Say the word gamer and most people will imagine a teenage boy playing alone in his bedroom. Of course, many of us know that this age-old stereotype is well and truly dead and believe it or not, a large portion of gamers are made up of women. Female gamers are on the rise and in the UK this report by the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment showed that almost half (42% to be exact) of the gamers in the UK are women. This shift is in large thanks to the rise of the smartphone, which has made games available to a much wider audience than dedicated consoles or PCs thanks to the fact that games are generally free, easily accessible, and require little learning time. But what’s a gal to do once you’ve moved on from the likes of Candy Crush and Angry Birds and are looking for something a little more challenging? If you’ve graduated from the world of smartphone games and want to start exploring console and PC gaming there are loads of games for beginners to enjoy. Whether you want to start gaming alone, with the man in your life, or your kids here are 5 console and PC game titles to kick off your collection.

1. LEGO CITY Undercover

Play it with: all by yourself, with your kids, with your man.
Play it on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
Launching: 7 April, 2017.

With a newly added two-player cooperative mode that will allow friends and family to fight crime in LEGO CITY together for the first time, LEGO CITY Undercover is a great entry-level game for those who want to play with their kids, friends, or partner. I’m a big fan of the previous LEGO games and one of the biggest draw cards for me when it comes to the games in this series is that they allow you to play with everyone from beginners to more seasoned gamers without feeling like you’re a complete newb. LEGO CITY Undercover allows fans and newcomers of all ages to explore the sprawling metropolis that is LEGO CITY with more than 20 unique districts to investigate, filled with car thieves to bust, vehicles to navigate, mischievous aliens to capture, hilarious movie references to discover, lost pigs to rescue and of course, hundreds of collectibles. Featuring witty, original storytelling with signature LEGO humour, this open-world LEGO adventure creates a fun-filled experience that players, and their partners in crime fighting, won’t want to miss.

2. Overcooked

Play it with: with your man, with friends.
Play it on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
Launching: Out now.

This Cooperative party game is all about multi-tasking and at times has you feeling more like a juggler in a restaurant setting than an actual chef. Across an ever-changing series of kitchens, up to four chefs must prepare meals by performing simple tasks (like chopping vegetables, cooking meat, and washing dishes) all in an effort to prepare and serve as many complete dishes as possible within a strict time limit. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; this game is stressful but it’s the kind of stress that will leave you chomping at the bit for more. I’ve just finished playing Overcooked with the boyfriend and what a ride it was. I was hooked on this game and did my level best not to show the boyfriend just how hooked I was for fear he would cut me off. When it was all over, and we’d finally beaten the ravenous spaghetti monster I looked at my gaming buddy like a kid who had just dropped her lollipop in the sand, distraught that it was finished and there were no more levels to play. Luckily one quick search of the Playstation store revealed that there is an expansion pack for the game (the Lost Morsel) and even a few free to download Christmas-themed levels (the Festive Seasoning). Overcooked works best when played with friends and is an excellent game to tackle with a partner who is a more seasoned gamer.

3. LittleBigPlanet 3

Play it with: all by yourself, with your kids, with your man, with friends.
Play it on: PS4, PS3.
Launching: Out now.

The third instalment in this popular game for adults and kids alike allows us to go on another fun-filled adventure as Sackboy as he takes on the baddies hell-bent on destroying the balance of Craftworld. As with the previous games, the characters in this new addition are endearing and adorable and the gameplay allows up to four players to participate in each level. While you don’t need to have played the previous versions of this game to pick up a controller and play Little Big Planet 3 it must be said that the game will require a little bit of gaming know-how or for you to play along with a friend who isn’t new to the gaming world. While solo play in this game is great it’s a whole lot more fun when playing with a friend or three.

4. Yooka-Laylee

Play it with: all by yourself, with your kids, with your man.
Play it on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
Launching: 11 April 2017.

This highly anticipated platform game is currently being praised for how easy it is to play. Within minutes of picking up a controller, you’ll have a good understanding of the concept of the game and from there you can enjoy hours of gameplay by yourself or with a friend. Playing as Yooka and Laylee – a chameleon and bat respectively – it’s up to you to retrieve a magic book’s pages that have been stolen by a very large and menacing bee who is clearly up to no good. Packed with quirky and colourful levels and a wide selection of side quests, Yooka-Laylee is gearing up to be a popular game for seasoned gamers looking for a generous dose of 90s gaming nostalgia as well as new gamers who are still venturing into the world of platform games. This is a great game to enjoy with your kids or along with a friend.

5. Crash Bandicoot Remastered, N. Sane Trilogy

Play it with: all by yourself, with your kids, with your man.
Play it on: PS4.
Launching: 30 June 2017.

There’s a reason Crash Bandicoot was such a popular series. The colourful platformers were a hit with younger players when they were first released but now, with the return of PlayStation’s original mascot, new, older players could find themselves sucked in as well. If you missed out when the games were originally released, this is the time to get your hands on all three of these PlayStation platformers in one neat package. The N. Sane Trilogy includes the first three games in the franchise: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped and sees the addition of new gameplay and features. Features for the updated versions include a unified checkpoint and save system (including manual and auto-saving), as well as a unified menu system. There will also time trials available for each game. If you’re new to the Crash Bandicoot series you’ll instantly fall in love with the animations and the cartoon-like environment which appeals to both kids and adults. While the game can be challenging at times it’s a must-try for newbie gamers who are looking for something a little more challenging to play on their own, with their kids, or their partner.

Love gaming? Look out for more great gaming content on WomenStuff in the coming weeks! In the mean time check out our gadget section for tech reviews, news, and more.