Around 3 billion people play video games. But if you’re not already in on the fun, the barrier to entry can be daunting. New consoles cost hundreds of dollars, not to mention the price of individual games, which can go as high as $70 each.
Thankfully, you can get started on many games for free or for a few dollars on devices you may already own. So if you crave some entertainment for when you’re on the move, want to relive childhood Mario or Zelda memories, or loved HBO’s The Last of Us and want to play the series it was based on, here are some tips to get you started.
Games for your phone
Best for: Casual gamers on-the-go.
Cost: Free to a few dollars.
Classics like Hearts and Solitaire have graced phones for decades. But if you like card games, consider the mobile app Marvel Snap and its dramatic matches that last mere minutes. You’ll aim to conquer locations from Central Park to Atlantis with a personalized deck of superhero and villain cards.
Like most games on the Android and iOS stores, Marvel Snap comes free — with a catch. It’ll initially shower you with new cards but also entice you to spend real money to expand your collection. This “freemium” model dominates mobile gaming especially, along with market-tested psychological tricks to keep you hooked.
However, there’s one game subscription you may already have. Netflix has been broadening its gaming catalog with prestigious titles like the live-action mystery Immortality and the indie adventure Oxenfree II. Just open the Netflix app and hit the “Games” section at the bottom of the screen to download them on your phone.
Level up: More mobile games
Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass offer hundreds of titles for $5/month or $30/year, including: excellent puzzle games like Mini Metro, the monarchical dilemma simulator Reigns: Her Majesty, and Escheresque delight Monument Valley and its sequel.
Streaming games to computers, tablets and TVs
Best for: Those with 5G or Fiber internet who want to try big-screen titles for cheap.
Cost: Anywhere from $5 per month to $15 per month or more, depending on the service and tier.
Popular franchises you’ve likely heard of — Mario Kart, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto — tend to be designed for bigger screens and controllers.
Warner Bros. Games
Take LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, for example. It’s great for families and has a little of everything: podracing, space battles, lightsaber duels and more. Yet its graphics are demanding enough to require a