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Non-Gamer's Guide to Buying Video Games

Updated on December 31, 2011

The Guide for Non-Gamers Purchasing Video Games

If you are like many people when you think of what to buy a gamer for a gift one of your first thoughts is to buy them a video game. So you wander you way on over to the video game store and just walk on in thinking that this is going to be easy. Buying a video game isn't so easy if you want a good video game.

It's once you walk in that you see the walls of every kind of game imaginable for many, different gaming systems. A little overwhemling isn't it? So you were smart and retreated and called up your closest ally Google for help. Well, luckily for you, Google was a nice neough guy to lead you here after you search for what video games to buy.

And so now I will teach you how to go about picking out the perfect game for that amazing gamer in your life.

The Very Basics

Before we can go over anything else we need to teach your about different gaming platforms.

A gaming platform is the hardware that the game is run on. The majority of gamers play on standardized gaming platforms that are called consoles. The rest of the gaming market is made of up PC gamers who play games on desktop computers and laptops.

The console gaming market is dominated by three large companies. These companies are Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. The main form of gaming that these companies push are consoles meant to be played on a TV but both Nintendo and Sony produce handheld machines as well.

At the time this hub is written the major consoles are as follows. The Playstation 3 which is also abbreviated PS3 is made by Sony. Nintendo is making the Wii as well as the Nintendo DS and the 3DS. Microsoft currently only produces the Xbox 360 which is frequently abbreviated X360.

What You Need to do Next

So now we know what the major platforms are. What we need to do now is to figure out which ones your gamer plays on. Go a head and go take a peep around your living room or even your child's room.

Once you have figured out what platform he or she games on you can go on to the next section. Make sure you write this down you don't want to forget this information later.

Figuring Out What Games Your Gamer Likes

Now we have figured out what platforms we can buys games for but now we still have to figure out which games to buy. This can be tricky to the uninitiated as there are many different types of games.

First I will going over the different genres of video games and then I will explain a couple different major points videos games and differ on. Afterwards you will go check what games are in your gamer's collection and figure what to buy him or her.

Action Adventure Games

Action adventure games are fast past action oriented games that also feature a strong storyline and sets of puzzles that need to be solved. This genre also includes elements of role-playing games in inventory management and skill upgrades.

The puzzle solving activities in action adventure games tends to be based around objects in the environment and manipulating them to get through things such as doors. One class example of this type of puzzle solving is the Tomb Raider series.

This is one of the most popular genre's of games and includes many great examples such as The Legend of Zelda or the even popular Grand Theft Auto series.

Role-Playing Games

Role-paying games are another popular category of video games. These games typically have some type of leveling or character skill system. They are strong in story as well as building up your character.

Role-playing games can have either a turn-based or real-time combat system. Combat frequently comes down to hidden dice roles but certain RPGs restrict dice roles only to deciding how much damage is done and rely on the player's own skill to land hits.

The games can also varry in whether or not they force the player into a class or allow him to develope his character through a skill point system. The majority of popular role-playing games use a hybrid system of the two.

Shooting Games

Shooting games are another very popular category and it is also very broad. A shooting game can range from classic top down shooter like Space Invaders to a first person shooter like the popular Call of Duty series.

Today the most popular type of shooters is the first person shooter which places the view point so that it appears as if you are viewing the game through the characters eyes. Halo is another popular first person shooter.

Third person shooters are also popular. These games place the view point over the shoulders of the game character. A popular third person shooter series is the Gears of War series.

The objectives of shooting games can vary widely from game to game but usually you have to shoot many enemies with guns in order to achieve them.

Platforming Games

This genre right here is filled with many amazing classics. Some of the most well known game series are platforming games. This includes games such as Mario and Donkey Kong.

In platforming games you typically navigate an environment to get to hard to reach objects by jumping in between platforms and solving puzzles. More modern platforming games have gotten a lot more complicated since the first Mario games. Many other genres also include elements of platforming in it now as well.

More modern entries to the series include Prince of Persia, Jak 'n' Daxter, and De Blob. Each game was set in a fully 3d word in the 3rd person view point and all of them had combat and thier own unique twists. De Blob stands out the most as you play as a paint blob fighting against ink blobs to keep color in the world and liberate an oppressed nation.

Simulation Games

Simulation Games aren't nearly as popular of a genre as they used to be but the game still pull in good sales. The point of a simulation game is to simulate the experience of you being something that you are not. Simulation games back be about people like The Sims or it can be about managing businesses and cities like Roller Coaster Tycoon or Sim City. There are even flight simulation games.

While there aren't as many simulation games released any more the class series of the genre are still running strong and new modern simulation games come out some times too such as Tropico.

Strategy Games

Strategy Games are another great genre of video games. They are based arround using strategy and tactics to beat an AI or human oppenent. Strategy games frequently are about war but some are also about economics and nation building.

A classic example of strategy games is Age of Empires which was one of the first strategy games. Another classic example is Civilization which also was one of the first big strategy games.

You can get many hours of enjoyment out of strategy games as the can be played multiple times.

Racing Games

Racing games don't need much explaining. The play races with other AI and human oponents to reach a goal. Sometimes they race on foot other times they race in some type of a vehicle.

Examples of popular racing games are everywhere. One of the mos iconic racing games is Mario Kart which added combat elements into the genre by allowing players to fire off power ups at each other. For those whole enjoy more realistic racing games there is always the Gran Turismo series.

Racing games are great for all games and it is easy to find a couple good ones on any gaming platform. Mario Kart is a pretty safe bet for those with a Wii.

Deciding What Games to Buy

So now we have a basic understanding of the different types of games and we know what platforms we can buy games for. Next we just need to figure out which games to buy.

After we discover which games your gamer already has we can go on to deciding which types of games he or she likes best and pick one (or more) out. So what you need to do now is go look through your gamer's game collection and then read onto the next section.

What to Consider

So now we know what games your gamer has.

Think about them. What genres did they include? Keep track of all the different genres he or she has but also remember how many of which genres he or she has because the more a gamer like a certain genre the more games he or she will have in it.

When you have decided which genres you are looking for you also need to figure out a setting. When you go through the games take notes of what the game is set in, Is it a pirate game? Is it a Sci-FI game? Is it a fantasy game?

Try to notice which settings and themes your gamer seems to prefer over others.

Once you have a good idea of what your gamer likes it's time to take up this knowledge and go to the store.

Going to the Store

When deciding which store you are going to go to for selecting your game it's best to look for a store that specializes in video games. The employees at these stores are usually more up to date on the latest in video game knowledge. One of the biggest game store chains is GameStop.

Most stores have thier games divided up by which system they are made for. Go to you platform's section and look through the games try and find sequels to games that you gamer already has or games that are similar. Look for newer releases of new game series that are along the lines of what you gamer likes there is nothing more exiting as a gamer than finding out about a new game series that you haven't played before and is really good.

Last but not least don't be afraid to ask the employees for help. If you go to a game store you should be able to describe what games you gamer likes to the employee as well as name some of the games that you gamer owns and the employee should help you select a good title.

If you liked this hub.


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    • Gatti profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback I hope it helped you pick out a game.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Gatti: What a clear, interesting, useful explanation of buying video games when one is clueless about them! It is helpful and logical the way in which you take the readers through the clearly defined steps in the process, from checking the platform to identifying the game preferences of the intended gift receiver to shopping at specialty stores.

      Thank you for sharing, voted up, etc.,



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