Top 10 games to turn your mother into a hardened gamer
Flowers are boring, just get her some games
There's nothing better than the feeling that comes from rambling on about a video game to someone who actually then tries it, loves it, then reports back. Sadly, that person is seldom your mum, and I think that needs to change.
So maybe you've left mother's day a little late this year and have now found yourself in a bit of a frenzied panic. Yes, flowers – the easy way out – are likely to go down well, and that pants Queen movie is probably out on DVD by now, but you could do better… You could buy your mum some video games.
And so here's a list of the best games to both convert your mother into a hardened gamer and get yourself out of a last-minute visit to the florist.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Let's start out nice and easy with a game that I reckon anyone can enjoy. Pocket Camp's controls couldn't be simpler, and its cutesy look is almost universally appealing.
Plus, assuming your mum hasn't touched a video game since the 80s, it'll act as training for things like taking on quests, navigating game menus, and chatting with NPCs. And remember that it's all about baby steps; "git gudding" your mum is grounds for a grounding.
Kicking things up a notch now, my second pick is the delightfully life-consuming Stardew Valley.
The main reason I've gone for this one, besides it being a great game, is because of the new multiplayer update. Now, you can easily hop into your mum's world to show her the ropes and help out whenever it's necessary to do so.
Though if you're way too cool to play with your mum, most of the skills she learned in Pocket Camp will transfer over nicely, so you might be safe to just leave her to it. Honestly, it's all just so charming and moreish – the perfect gateway drug to…
Ok, so I know you're thinking "by heck, that's a bit of a difficulty spike right there, Cameron; my mum's just about sussed out how to refill her watering can and now you're making her climb a ghost-infested, spike-filled, no-hope hellhole of a mountain."
And, yes, you'd be kinda right, Celeste is well known for being a soul-destroying platforming nightmare, but what you're forgetting is the game's excellent assist mode.
Mum die one too many times on that hotel level? Reckon she's about ready to fold your Switch in half with her bare hands? Not to worry, just stick on the invincibility mode for 5 minutes and watch as mother dearest's inner Hulk recedes right in front of your eyes.
Now anyone – your terrifying mum included – can have an absolute blast taking in the sights and being haunted by yet another ghostly manifestation of a video game character's mental health issues.
Whether it be Broadchurch, Bodyguard, or Midsomer Murders, mums love a good mystery. And my next pick, the twisty Her Story, offers that whodunit goodness in spades.
This one borrows the found footage premise first established in 2008 Best-Picture-winner Coopers' Camera, then presumably mixes in something else.
You take on the role of [REDACTED] as they attempt to piece together what exactly happened to a missing man. You go about doing this by examining and reassembling old police interview footage featuring a mysterious young lady.
After the initial confusion of what to do with all these files, videos, and passwords has worn off, I reckon everything is laid out straightforwardly enough for your mum to have a decent crack at being Cracker.
And despite the game's interesting premise being somewhat hurt by the eventual twists, there's something moreish – and occasionally serene – about sifting through and sorting hours of grainy, well-acted video footage.
If she's been left a bit drained after all that sleuthing, started wearing ill-fitting suits, and often smells vaguely of cheap whiskey, now's the time to pull out Florence.
This one sees you playing through the titular character's first romantic relationship, all the way from the meet-cute to, well, you'll see.
Hopeful, sweet, and smart in the ways that it enhances its narrative themes through its developing mechanics, this one is the perfect cure for a rainy day.
Some might say that it's a bittersweet story, but I can assure you it's a whole lot cheerier than my next pick.
Little Red Lie
This is the one to go for if you're just not a very big fan of your mum. Again, its gameplay is incredibly straightforward – notice how I'm avoiding anything that requires navigation of a 3D space – and it's all over in a few short hours.
Mums hate lying, and they'll surely hate having to do it so much in this very pointed, angry little game.
Sure, it's brilliant in the way that it slowly builds to its moral challenges, and it's easily one of the best narrative-driven games on mobile, but, yeah, don't say I didn't warn you.
Monument Valley 2
Quite honestly, I don't remember too much about this one's story. I reckon, thematically, it's partly about a mother/child relationship, and so that's a good enough reason for me to include it on this here list.
What I do remember about Monument Valley 2 are all the ingenious ways in which it enhances its predecessor's mind-bending gameplay. The perspective puzzles are playful, inventive, and surprisingly accessible to tackle.
It's like that one cool bit in Inception without the terrible everything else.
Your mum has likely already mastered the art of jumping in video games, but can she fall real good? Downwell is somewhat unique as a platformer in that it doesn’t feature a jump button. Instead, your character is stuck in what is perhaps the longest fall in video game history.
Sure, you can stop for a breather every so often, but you'll always be drawn back to that seemingly bottomless pit.
Once again, the controls are simple: firing bullets from your feet slows you down, while walls and enemies can be bounced off with ease. It's certainly one of the hardest games I've listed, but it's still not a patch on my penultimate pick.
By this point, your mum will have hopefully stormed through the preceding entries in record time. Now, however, a new challenger arrives in the form of a dreaded soulslike.
It might not be the toughest take on the genre around, but Grimvalor is still no pushover. It's another 2D game (don't worry, still no camera controls) where you explore a murky fantasy world while taking on a series of horrific creatures.
Dear old mum certainly has her work cut out for her, and she's going to have to draw upon all of her limited gaming experiences in order to win the day. For sure, it's going to be emotionally draining in the extreme, but she's come too far to give up now.
Support her through it all and you'll be greeted on the other side by my final pick…
Three Fourths Home
Ok, so this one is the ultimate risk in that it's liable to make your mum question why you don't call as often as you should.
The basic premise is that you're driving back home alone during a particularly nasty storm while talking on the phone to the various members of your family.
As the hour-long game unfolds, and you continue driving into a literal and metaphorical storm, it becomes clear that this might be your last chance to speak with your loved ones, find out who they really are, and air your grievances with – and love for – them.
Maybe it'll inspire a nice, wholesome chat about all sorts of personal stuff. Then again, perhaps it'll ruin her mother's day and her newfound passion for video games with it.
And with that, your mum is now a hardened gamer. Congratulations to you both, and I do hope you're still on speaking terms.