Top Six: Games You Shouldn’t Play Around Non-Gamers

As a lifetime gamer, I’ve come to accept certain facts about our pastime. The most difficult one to swallow, though, is the undeniable truth that gaming is very, very strange. Sure, we may not see it that way, but have you ever been playing a game and had your parents or a sibling walk into your room, pull a disgusted face and walk out? It may be because you were covered in Cheetos dust and Mountain Dew stains, but the greater probability is that they saw something on the TV screen that they just couldn’t comprehend. Well, to help you along with your family, I’ve assembled a handy list of games you should never play around non-gamers:

6. God of War III

god of warI recently came into possession of a PlayStation 3, so I’ve had my first opportunity to try out the God of War series. Since the third title in the franchise had just come out, I thought I would pop that in my PS and give it a go. I had heard things about God of War in the past, and let me tell you, for those of you who still have not played a GoW game: they are all true. I mean, this is one of the best looking game’s I’ve ever seen, but you would not want your grandmother walking in on you while you’re ripping Helios’ head off or “visiting” Aphrodite. Explaining how you can “get Red orbs” from this is not an acceptable excuse for giving Grammy a heart attack.


5. Mass Effect 2

mass effect 2It can’t be understated: Mass Effect is awesome. The writing, the art direction, the universe, it’s all fantastic. The best part of the series, though, is the immersion that the game gives you with its conversation system. But, while we may enjoy chatting up the various denizens of the Mass Effect universe, you can guarantee that your football-throwing older brother would find something weird about making kissy faces at Miranda, or Liara, or, god forbid, Garrus or Thane. Oh yeah, and you might want to wait until you have some privacy to talk to Jack down in her cargo hold. Something about her rubs everyone the wrong way. Probably the swearing. Actually, the cavalier attitude towards sex and violence might do it.


4. Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Without a Headset

ghostMillions of people are still playing this game, and good percentage of them don’t have any control over their tongues. Various epithets and racial slurs spill out of the mouths of twelve year olds and immature thirty year olds like so many kill streaks from a lucky grenade. If you have a headset, or the presence of mind to mute the voice chat, you’re good. If you have neglected either one of these things, be prepared for the inevitable grilling from any passerby who doesn’t understand that X-Box LIVE is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Oh, and don’t try to moderate the argument between the kid and the old guy. That never ends well.


3. Metal Gear Solid

raidenDon’t get me wrong, here. I really like the Metal Gear Solid series. I mean, I do a mean Snake impression that can only come with hours of listening to David Hayter’s gravelly delivery. The thing is, Metal Gear Solid is very Japanese in its presentation, and that means that there are certain things that people who haven’t grown up with a controller in their hands might not be able to accept. Sure, we can all appreciate Eva’s unzipped flight suit in Metal Gear 3, but we could do without it in 4. Raiden running around naked? Vamp licking knives covered in blood? Young Ocelot and his dramatic gestures and exclamations? Strange stuff if you’re not expecting it.


2. Final Fantasy XIII

final fantasy xiiiOK, so Metal Gear might be a little over the top, but its saving grace is its bad-ass stealth and Western-inspired design. Final Fantasy XIII, though, is all Japanese all the way. The game has your typical cast of JRPG characters from the androgynous protagonist to the kooky side-kick, and it is way too colorful to boot. While these may sound like strange complaints to gamers, who have be inundated with muted color palettes and stocky block-of-meat characters since the beginning of this generation, non-gamers just look at Final Fantasy and see a children’s cartoon. No matter how well the localization is done, the voice actors for the English version always manage to give a cheesy performance. And the plot! If that’s indecipherable to gamers from the outset, imagine what someone else would hear! Gibberish, that’s what!


1. Pokemon

pokemon Is this really a surprise for the first spot? Sure, Pokemon was acceptable back when it came out, but most of us were in our pre-teens or younger. Now that we’re all grown up, obsessing over Pikachu’s stats carries a strange social stigma. Pokemon is a fun little RPG and you can’t deny that raising your creatures from level five to their final evolution is a rewarding experience, but you can’t whip that DS out in public. Like my dad once said: “Nobody cares that flights are long and boring, you’re not bringing your blasted Game-Station on the plane! You read a Dan Brown novel like an adult, dammit!”

There you have it, folks. Just avoid the scenarios outlined above, and you should be well on your way to earning you place at the adult’s table for holiday dinners. Any games I missed? Do you guys have any stories to share that involve similar circumstances?

