We’re in self-isolation hell and look, it’s no secret that art is a means of escaping, and video games are art (may we direct non-believers to the art gallery in my Animal Crossing house).
And, given the nature of the world right now and how we’re likely going to be spending the next three to six months stuck in our homes and social distancing, we’re gonna need them.
In fact, now’s the perfect time to finish all those games sitting in your pile of shame that have been waiting to be played for months. Dare we say… years.
Here are 11 video games to play during the mandatory lockdown period to replicate life before the Covid-19 pandemic.
If u miss going outside, play: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Okay, so it’s day six of mandatory quarantine (or day 22 if, like us, you’ve been practising social distancing before it was cool), and you’re starting to forget what the outside world is like.
You crave the feeling of the wind against your back, the rustling folly of leaves and crunching sounds of your boots stepping on grass and the bush on hikes with friends. Even, the yearning to discover something new, be challenged and experience new things at your own pace and way.
Cut to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a gorgeously animated and breathtakingly (hehe) beautiful and reactive open world, and literally the best open world adventure game I’ve ever played.
Nintendo’s latest in The Legend of Zelda series doesn’t hold your hand or guide you down a path. It lets you explore a whole continent at your own pace and at any direction. It’s fantastic and meticulously developed physics engine is not only surreally animated but constantly surprises you. And, its puzzles and world building are so engaging and immersive that you just have to explore every corner of the map, solve every shrine and find every waypoint, no matter how many Guardians or Lynels are in your way.
Breath of the Wild Link throwing a hightail lizard, bokoblin guts, 2 acorns, and a mighty banana into a random cooking pot he found in the woods pic.twitter.com/5FUToSugJy— female protagonist (@WeegeeWuvver) October 7, 2019
Breath of the Wild is the best video game of all time and it's not even close. pic.twitter.com/NqXKF9EIUd— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) August 14, 2019
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available on the Nintendo Switch for $79 on JB Hi-Fi.
If u miss social interaction, play: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The everyday routine gameplay of gathering resources and talking to your villagers helps get you into a routine, which experts recommend we do during this period and to help avoid the likelihood of being depressed. And, as the walls start growing faces and I think the fruit in my fruit bowl are my only friends (I commit murder at least once a day, it’s horrible), we’re going to need something to mimic social interaction.
Plus, the music is cute, the colourful critters are charming, and the memes are bountiful. It will literally keep you occupied till as long as this social distancing period lasts, whenever that’ll be.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available on Nintendo Switch for $69 on JB Hi-Fi.
If u miss hanging w/ ur friends, play: The Jackbox Party Packs 1-6
While we’re split apart from our friends, it can be hard to have regular game nights and mimic face-to-face fun together. So, thankfully, Jackbox Games Inc.’s series of party games, The Jackbox Party Pack is here to help.
All it requires is one player with the game, sharing their game’s screen to everyone else in a Zoom call and everyone else connected to the game with their phones. Jackbox features a number of different minigames, including my personal favourite, Fibbage, where players make up faux truths about each other and have to guess which is the real one.
It’s the best way to play with your friends online and still get that fun couch experience of playing in the same room. And, being physically apart from each other and spending so much time in self-isolation just might bring out the most feral and vile answers from us. I can just feel it.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is currently only available on PC but most older versions are available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (and iOS and Android).
If u miss going to class, play: Persona 5 Royal & Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Are you missing school? Stressed you might not get to do your HSC exams this year or study hard? Fancy another pair of 100+ hour long role playing games to sink your teeth into?
Well, may we present a pair of strategic Japanese role playing games featuring anime boy haircuts, melodramatic stories and visual novel-esque romance, Atlus’s Persona 5 Royal and Intelligent Systems’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
Not only are they both deep role playing games with heavy life sim elements, but they feature unique and compelling combat and gameplay, stories about the ethical questions of children being the face of social change and justice in a society that’s abandoned it, and fully fleshed out characters that you can invest time in, fall in love with, and, if you’re lucky, smooch.
If you’re a fan of one, you’ll most likely be a fan of the other.
If u miss travelling, play: The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Given how the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Europe the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, we wouldn’t be surprised if CD Projekt Red’s sci-fi open world fantasy CyberPunk 2077 is delayed again.
But, in the meantime, you can explore their similarly gritty and immersively epic role playing game, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. Much like Breath of the Wild, it boasts a richly made open world but with more fleshed out characters, quests, grounded realism, realistic graphics and western fantasy, myths and legends.
Plus, Geralt is the video game role model of our times. Geralt himself is a man of solitude and practices social distancing. Geralt is a Witcher, an emotionally muted monster hunter who is feared and treated unjustly by society.
He spends his time alone with his trusty steed called Roach, venturing through woods, caves (quite like our own homes in a few months into social distancing) and towns for rare beasts and supernatural stories, stumbling into political conspiracies, misplaced pans, revolutions and an ancient magical race of ice soldiers.
Coupled with the OG book series by Andrzej Sapkowski and Netflix’s TV series adaptation, you’re in for a solid dark fantasy few months, perfect for all that time spent in solitude in the coming winter.
