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Thinking Thursday: Introducing Someone To Gaming

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By: Stephen Crane

What do you do when someone you know, are close with, what have you wants to start to learn how to start playing video games? Assume with me, if you will, that this person is pretty much a 'normal' person and isn't at all ingratiated into the nerd culture or video game culture as a whole. Crazy to imagine, no? They want to learn how to play real games like Call of Duty or Team Fortress 2. How do you introduce them? (Photo: Courtesy Flickr user scragz)

It's not as easy as it sounds, really. Most of us who regularly play these games weren't simply handed a controller. There was a certain ease of introduction involved. Certainly I would have been turned off if the first time I ever played a game I was called anywhere from a "n00b" to a "fag" because I was simply still learning the buttons. Also spawn-kills get frustrating for even an experienced gamer. It might be unbearable for someone just starting. There really is a sort of responsibility when it comes to making sure friends enjoy their first experiences with gaming. If you're the one leading them through a game, it's kind of a bad idea to just throw your friend to the wolves. Assuming they are your friend, that is.

Here are some good tips to introducing someone to the wonderful gaming world.

Keep the game relevant – Introducing your friend to Pac Man just feels insulting. Keep it a decently recent release so that any online play isn't completely filled with the 1337. If it's a game that most people are still playing, you have a better chance of playing with the middle of the pack.

Single Player First – Sure, your friend may not care about the story too much but the in-game tutorial section as well as the practical experience of learning the buttons and how to react to in-game tense situations will definitely help prepare them for eventual online play.

Turn voice chat off – Some of us already have it off. Let's be honest, in-game chat for most games can pretty much be summed up in a series of slurs, arguments, and virtual dick-measuring. If you don't have a thick skin going into it, you'll be torn to shreds.

Bring in other friends – If you can bring in some people you know to decrease the shock value, that will help. Making it a group experience will help show that the internet dickwad theory may apply, but cool people do exist.

Understand – Try to understand that even under normal circumstances, video gaming can be frustrating for those who haven't been playing for years, and even sometimes for those who have. You have spawn kills, glitches, death streaks and a plethora of things that can get annoying. Give them time and don't be afraid to move on to something else if the frustration level is rising. Perhaps a calm game of Sorry!?

So go ahead, be a pal and ease that friend into gaming! These simple rules should help build a basis for creating the next gamer! Plus it might get you some favor with the gods of gaming!

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.