What games would a noob buy?

Test subject B: Lucy

The first and last time Lucy ventured into a game shop was to buy a DS for her mum. They didn't have any in stock, so she's never actually enjoyed the thrill of a software-based transaction. Suffice to say she admits to knowing "not a lot" about games. However, she recently had a go on Wii Sports, an experience she describes as being "OK" and "different". Besides that, her only other brush with games is Live Arcade puzzler, Hex. She played it for 10 minutes before losing interest.

The purchase

Despite not knowing what to go for, Lucy was certain that she didn't want anything violent. So that narrowed it down somewhat. After having a bewildering browse through racks of games that meant absolutely nothing to her, Homer's lovable face clinched the deal and Lucy eventually opted for The Simpsons Game on Xbox 360. "It was really hard trying to pick something. I watch The Simpsons on TV, so thought I'd give it a go."

Obvious conclusion

Imagine you're in a cave on a distant planet. On one side of the cave is an extra-terrestrial creature eyeing you with malicious intent as it fiddles conspiratorially with a sinister-looking probe device. On the other side is an affable-faced chap with some cold beers and a spare deckchair. Unless you're some kind of masochistic mental case, it's pretty obvious who you're going to hang out with.

And that's probably almost exactly how a newbie's brain operates when calculating what to buy in a game store. When uncomfortably alienated, it's human nature to latch on to anything that feels safe and familiar. Long-serving faith in a brand - in this case The Simpsons - transcends itself as an instant affinity with the licensed game. Lucky for Lucy, it's actually an enjoyable excursion with everyone's favourite American family, although it's a crying shame that all the gaming parodies it contains would go unappreciated.

Of course, sage gamers know better than to trust the affable-faced chap with the cold beers and spare deckchair. Nine times out of ten he turns out to be a complete asshole.