We’ve all been stuck indoors for a long time now. Personally I’ve taken the covid-regulations very seriously. Maybe too serious from time to time. I just do well with order and rules, and less so with chaos. If there are clear rules, I’m going to follow them. Especially if they also make sense to me. Wearing masks, not leaving the house more than necessary and keeping your distance are all very reasonable things to do when other people might have a deadly disease. This has led to me being at home a lot more than normal. I haven’t even seen my university, or a group of my friends since early 2020. I still remember the week before schools closed down in the Netherlands. I was feeling a bit worried and decided to take the week off, just to be safe. I had some classmates tell me it was stupid to not go to school because of this strange disease, and maybe they were right. I just didn’t feel like going into a crowded train that led to a crowded Amsterdam metro and straight into a very crowded campus. In hindsight it probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference, since cases were still very low at that point, but I don’t regret it. So with an unreasonable amount of time on my hands and no real outdoors activities to fill the time, I had to fill up the space with video games. Let’s have a look at 5 video games that managed to get me through this pandemic.
- Animal Crossing
I never played the previous Animal Crossing installments. I didn’t even really know what the game entailed until I bought it. I just knew that all of my friends were going to buy and play the game, and I had a Nintendo Switch already, so I figured why not? What followed was an adorable gameplay loop that definitely didn’t reek of capitalism at all. I had a lot of fun building up my island and getting different villagers. I kind of stopped playing after a while though, and I’ve been thinking of picking it up again. I should decorate my island some more, and maybe even get some of my friends to play again. If you like an adorable game with one of the most relaxing soundtracks there is then I recommend you give this one a go.
- Among Us
Now I didn’t really enjoy playing Among Us that much. It’s a very stressful game and although I’ve played a bit with friends and this was definitely fun, I always felt like I had to take a shower afterwards because of how much I sweat when I’m stressed.
Among Us was definitely a craze for a while. It was kind of fun to see my students at my teaching internship play the same games as I did. Makes you seem like the cool teacher while you’re actually just a nerd that plays video games way too much. Luckily most of my students weren’t crazy hyperactive about Among Us, so it mostly made for some good pictionary prompts. And as an English teacher I like to motivate my students to do more in English, and some of them played in random lobbies with people who didn’t speak Dutch, so good on them for that!
Minecraft has to be one of my favorite games of all time. I’ve put more hours into this game than I can count. I remember playing the Tekkit mod back in the day before most big mod packs were even a thing. Earlier this year some friends of mine set up a vanilla server, so I played quite a bit of minecraft. I am bad at finishing build projects in this game though, so I ended up building about half a wizard tower. I used to love playing this game, but I feel like nowadays it comes and goes in waves. Luckily there was another game that has been keeping me sane throughout all of this:
- Apex Legends
I’ve played Apex Legends on and off ever since it was first launched. I started a little bit later than the launch, mainly because a bunch of my friends were playing it. I love the fast gameplay of a battle royale like this. I always like to compare it to Overwatch, which I used to play a lot. With a game like Overwatch you often quickly realize it’s going to be a bad game. Either the enemy team is really good, or some people on your team are bad or toxic. Or in certain cases just straight up throwing. The problem here was often that you’d still be stuck in the same game for another 5 to 15 minutes. Apex doesn’t have that problem. If you encounter a squad that’s better than you they just kill you and you jump immediately into the next game. The game also has a lot of downtime while you’re looting so you can chat with your friends and talk nonsense for an evening, only to now and then focus on the game.
- Stardew Valley
I don’t think a perfect game exists, for for me personally Stardew Valley comes pretty damn close. For those of you unfamiliar with Stardew Valley, it’s a farming simulator. You sit in your office and you one day are sick of it all, so you go to the farm that you inherited from your grandpa. From here you travel to a lovely village in which you get to talk to all the fun villagers. You get to befriend them, farm crops and even explore the local mine. Or in my case, fish a lot. Fishing is great in Stardew Valley. The best thing about this game for me is how relaxing it is. You can’t really lose in Stardew Valley. You can die in the mines, but it’ll just bring you to bed and you lose the progress for that day. Not the end of the world. If you ignore the mine, or have a good enough grasp on managing your health, then it’s a super relaxing game with a fantastic soundtrack. I’m normally not a huge fan of this graphics style, but for a game like Stardew Valley it just works. I’ve played this game on both PC and switch, and enjoyed it every single time.
I want to put a few honorable mentions here really quickly. Most of them are on the Nintendo Switch. First I want to mention Forager. It’s a very fun game where you slowly expand your islands by getting resources
and includes some fun puzzles.
Second game I want to mention is Path of Exile. I played this for a hot second back when it first launched, and then didn’t touch it until recently. With the announcement of a Path of Exile 2 it seemed like a good moment to get back into it, and it’s been quite fun, although very complicated.
The last honorable mention is Black Desert Online. I love and hate this game at the same time. I recently quit it for a second time, but it was a very fun game while it lasted. It just turned into too much of a grind near the end.
I hope you found something you enjoyed among this!