play again!
The Top Five The Games
5-Stars: Skyrim is number one for a reason. Shirley Curry. Shirley is an octogenarian living in Virginia with a penchant for conquering all of Skyrim many times over with more imagination than a school bus full of teenagers. Just visit her YouTube Channel to see how much she loves Skyrim. She has a legion of fans both young and old and entertains all who watch her play. While she plays on a computer, she has the benefit of a son who is able to take care of any technical issues that come up and she has a long history with PC games so she’s very well suited to it. She’s played many other games; Skyrim is her go-to because she makes her own stories!
On any given day there are over 10,000 players concurrently enjoying the adventures in Skyrim so Shirley is not alone in her love for this game. Most owners of Skyrim average over 110 hours of play. With 10-20 million owners, I’d say that’s a lot of imagination!
For me, Skyrim was a world adventure that was both exciting and beautiful. I had the ability to create any type of character or gender I wanted and as usual, I got to shoot as many arrows as I pleased. The key is, that Skyrim will allow you lots of exploration and surprise versus following one track and forced to finish one goal. Sure, there is one grand quest, but getting sidetracked by building your own house is also fun. There are many quests in Skyrim that can help you gain levels and you could follow the main quest line as well. Perhaps you don’t live in a place where you can see snow, mountains, aurora borealis, and other natural beauties, but you can with Skyrim. Some of the visual effects can be quite stunning. I’ll never be able to explore the depths of seemingly endless caverns or climb the highest peaks, but in Skyrim I sure did!
Forget complicated components, skill trees, or weapon and armor creation (although you can do some metal clanking and hammering!). Those are all nice enough for advanced players and should you venture into them, great! Maybe you just grab something and hack and slash your way through until you start getting the hang of how the mechanics work. Set the game difficulty level to story so that you don’t get frustrated with dying too soon, too often, and later you can bump it up if you start enjoying a few arrows to the knee. At the very beginning of the game, pay particular attention to what the characters are saying to you and guiding you. If you are completely new to video games, the beginning introduction might be a little off-putting, just follow the character as he helps you. I’ll see you in about a year. Don’t forget to go outside (literally) once in a while.
Mature video game players will find Skyrim a win!
5-stars: One day, my son suggested this title. I only took one look at the cover and said “No”, flatly. It looked like one of those games where you picture 13-year-old boys at all hours of the night surrounded by empty Coke cans and boxes of Twizzlers while they are killing every last thing in sight. Good thing I tried a demo because otherwise, I would have missed out on this truly exceptional title! It taught me that game cover designs were for marketing and not gamers who appreciated storylines.
Fallout 4 also let me create a male or female character and make the decision whether I was going to take a thoughtful approach to the game or just start shooting. As the game progressed and I got involved with choosing sides, I realized that even a wasteland can be home. Near the end of gameplay, I was more excited about building a modern home out of cement and metal than I was ending the game. There are many YouTube videos that show you to what extent some gamers went to in order to build incredibly complex locations but I settled for a challenge: see how many non-playable characters (NPCs) I could attract to the location by adding a different mix of objects. By the time I was finished, these NPCs (game characters that are computer-controlled) were stumbling over one another or waiting their turn trying to get at a bowling alley I built out of trash. True story!
Mature video game players will find Fallout cheeky and fun!
Far Cry 5
5-stars: Far Cry 5 plays on some contemporary themes and quite frankly has fairly incredible music. You get to shoot guns, go hunting (only if you want), fishing, help people, plan and strategize your approach to taking back locations, drive big rigs and boats, fly helicopters and planes, go swimming, skydive, do some rock climbing, own a panther and bear, drive scenic routes, blow up things (only if you want), and fix everything wrong with the world. How could you resist? Don’t you want to save people? The graphics are great, you can set the game to easy and enjoy the story as you progress at a leisurely pace – go ahead, go fishing!
Mature video game players may find some of the content a tad graphic and harsh but if you don’t get won over by the music tracks you will enjoy driving big rigs!
Red Dead Redemption II
4-stars: I never thought being forced to be a male cowboy in a game would make me cry. I wanted to be a cowgirl! That is the only reason this gets 4 stars – the crying part? Totally five stars! The world of Red Dead Redemption is one of the most entertaining sixty bucks I ever spent! The landscape and ability to follow a general and dramatic story but also be allowed to venture off the beaten path were incredible. During one particular point in the game I was moved to tears and so the story really resonated with me due to the character development built in. There is some artificial intelligence gradually building the character as you make certain choices in the game and sometimes even quick choices are required. Sure, shooting up in the air while riding a horse is cute; but how you treat other people in the game is just as important as being nice to animals. You must play this game!
4:stars: This is the last for a reason. This series is actually 4 games all totaled, but the best ones are 1, 2, and 3. Should the Mass Effect Trilogy (1-3) become available for PS4, you should definitely get it (it is but I do not suggest the final one). Or just start with 1 and see if you are looking for more and I’ll bet you will. It’s an awesome story that allows you to create yourself (male or female) and travel the galaxy. Non-binary? Sure! Having a blue alien girlfriend- how’s that for an imaginative space game! You will be Commander Shepard no matter what type of character you create. Both male and female voicings were created so you still have control over those. I love science fiction and the idea of piloting a spaceship through the galaxy to save the universe and instantly captivated my imagination. In these successive games, you are also given the opportunity to develop relationships with the characters as the game progresses. Each game offers a new adventure and I think 2 was my favorite but I got to solve many problems and help other worlds achieve their goals. I would consider the difficulty of these games a little more advanced although choosing weapons can be tedious–just pick the hardest-hitting ones. Enjoy driving the space buggy around on planets!! Another game called No Mans Sky would give you an incredibly rich space exploration experience but offers no character development.
Mature video game players will find the Mass Effect trilogy 1, 2 and 3 very enjoyable if they love science fiction and space exploration fun!
Where To Get Your Video Games
The easiest way to embark on this journey is to find a Sony Playstation 4 or 5, create a user profile in the Sony Playstation Store, and download the games you want to play. These five are a great start – don’t be fooled by the Sony store – you don’t need any of the extras such as the Plus or the silly things Sony wants to you to buy. Just get the games and embark on your problem-solving!