Much has changed in the world since I wrote my last column. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that 2020 would be the complete dumpster fire that it is, but here we are. Like many, many others, I have been spending a lot of time playing video games while quarantined during this pandemic. Games are always a great escape from reality, even when circumstances are normal, but they are now more important than ever for me. It’s much less stressful to attempt to survive the cordyceps outbreak or the t-Virus with a controller in your hands than to think about the real-life virus that is COVID-19.
As an introvert with social anxiety, staying home and playing games by myself is nothing new to me. While I have always loved playing couch co-op games with close friends and family, sitting down and playing a good single-player game is something I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed; it’s a form of therapy for me. With all the extra time gained from not having to commute to work or go anywhere on the weekends, I have had tons of extra time to lose myself in good games. Here are some of the gaming milestones I’ve experienced during this unprecedented time in all of our lives.
Finally played INSIDE
I picked up developer Playdead’s INSIDE a few years ago when I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, but never actually started it for whatever reason. It was always hanging over my head, and I thought there was no better time to play it than while quarantined at home. I thoroughly enjoyed it; so much so that I made a point to get 100% of the trophies. I highly recommend everyone check it out if you’re remotely interested in puzzle-platformers; it is truly one of a kind.
Finally completed Persona 5
It’s embarrassing how long it took me to finish Persona 5. I started it in January of 2019 and didn’t complete it until April of 2020. Obviously I wasn’t in any hurry to get through it, and I definitely took a few months off from it when I was playing other things or just, you know, living life. As my first Persona game, I’m so glad I gave Persona 5 a chance and saw it through to the end. I am not known for being a huge fan of JRPGs or even RPGs in general (although that is changing the older I get, for whatever reason) but Persona 5 is one of the best games I have ever played in my life. There is not a single thing I didn’t like about it, other than the anxiety I had trying to find a safe room after a tough battle. Even if you think you don’t like RPGs, or specifically JRPGs, give this one a chance. Now that Persona 5 Royal has released, pick that one up if you can – I hear it’s even better than the original.
Got a Switch Lite
I’ve stated many times before that having a husband who is also a gamer means we have to buy two of each console if we want to avoid fighting over them. We have had our Nintendo Switch since launch back in 2017 and have shared it – until now! I graduated with my master’s degree back in May and got a Switch Lite as a graduation gift. I had really been wanting my own Switch, and since we have a regular Switch to play games on the TV, I thought the Lite would be perfect for me – and it is. I love playing it in bed when I’m kind of sleepy and don’t feel like being engaged enough to sit upright and stare at the TV with a controller in my hands, if that makes any sense. Since getting the Lite, I’ve revisited Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, and I finally picked up Runner 3 – for $5.99! I’m a huge fan of the Runner franchise and this game feels oh, so right on the Switch. Also, a new Paper Mario is coming very soon along with Deadly Premonition 2, so I’m glad my hubby and I won’t have to fight over the living room Switch anymore.
Started and actually finished Horizon Zero Dawn
I started Horizon Zero Dawn on May 19 and completed it on June 24; that might be a new record for me for a game of this scope. I have been wanting to play Horizon since it launched back in 2017, but like many other games, I put it on the backlog and told myself I’d get around to it eventually. Three years later, I finally had time to explore the beautiful world of Horizon Zero Dawn and I am so glad I did. A big reason I hesitate to start RPGs is because they overwhelm me; I see the giant maps and hear that it takes 50-100 hours to complete the main quests and I’m immediately put off. I’m really trying to get over that and branch out, and, like Persona 5, I’m so glad I gave Horizon a chance. For the first 10-20 hours I spent with the game, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my experience playing Far Cry 5: I would start playing one night at 5 p.m., and the next thing I knew it was midnight. According to my in-game clock, it took me almost 50 hours to see the credits roll in Horizon, but I never felt like I was spending too much time in that world. In fact, right after the credits rolled I started a New Game+ and am planning on playing through it again to do some of the side quests I never got around to. I also need to pick up the Frozen Wilds expansion…and did you guys see that reveal trailer for Horizon Forbidden West? Holy crap.
Have you used video games to cope during this insane time in our lives? Let me know what you’ve been playing and what you’re looking forward to over on Twitter – @gottosaurus.