PC gaming covers many genres, making it hard for novice PC gamers to find out what particular genres they like. Most people will draw on real-world experience and interests to predetermine their tastes, but it can be argued that limiting the choices in such a manner can cause players to miss out on what’s available elsewhere.
Regardless of the genre, it’s fair to assume there will be a smattering of games which show the genre in a good light, and similarly in a not-so-good light, and newcomers to a genre might be unfortunate enough to discover their introductory title falls into the latter category. This can have the effect of alienating the player away from that genre, just as they might have been hooked if they had played a different title which better portrayed the genre.
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to tell whether or not you will like a particular game or genre just by looking at the boxes in the store, so it’s an idea to do a little research into the game, the genre, or both. By all means, work from personal experience and interests if it will help, but remember that these experiences could be applicable to several genres. For example, if you enjoy driving, it’s likely you’ll be attracted to driving games; but its also an idea to bear in mind that many other genres feature driving as part of their own games; first-person shooters, for example often give the player a chance to commandeer a range of vehicles throughout the game, which are necessary to success.
The World Wide Web is a great place to start when researching potential games or genres to dabble in. Visit any of the numerous games enthusiasts’ websites and read other players’ reviews of the games you are considering; perhaps download a playable demo or buy a trade magazine - many of which feature games reviews and playable demos on giveaway cover CDs, so you can try before you buy. Bear in mind, however, that many playable demos might be based on earlier releases of the games so might not contain the full range of features of the retail version. However, they should give you a decent feel for the game and what to expect should you choose to pursue the title further.
If you’re still not sure, visit a gamer forum and ask for recommendations. You’re sure to receive many suggestions from other PC gamers about games to try - and avoid. But above all, don’t be put off by your first-experience of a particular genre - if you’re first-person shooter turns out to be second rate, or if your driving game crashes and burns, don’t despair as there are many other games to try before you form a concrete opinion of a particular genre and decide whether or not its for you.