A few days ago I watched one of my mostly non-gaming friends play several of my games. I call him a non gamer, as I don’t think Flight Simulator or Farmville are what I’d call games. He played UNO, BioShock and Kingdom of Keflings with mixed results.
UNO: This was actually the most pleasant game to watch him play. He didn’t fully know the rules of UNO, but picked them up within a minute and came close to winning a few times.
BioShock: Watching him play BioShock was downright infuriating. The random movement of looking up and down almost made me dizzy and every enemy took about ten to twenty bullets to be killed on easy difficulty. Not to mention great quotes like the one in the title of this post referring to a security bot or the following referring to a female splicer:
Friend: Why isn’t it dying?
Me: ‘Cause you’re not hitting it.
Kingdom of Keflings: By all means KoK is a very easy game to pick up for non-gamers. The tutorial covers most of the things needed to progress and the overall gameplay is mostly stress free. There were a couple of issues there to do with finding a tool necessary to harvest crystals. The main annoyance for me in watching him, however, was that he made so many errors, or rather, that he missed things, like extra Keflings or didn’t manage them meaningful.
I’ve never really enjoyed watching other people play games though, with the exception of watching my housemate at the time play Condemned on the PC and we both got scared the entire time through.
Watching my friend play some games made me think about gaming in general and how it is and will be a niche for quite some time longer. It’s been seven years that I got into gaming and since then have played games a lot and I seem to have forgotten how difficult gaming can be for those that don’t regularly do it. By no means am I perfect at games or the best game player, but I could pretty much pick up every game and play it. My aim is more or less steady and I can figure out objectives based on previous experiences with games of which I undoubtedly have a lot.
I’ve mentioned before that gamers have should an obligation to educate non-gamers on the content of games, but now I think that needs to be extended to the actual gameplaying, too.
My mission for the next few months is to convert one of my friends into a gamer! Wish me luck!