Written by Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Mister_L Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: PUBG, Rainbow 6: Siege, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Total War: Warhammer 2

11 thoughts on “Top Six: Games You Shouldn’t Play Around Non-Gamers”

  1. Nice list here! Great write-up.

    As a married man, I can totally attest to half of these. Anytime my wife hears me playing a multiplayer game without a headset, she is appalled by what goes on. In addition, she has made plenty of fun of me for the romantic sidequests in Bioware games, and the nonsensical dialogue/plot of early FF13.

    However, I will say that the best two games I’ve ever played in front of non-gamers have been Uncharted 2 and the original MGS. Kept a few people riveted for hours with those.

  2. Nice list, I laughed so hard when I saw MW2, which I refuse to play if I don’t have a headset. Gears of War can also be awkward when someone walks in and sees you chainsawing through a lizard-human. Or stomping their face in. Or blowing their head off. The list goes on.

  3. Wow! You really hit the nail on every single item, especially the number one.

    I still have to hide my Soul Silver from my roommate, lest I feel the wrath of “GROW-UP-DAMMIT”amon.

  4. I have to disagree with you on ME2 and MGS4 as I have experienced those to be some of the best spectator games out there – especially since for people who are not familiar with games.
    The action, cutscenes and intense narrative grips non-gamers like as if it were an interactive film.
    Oftentimes my dad, who used to game with me on the ol’ N64, will take up a seat next to the PC as I’m playing and give conversation advice, tactical suggestions, and other comments that vary in usefulness – plus I’ve found that his involvement scales down the ‘You’re wasting your time!” argument at least ten-fold because he can understand why I get so into these games.

  5. Great list man. However, I think you forgot about one of the most controversial games out there. GTA. Nothing raises ones eyebrow like running over civilians on a Fagio bike. Or randomly gunning people down. Or the best one ever, picking up hookers in a Semi Truck. What’s funny, is all of my family members actually get a hoot out of GTA…Even the ditzy chicks from the high school days thought GTA was funny.

  6. 6) Same goes for the GEARS of War series. Well, everything minus Aphrodite. Actually no, the Locust Queen = Aphrodite. Aw yeeah. Nightmare fetish. Okay, I’m grossed out.

    5) Well, ME2 is like Star Wars, but with a tad less notoriety. In fact, non-gamers might be weirded out by games as immersive as ME2 simply because gamers get so involved with the characters and story, even though “it’s just a video game.”

    4) Hahahaha, it’s funny because it’s so God-forsakenly true. I’d say Xbox LIVE is the Most Underrated Crime Against Humanity.

    3 & 2) Since both MEDDULL GHEEYAAAR and FFMCLXXVIII are Japanese, you have to take in account that people are a
    astranged by them being games AND Japanese. The Japanese flavor in games is an acquired taste to put it lightly. The dialogue style, the plot flow, and mannerisms and personalities are all so ineffably Japanese. I can’t really explain what makes Japanese games and movies so quirky, but it’s a mix of ridiculousness as the norm and overacting which makes for rather awkward animation and dialogue and plot flow.

    1) lol Dan Brown blows. I’d rather be seen with a DS than with a crappy conformity-profiting waste of tree matter. For the most part, Pokemon’s quirkiness is because its Japanese, but since Pokemon is its own self-contained subculture and phenomenon, it certainly warrants its own mention. People are so mystified why gamers are engrossed in their virtual pets. I never thought of them as pets though, they were my children. lol Actually, games to me were never an odd and childish pastime, but rather an interactive art that involved the player and, sometimes, engaged them intelligently or emotionally interestingly. As for Pokemon, I still play it because it’s a unique RPG in terms of its sheer scale. It had 150 Pokemon with a great sense of customization in terms of Moves and Party setup. As opposed to 6 characters with their own skill sets, you could have a team of the same creature with slightly altered moves, or a team of different, specialized creatures. There’s a lot of strategy and customization that many people lose beneath the veil of cutesiness.

  7. EDIT

    3 & 2) …take in account that people are a bit astranged…

    I forgot ‘bit’ and accidently enter’d.

  8. I’m going to have to disagree with MGS and God of War on the premise that they are some of the most “movie-like” games ever. I think games to avoid playing around people that don’t game are the ones that have no story and no interesting visuals.

    I’m not a console gamer and really don’t like beat-em-ups, but I just watched a friend play GoWIII for 3 hours and didn’t budge. Beautiful game, with horrible voice acting (on Kratos at least, I understand it’s supposed to be epic, but yuck)

    Great idea though!

  9. It’s hard to play Viewtiful Joe 2 in front of non-gamers, because of the cheesy cutscenes and cel-shading. They look at me like I’m 10 or something.

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