It would be easy to believe that all gamers can be simply defined by a set of stereotypical characteristics; I'd be lying if I said I didn't know my fair share of overweight, introverted, twenty-somethings who would be more interested in spending their weekend finishing a second "Light Side" run through Knights of the Old Republic than tanning on the beach, for example.
I, for one, fit into the category above. But I can also tell you that I prefer to play games with a friend or two, rather than spending my time alone. Social gaming can be totally enjoyable, especially if you can convince your non-gaming friends to participate. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that you'll be able to quickly teach your girlfriend, for example, to hero rush in Warcraft III or corner properly Gran Turismo.
But all hope is not yet lost! We've compiled a list of the Top 10 Gateway Games of the moment; we use the term "gateway games" to refer to currently available titles that appeal to not only casual and hardcore gamers, but also to those unfamiliar with videogaming. In addition, these games are usually quite easy to pick up and play and remain addictive. Using the list of games below, you should have little problem convincing your friends - casual- and non-gamers alike - that spending some time in front of the television can be a blast. The goal, of course, is to help create a few hardcore gamers along the way. Let's work together to spread social gaming to the masses. Got a friend you want to make a gamer? Here's all you'll need to begin:
10. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)
While Nintendo's latest Mario Kart title received conflicting reviews from the press when it was released last year, its multiplayer component is better than ever. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! allows for two-person, cooperative play during the game's traditionally single-player modes. The first player is tasked with driving the kart, while his/her companion is responsible for firing weapons and initiating the ever-important power slide. The gunner can also utilize a new side dash maneuver to take out nearby competitors. Additionally, Mario Kart's other multiplayer modes can be just as entertaining, especially for larger groups. And if you happen to have multiple televisions and GameCubes handy, check out the LAN play.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is an excellent title for those unfamiliar with games as it uses a simple control scheme, features pleasant graphics, and includes courses that are well-suited to beginners. It's a perfect lure for girlfriends and younger gamers… but remember to utilize that co-op mode. When you finally grab that gold cup she'll be impressed that you did it together. And with any luck, you'll both be having a blast!
Fargo Sez: What is it about Mario games that seems to bring out the carnal beast in all of us? Double Dash is a great mainstream hit for non-gamers because it's easy to play and has simple graphics. "Oh look, it's a cute game with mushrooms and flowers. I can play that." But then, within ten minutes, you're howling with red-faced rage at the [censored] who tossed a [censored] banana peel at you. Shortly thereafter, the suplexing starts.