I know that almost everyone knows exactly what Animal Crossing is but I’d be remiss in not naming it as a game that has done wonders for my stress management. I’d never played any of the Animal Crossing games until New Horizon and I can’t believe what I was missing! In the game you create a character and move to a remote island filled with friendly animal neighbors. Build relationships, create your character, decorate your home as well as the entire island, and go into massive debt while our capitalist overlord Tom Nook rakes in the dough. Animal Crossing was what got me through the beginning of quarantine, a summer spent locked inside, and the start of a stressful new school year and I can’t recommend it enough.
You’re going to notice quite a pattern in my gaming but Stardew Valley is also a really fun game. Whereas Animal Crossing costs a whopping 50 to 60 bells- I mean dollars, Stardew Valley is only $15. Here you create your tiny pixel character and inherit your own farm after getting sick of the day to day city grind. You can care for a dog or cat as well as livestock while tending to your farm and building relationships with the other townsfolk- even to the point of marriage. Or if you’re more like me, you’ll give them crops you grow on your farm and they’ll look at you in distain even though Whole Foods would see that for an overpriced profit… but I digress. Live the idyllic farm life while you neighbors are occasionally rude for no reason, and cultivate your new farm life!
Best Friend Forever
Since I talked about the Love Island game by Fusebox last time, I thought I’d give a shoutout to the cutest game I’ve seen in a long while. Best Friend Forever is a $20 game where cute cartoon style dating meets dogs. You can build relationships in Rainbow Bay in this dating simulation game all while caring and training for our new furry friend. This game particularly stood out because of its beautiful art style, inclusive dialogue and narrative, and its colorful array of characters. While you have to select from three pre-made characters, your collection of dateables all have their own unique storyline, dialogue, and personality. Pet your pooch and fall in love along the way… just remember it’s all over once the game’s turned off.
Madden 21: Just an all-time classic game that you can’t go wrong with. I’ve played this game since I was probably six or seven years-old and it keeps getting better. From online play to just playing with your friends, the game is intense inside and out. The career mode gives you a chance to have your own player and live out his football life, and gives you opportunity to make your own choices. One of the most fun games I’ve played in my lifetime and I’ll continue to play as I get older.
Among Us: I don’t think there is a game out there that’s given me more trust issues than this one. A game solely based on outsmarting and lying to your friends, it’s had me hooked from the beginning. From the outset, you start with two imposters and eight crewmates that are assigned to do various tasks aboard your ship. The imposters are meant to basically kill all the crewmates before they can complete all the tasks. You can rat out the imposters and there are various strategies to take when playing. One of them relies heavily on lying to the whole group. Anyone who’s looking for an exciting game with friends should play.
FIFA: I mean as the sports editor I have to pick another sports game, right? FIFA is probably the most sports game there is. I’m not a huge soccer fan in real life, but FIFA has me HOOKED. The excitement over a goal scored or a big save made is totally life altering. I’ve had many competitive games in my apartment or tournaments that have lasted the entire weekend. And the game just gets better every year, with new game modes and new tricks that’ll give you a whole new perspective. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a new look at a sport they maybe haven’t tried before.
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Allow me to set the scene for you. This multiplayer, social deduction game takes place in space. There are four to ten players in each round, where most are crewmates, but one or two are imposters. If you are a crewmate, you complete tasks while trying to identify the imposters. If you are an imposter, you sabotage the crewmates’ tasks and kill them off one by one. Voting takes place every time a dead body is reported, or an emergency meeting is called. The players can then turn on their mics to discuss where they were when the body was discovered. This is the only time when players can speak to each other. Everyone has the chance to defend themselves to avoid ejection from the space ship, but it often turns into players pinning themselves against one another. Imposters must fly under the radar and avoid raising suspicion. Crewmates tend to be much more vocal and make quick accusations. Even if you are a lousy liar, Among Us is still a great game to play with friends.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
I’ve been playing this for months now, and I still haven’t scored a win yet. I choose to blame my downfall on Hex-A-Gone, okay? Fall Guys is a platformer battle royale game with 50 people in a server that compete in elimination minigames until one player is crowned victorious. Players take the shape of multi-colored jellybeans with arms and legs to navigate through various courses. See Saw, one popular course, is where players balance on top of wobbly seesaws and leap from one to another. The Whirlygig is another minigame that relies on coordination and patience to dodge spinning blades. There are also team games that pair you with random players for the round. Fall Ball divides everyone into two teams where each engages in a game of oversized soccer. Jinxed is a minigame about infecting members of the opposing team with cooties. Usually, up to 15 people can be eliminated in any given round until there is one winner. Fall Guys is so addicting that you won’t be able to drop it.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
With the announcement of the Minecraft Steve crossover that was revealed last week, I think it’s fair to add Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to my list. For those that aren’t aware, Smash is a crossover fighting game for the Nintendo Switch. Up to eight opponents battle in an arena attempting to knock out their competition. Each player has specialized moves that result in a range of damage. What makes Smash unique is the wide variety of characters to choose from. Most characters are from games of our childhood, providing that sense of nostalgia. Mario, Sonic, Link, and Pokémon Trainer are only a taste of the selection. Adding new characters periodically to the lineup is a smart move on Nintendo’s part. People are always talking about the game and are excited to play as these new fighters. The addition of Minecraft Steve only added to this hype. It’s an addition that we didn’t know we needed, but are happy it’s finally come.
Admittedly, I was not allowed to play video games when I was growing up. I still have never played on a Nintendo DS, Xbox, PlayStation, or any other gaming console outside of the Wii – which was categorized as “exercise”. However, when quarantine began, I channeled my inner child and remade an account on Club Penguin. My penguin – affectionately named Yungphotog – was the epitome of igloo wealth, with every puffle, housing setup, and outfit offered in the game. I spent hours on my couch, in isolation, playing Smoothie Smash and earning coins to shower my penguin in gifts. Although it is not nearly as intricate as the other video games listed on this article, I enjoyed my arctic escape from my pandemic lockdown. Sadly, the human world of copyright lawsuits destroyed my beloved Club Penguin, but not before I was able to (finally) tip the iceberg. My ten-year-old self would be proud.
Fall Guys (PC or PlayStation): I would describe Fall Guys as… Fortnite for dummies. In this battle royale game, your little jellybean-like character along with 59 other online players have to survive five levels to be the first one to grab the crown. There are solo levels and team levels, some levels are mazes or sometimes you even have to play soccer.
Paper Mario: The Origami King (Switch): This is the first Paper Mario I have ever landed my hands on. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed the storyline as you don’t really need to know any of the prior games to understand what’s going on. The game utilizes the joy-cons to their full potential, sometimes you need to actually do the motion of unlocking a lock or pulling off the wallpaper. This is an awesome way to kill some time by yourself if you’re already bored with Animal Crossing (like me, oops).
Among Us (PC or mobile): Looking to create trust issues within your friend group? Look no further- Among Us is the game for you! Just kidding. I compare this game to the movie The Thing- you and 8 other crew-mates have to finish tastes before The Imposter, who looks normal, kills all of you. You hold emergency meetings throughout the game and chat with your friends to find out who The Imposter is. This game which basically encourages you to lie to your friends will always create an interesting Saturday night.