How to Get Your Non-Gaming Bestie Into Video Games

When you're obsessed with video games and your BFF isn't, it can be tough to find that perfect player two.

Whether they say they're not interested because they're "bad at video games," they find them boring or they think gaming is way too stressful, it's always worth a shot to find them their perfect game.

2 girls playing video games with each other

(via Shutterstock)

In the process, you can help them discover the joy you get from video games, and you get a new buddy to join you on your adventures. It's a win-win! Here are some quick, simple steps to get your bestie into gaming:

1. First, make it a stress-free experience. Avoid frantic first-person shooters, puzzles with imposing time limits, platformers where touching baddies or falling in holes is instant death and life simulations where there's too much to balance at once.

2. Simple, yet beautiful games are a good entry level for anyone. Have them try Animal Crossing (a game where you make friends and improve a town with your animal neighbors), Journey (in which you play a mysterious robed character who travels across a gorgeously sprawling desert) or Abzû (a soothing game about diving through the ocean and interacting with the animals who live in it). These games don't require any previous knowledge of gaming and there's no way to fail.

Abzu swimming game screenshot

(via Giant Squid)

3. You know your best friend better than anyone, so find a game that caters to their interests. Look at their favorite TV shows and movies and find them a game that fits within the same genre, see if there's a video game adaptation of a series they love, and show them games with characters they'll empathize with and cherish seeing.

4. This is less about them and more about you, but if you're going to have them play something on an ongoing basis, be sure to pick a game that gives you the option of multiple save files. Pokémon is a great game to start, but remember that you'll have to overwrite your own save of the game to let them play (and that starting your own game will delete their progress).

Pokémon Sun and Moon: Picking Rowlet

(via Game Freak)

5. Take a peek at your friend's phone to see which apps they have installed. Chances are there's a mobile game among them. If they love Candy Crush, they might enjoy a more elaborate puzzle game. Clash of Clans fans might be interested in more robust RPGs. If they like Angry Birds, they should try a tower defense game, and Diner Dash players might be captivated by a game like Overcooked. And, of course, Pokémon Go is the perfect testing ground for an actual Pokémon RPG adventure.

6. Play together, but be sure to pick something cooperative, not competitive. Games like Portal 2Rayman Legends and the new Snipperclips game for the Nintendo Switch will require you to to use your heads and communicate effectively to reach the goal. If they're wary of gaming, a collaborative mode also takes some of the pressure off their own performance. These games will also make your bond stronger than ever.

Snipperclips Cut It Out Together screenshot

(via SFB Games)

7. If they're not super comfortable with gaming, avoid competitive fighting games at all costs. If they don't know what they're doing and you're going easy on them to give them a shot at actually winning, neither of you will have any fun.

8. Talk to your friend and figure out what games they might be interested in. Even if they might be a little bit outside of their abilities as a beginner, encourage them to play it and offer to take over when things get tough. If you play the whole game taking turns like this, it can boost their skills and give them the sense of accomplishment that comes with beating a whole game.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild screenshot

(via Nintendo)

9. Pay attention to how your friend responds to each game. When they're playing on their own, they may want you there watching to lend your advice or point them in the right direction. On the other hand, they may get super stressed out by your watching their every move. Everyone's different—and they may feel differently about different games, or even different areas within the same game—so give them space when they need it, but be there for them, too.

10. Don't force anything. If they're clearly uncomfortable or not having fun, try something else. Let them dictate what they enjoy and what they don't, and let that inspire the next game you put on for them. Maybe nothing will resonate with them, and that's okay, too, as long as you tried.

11. Last, but not least, always play it cool. Be patient, warm and supportive, but also authentic. If they're terrible at the game, don't rub it in their face, but don't be fake. Being patronizing can be just as bad. If they're struggling, give them a helpful nudge in the right direction, and when they're kicking butt, the right amount of encouragement will go a long way.


Inspired by awesome gamer girls? Click HERE to read our interview with IGN gamer guru Naomi Kyle.