Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – The Ace Attorney games don’t require quick reflexes, and the only thing you have to do is point and click. If you’re looking to get someone hooked on what video games have to offer, the Ace Attorney series tells a wonderful story with lovely characters to get attached to.
Zero Escape – I often tout the Zero Escape series as a trilogy of games that tell a story which can’t be told through any medium. If you’ve got a friend who’d be into engaging stories and challenging locked room puzzles, the Zero Escape games will be perfect as a rite of passage.
Rocket League – If you aren’t exactly familiar with how gamepads or PC controls work, Rocket League is a pretty relaxed and easygoing game to help you get acquainted with them. Featuring fun car soccer gameplay, you can play splitscreen co-op or versus with a friend, and have fun while learning the ins and outs of a controller at the same time.
Uncharted – Everyone has to start somewhere. If you’ve never played a third-person shooter, the Uncharted series seems like the best place to start. Putting the game on easy mode will allow beginners to get used to shooting controls on a gamepad, while experiencing a fun Indiana Jones-like adventure with Nate and the rest of the cast.
Overwatch – Similar to Uncharted, this year’s Overwatch is a good introductory game for anyone who’s never played a first-person shooter. The great thing about Overwatch is that you don’t necessarily have to jump straight into game with twitch reflexes. Playing a support/healer character will allow you to get used to the first-person view, all while helping your teammates push the payload.
LEGO Games – The LEGO games are humorous, and best played with a friend via splitscreen co-op. Along with a comedic twist on some of your favorite franchises, the LEGO games also promote cooperative gameplay, and will serve as an enjoyable experience for newcomers.
Persona 4 Golden – P4G might be a pretty tough JRPG even on normal difficulty, but dialing down the difficulty level will make it manageable for newcomers looking to get a taste of the RPG genre. Complete with a long, engaging story, and a huge cast of characters you can interact with, Persona 4 Golden is an accessible JRPG that will quickly get you hooked.
Undertale – Undertale is another great example of a video game that tells a story that can’t be delivered through any other medium. It’s kid-friendly (if you don’t read too much into it), it’s cheap and accessible, and tells one of the most heartwarming stories we got to see in 2015. Also, bullet-hell gameplay can be pretty fun too.
Heavy Rain – This is pretty much the perfect game for anyone who wishes to familiarize themselves with the face buttons of a gamepad. Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain is basically a 10 hour-long QTE fest where you make decisions, push buttons quickly, all while trying to figure out who the killer is in a tense murder mystery. Also, awkward sex is always funny.
Until Dawn – Just like Heavy Rain, Until Dawn’s gameplay also mostly consists of QTEs. However, this is an interactive horror movie where you get to decide who lives and who dies. All of your actions and decisions have consequences, and Until Dawn is one of the most enjoyable games that beginners will be able to get into easily.
Diablo III – Diablo III might look a little ‘hardcore’ to newcomers, whatever that word means. But it’s no problem at all if you’re playing this with a friend. The controls are fairly simple, and the game is also a good introduction to the looter-type gameplay that’s become rather prevalent in this day and age. Newcomers will quickly find themselves enthralled by the prospect of finding new and better gear every 20 minutes.
Stardew Valley – Looking for something more laid back as your first ever video game? Stardew Valley might be the one you’re looking for. You’ll take control of a simple youngster looking to restore their grandfather’s farm. Don’t let the farm work fool you; Stardew Valley features a lot of character interaction, and even some RPG combat elements.
Professor Layton – Professor Layton is a very lovely gentleman who loves sipping tea, so I’m sure he’ll be the perfect host to welcome you to the world of video games. In all seriousness, the Professor Layton games all have charming presentation, and they tell intriguing mystery stories while challenging you with light brainteasers along the way.
Final Fantasy X – If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss about the Final Fantasy series is about, Final Fantasy X is probably the most accessible entry for newcomers. It’s available on the PS3, PS4, and Vita, and the turn-based combat doesn’t feel as intense and rushed as the ATB systems of the other games. It also features some of the best music in the series, as well as a great story for newcomers to get into.
Pokemon – It’s an oldie but a goodie. The Pokemon games are incredibly simple, but they’re so good at hooking in newcomers with the prospect of “catching ’em all” and “becoming the very best.” If you want to start off with a small game, the Pokemon series is a great choice that you can take with you on the go.
Bonus: Dark Souls – Just kidding.