Top 5 video games of the decade (objectively):— Dr Grandayy (@grandayy) December 7, 2019
1. The Witcher 3
3. God of War
4. The Last of Us
5. Detroit Become Human
If you miss meeting new people, play: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Okay, yes, I am asking you to begin another MMORPG that will take over your life for an indefinite period of time buuuuut, hear me out.
We all know you’re not going to have any other pressing engagements or social things to do during this social distancing period so why not spend your nights and weekends with one of the best Japanese role playing games in recent years and its 14 million players.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a huge time sink but an enchanting, deeply layered and community-based one. As the days become weeks and become months (and maybe years… I’m kidding, I hope) you’re going to start craving to talk to an actual human being.
Animal Crossing’s adorable critters certainly calm our minds but nothing beats banding together with your newly made human friends and companions, goofing about in the world, hosting parades and parties, and tackling some of the game’s hardest dungeons.
Plus, there’s stupidly so much content for newcomers, what with the full game, four expansions and a host of post-game content and constantly updating, you’re basically set for life.
If u miss being creative, play: Dreams
Dreams is a video game by the creators of Little Big Planet, Media Molecule, that takes the level editing format of that series and applies it to the whole entertainment industry. Essentially, it’s a design platform that gives you the tools to create your own games,
In fact, based on what people have created so far, it has the potential to be the next Minecraft, so there’s no better time to join.
Given the sheer amount of creativity on the platform already, we can only begin to imagine what others (and you) will be doing months into lockdown.
To best escape from Covid-19, we recommend building a game about your life beforehand. Or forget all that and play all rad af remakes of our childhood, like Avatar the Last Airbender and Final Fantasy VII.
Dreams is available on PS4 for $49 via JB Hi-Fi.
If u miss hitting the gym, play: Ring Fit Adventure
So, no doubt, with gyms and our yoga studios (rip to these stretchy mans) closed in the next few months, we’re going to need to find a way to get active and exercise.
And, alas, while we can’t go outside and play Pokemon Go and Nintendo’s former Yoga instructor Wii Fit Trainer now only exists as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros., we’re left with one option: Ring Fit Adventure.
Yes, it does look kinda silly but apparently it does something? Works your core? Helps you work up a sweat? Burn some calories?
Idk, maybe give this a try if you have a Nintendo Switch before going back to the infinite catalogue of YouTube workout from home tutorials.
Ring Fit Adventure is available on Nintendo Switch for $124 via JB Hi-Fi.
If u miss dating, play: Doki Doki Literature Club, Hatoful Boyfriend and the wacky world of dating sims
It’s no surprise that you’re going to get lonely during the Covid-19 self-isolation period. Tinder and Humble can only get us so much love when we can’t physically meet up with a person that we may start to turn to, heaven forbid, online. Specifically, the wild and crazy online world of dating sims.
If you’re after something emotionally challenging and surprising, we recommend 2017’s smash hit Doki Doki Literature Club. On the surface, it seems just like any other anime school harem cliche about a new transfer student joining the school’s literature club of cute anime girls, but it’s a lot more than that.
And if that’s not your cup of tea, you can date pretty pigeon boys in Hatoful Boyfriend, neighborhood dads in Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator, vampire, undead and werewolf high schoolers in Monster Prom, or, I kid you not, Colonel Sanders in I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin Good Dating Simulator.
If u miss going out dancing, play: Beat Saber
If you wanna work up a sweat to some of your favourite beats, we recommend Beat Saber.
Beat Saber is a virtual reality music video game using Oculus Rift software. It has you don the Oculus Rift helmet and wield its two controllers like swords, dodging laser walls and slicing through cubes to sick beats. And, there’s a plethora of popular and meme music available via the game’s underground community.
If you’ve scrolled through gaming subreddits or YouTube, you’d be hard pressed not to see insane videos of people pulling off stupidly difficult modes of their favourite BTS banger or anime song.
And who knows, if you keep practising, you might come out of the other side of this toned and with Hulk-like biceps, and the ability to out-dance anyone. As long as you can wield two invisible laser swords, ofc.
If u miss when pandemics were fictional, play: The Last Of Us
If Americans hoarding guns at supermarkets (what a concept, lmao) tells us anything, it’s that the Covid-19 pandemic could erupt into an apocalyptic hellscape. So fun! So, why not equip yourself with the best survival kit and play Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us?
The Last Of Us presents us with the aftermath of a world plagued by a contagious virus. Luckily, unlike Covid-19, it eats away at our brain until we’re senseless zombies driven by rage. Paranoia runs wild amongst the few that have survived. And, tbh, it’s all a bit too similar to that one meme of rapid consumers swarming a dolly of toilet paper like something out of The Walking Dead.
The sound effects sent me to a place I’ve never been 😭🤣🤣🤣⚰️ pic.twitter.com/rorSOhZsir— 🇧🇧 (@rahm3sh) March 17, 2020
In fairness, while this doesn’t remind us what life was like before the Covid-19 self-isolation period, its story and world does remind us what we can do in times of crisis and give us the strength to carry on. The Last Of Us Remastered (PlayStation Hits) is $24 on JB Hi-Fi, while The Last Of Us Part II is available for $79 via JB Hi-Fi.