With the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affecting a huge number of people in unprecedented ways at the moment, we are in some pretty worrying times. While stuck at home self-isolating, it can be good for the soul to escape from the concerns of reality for a moment, and enjoy something a bit different.
Want to play some video games to take your mind off of the outside world and help to pass the time a bit better? Here are some of the perfect video games to play for escapism.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Releasing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic on the 20th March this year, it seems that Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the perfect game that everybody wanted and needed. A relaxing island getaway that sees you dropped into your own holiday destination to customise and build on to your heart’s content, the gameplay is soothing and satisfying, without the stress that comes from some other more action-intensive titles out there.
New Horizons has been critically acclaimed across the board in reviews, and is set to be the highest-selling in the series, breaking the fastest-selling records of all previous titles since the original on Nintendo Gamecube. One of the benefits of this Switch title during self isolation is the ability to fly yourself to friends’ islands and interact with them – a perfect way to meet up when forced to social distance in real life.
Fed up of your pandemic-riddled life in the real world, and wish you could just invent a new one completely, living out your wildest fantasies? Well, thanks to EA’s The Sims series (and perhaps some ‘unlimited money’ cheat codes), you can do just that. From cultivating the perfect family, to planning out your personality traits and lifetime career path on fast-forward, this is a fun and often funny ‘What if?’ time sink.
As a franchise that has been around for quite some time at this point, there are plenty of different versions of The Sims out there on different platforms, so if you don’t have an old copy lying around somewhere or downloaded on an old computer from years back, it should be fairly simple to find a version that will work with something in your home already.
Did you know? – Here’s one for those asking the question of ‘why do games need porting?’. When games such as The Sims come out on so many different platforms, they often need tweaks and changes (some more drastic than others) in order to fit well and run smoothly on the desired hardware. This is where the process of porting comes into play, where companies such as Abstraction that have knowledge on chosen platforms can assist with making a square peg fit into a round hole.
For those that want total immersion into another world, virtual reality technology provides us with the ability to completely transport ourselves – if only for a mere moment – into a different fantasy landscape with plenty of different things to do. Half-Life: Alyx, the recently released flagship VR title from Valve and the long-awaited prequel to the revered Half Life 2, is perhaps the best possible experience with VR that you can have at the moment: A fully realised, encompassing adventure that doesn’t compromise on length or simplified gameplay in order to accomodate the headset that you’re wearing.
Setting yourself up to play VR titles is a little bit more difficult than the average game download, as it’s quite expensive to get going (typically requiring a fully-fledged gaming PC to even run the headset unit in the first place), and needs floor space for you to move around in. That’s adding to the fact that in this current climate, you might find it difficult to even get a VR unit delivered in the first place, depending on what retailers stock situations are like. However, there are some cheaper alternatives that you can perhaps get hold of if you want to just try out the technology for yourself, such as mobile phone apps and units that hold your mobile to turn it into a makeshift device.
Working from home – No longer working or able to work due to the COVID-19 situation interrupting your company’s schedules? Job Simulator is a virtual reality title that simulates some different nine to fives from the perspective of a robot. While it might not be as immersive or detailed of an experience as Half Life, it can be extremely funny to play, offering some much-needed levity during these uncertain times.