The 10 Best Wii Games to Play with Non-Gamers

Games Even Non-Gamers Can't Resist

Many gamers have an irresistible desire to introduce their non-gamer friends to the joy of playing video games. No console is better suited for this than the Wii, which was designed to appeal to people who don’t like game controllers.

It can be tricky for a gamer to figure out what’s going to appeal to a non-gamer, so here are my choices for games that have a better than average chance of entrancing that girlfriend/boyfriend/mom/dad/secret-crush into the world of video games. You might have to try a few games to find the one they like, but if one of these doesn’t do the trick, give up.

Wii Sports Resort
You can put so much spin on a ping pong ball that it arcs like a Frisbee. Nintendo

With an activity for every taste, simple controls and smooth, MotionPlus controls that lessen the frustrations found in other Wii games, Resort is one of the easiest games to pull people into. Have a friend who likes ping pong? Play the table tennis mini-game. Know a bowling fan? Show them Wii bowling. This is the best game for people who tried to play one PS2 game years ago and got flummoxed by all the triggers and buttons.

Just Dance 2
A new duet mode allows you to interact with a partner. Ubisoft

The Just Dance series is hugely popular with the non-gamer crowd, although many gamers have issues with the game. Since you’re just holding the Wii remote while mimicking the moves of an onscreen dancer, the game is perfect for people who just don’t understand how to work game controllers. On the other hand, any friends who don’t want to make fools of themselves by dancing in the living room and will refuse to play this one.

Beatles Rock Band
The Beatles in their trippy years. Electronic Arts

Recently I was talking to a friend who was looking for suggestions for games he could use to draw his girlfriend into gaming. When I suggested Rock Band, he said, “no, I don’t want to her to get too much into gaming.” I understood his point. Even people who have zero interest in video games can become obsessive about the Rock Band games, whose appeal extends for beyond conventional gamers. Of course, you can choose a different Rock Band title (You could also try a Guitar Hero game, although I’ve had issues with those on the Wii), but the Beatles one is my personal favorite. If your friend is a musician you might want to try Rock Band 3 instead.

Skylanders Screen Shot
Skylanders is one of the prettiest games on the Wii. Activision

I hadn’t actually planned to play Skylanders with my non-gamer girlfriend, but when she saw the cute little toy monsters on the Portal of Power she said she wanted to play. She was absolutely thrilled with the game, because it was so simple and easy to play that she didn’t feel the frustration that other video games had given her in the long-ago past. She also though the creatures were adorable.

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Fortune Street

Fortune Street
Fortune Street lets you drive Mario into bankruptcy. Nintendo

One way to pull in non-gamers is to give them something that’s not too video game-y, which makes virtual board games like Fortune Street a good choice. Of course, if your friend doesn’t like board games this would be a terrible choice, but if you know someone who likes Monopoly, this would be a really good bet.

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Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2

Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3

The DDR series has been around a lot longer than the Wii, and it’s probably one of the first video game series likely to arouse the curiosity of non-gamers. They may or may not actually like it, but once they see the dance pad they’ll at least want to try it. (The DDR games are all about the same, I’m listing Hottest Party 2 only because it’s the one I've posted a review of.)

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Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore 2

Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore 2

I don’t really care much for karaoke, but it certainly fits into the category of games that don’t make players use a game controller. If you have a friend who likes to sing, hand her the microphone and see what happens. I don’t think Encore 2 is an especially good game, but it’s the only karaoke game I’ve reviewed for the Wii, and I liked it better than Karaoke Revolution Glee, so it’s the one I’m suggesting. But any karaoke game is likely to be fine.

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Let's Tap

In terms of games for people afraid of game controllers, you can’t do better than this one, since you never actually touch the remote; you just tap a box the remote sits on top of.

Mario Kart Wii

I’m not sure of this one. Yes, you can put the Wii remote in a steering wheel peripheral so it’s just like steering a car, which lowers the learning curve, but it’s still a very game-y game that could well confuse those who haven’t tried video games before. But it’s one of the best kart racing games ever made and I’d say it’s worth a shot.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Besides individual fights, the latest Lego game offers simple real time strategy warfare. LucasArts

Is this a good choice? I would have thought so; it’s a simple, forgiving kids game with cute, funny animation. But my friend who was trying to get his girlfriend interested in video games said that when they played a Lego game she kept falling off ledges and thought the game was too violent even though it’s nothing more than Lego toys breaking into pieces. In spite of anecdotal evidence that it’s not an ideal choice, I’m still putting it in this list because I’m convinced it’s a good game to try out on non-gamers, particularly Star Wars fans.