Whenever I reveal to someone that I play video games I cringe a bit in self-defence until I know how they’ll respond. Video games, of all sorts, have sort of become associated with teen guys and have received a rather juvenile connotation as a result. And while it is probably true that teen/university guys make up the largest segment of the gamer community, I don’t think it’s fair to write games off as being for them only. I know a number of writers I follow on Twitter are gamers; when a hotly anticipated release comes out, for a few days there’re lots of tweets about the new game. And most of the people tweeting are women my age.
When it boils right down to it, many video games are simply a story, just like a book or a movie, with the difference that they’re interactive. Instead of sitting back and passively consuming the story, you have an active hand in executing it, or even shaping it in the case of some more recent games. It’s still a story; you just consume it differently.
This is what attracts me to video games: the story. I’m not that interested in racing games or sports games or others that have a weak or nonexistent story. But there are some truly excellent story-based games out there. I’m only familiar with the ones for the Xbox 360, the console system we own, but every platform has a great selection available. Some of my favourites for both their story and gameplay have been: the Mass Effect series, the Assassin’s Creed series, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Bioshock, Oblivion, Fable, the Portal series, Beyond Good & Evil, Indigo Prophecy, Mirror’s Edge, Dreamfall, Psychonauts… among others.
Some libraries and video/game stores will rent consoles fairly inexpensively. If you’ve never tried video games before, I’d definitely recommend giving it a spin. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the controls if it’s your first time, but once you’ve got a handle on that I think you’ll have fun.