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Simon writes:

Lots of good ideas here but it is important to remember we're all into games and have our favourite types. Let me just slow things down for you a little bit.

It sounded like you want a thinking man's game. There are lots of those and most games do require some thought and are not just button mashing. That being said you need to determine if you want to think with all the time in the world or think with a time limit, or even barely think relying on your reaction time and fast-twitch muscles.

I agree completely. We more hard-core gamer types have to remember that the games we play and love are actually quite difficult and sometime frustrating for a novice. I've had some small luck getting non-gamers interested and playing games so I'll share my experiences.

My mother, a few years back, had to "upgrade" from the DOS text world to the wonderful world of Windows. She had problems using the mouse; the dexterity just wasn't there. I know my mother pretty well and figured she would get more comfortable with the mouse if she was challenged by something to use it more often. Enter ... Freecell! Microsoft bundles this little card game with Windows (might be an optional install, though). Last time I went home I saw that my mother had played 1000's of games of Freecell.

She eventually got a more desk job, from teaching, and had time at work to explore Yahoo! Games (at ) and tore into some time-wasters there. Most games there are free and there are card games, logic games, puzzles, word games, and even "twitch" games that require fast hands. These are all small games but are still fun.

I play games so much that I bought a color Visor just for the Palm games. I carry this everywhere with me. When I started dating a girl who lived out in Brooklyn I would play games on the Palm as I rode the train for an hour each way when I went out to meet her. When riding together, I would give her the Palm to play with and she took to playing some of my games. It has gotten so routine that when we ride a train together I just pull my Palm from my pocket and hand it to her without a word. This still makes her smile.

Now my girlfriend has progressed to playing games on her computer and she expects me to find her new games. More amusing, to me, is that I went home for a visit and my mother found out about using my Palm for games and she immediately wanted one. My father bought her one and I set it up for her. She sometimes uses it for appointments and notes, too. :)

I guess I mean to say that if you are completely new to computer games don't buy a thing. Fun, clever, and addictive games can be had for free. Even better, you can always get "demos" for free of these games that will let you play long enough to get addicted and then charge you a small amount (one time purchase) to continue.

Everyone has their favorite kinds of games. You have to find your favorites. I mean, you have not even played Tetris yet and we are trying to get you to play Starcraft. The real question for you is why do you want to play?

While you are pondering that here are some gaming suggestions:

Clever puzzle game:

Half puzzle half "twitch":

Tetris clones (falling piece fit-the-piece game):
Lots of variety:

This board's own LongHook writes games:

There are "bigger" games out there with flashier graphics and stories, too. Everything from Civilization (turn-based explore, build and conquer) games to America's Army (on-line only, multi-player, team-based, first person shooter) fits here. However, the bigger games take more time, money, and computer to play but are sometimes worth it.

The best way to start might be to figure out your non-gaming hobbies and see if there are games that fit those hobbies. Like golf, then check out Tiger Woods computer games (a co-worker just got the latest and I might try it out). History buff, then war-games might be an interesting diversion. I'm sure if you told this board your interests, someone will find a great game to play based on just that.

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