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Times are dark, so why not spice things up with a little guac and a few laughs?

Relief can come from the strangest of places and in the most unexpected forms. I’ve watched my friends and the internet at large deal with this pandemic through their own various outlets. A few are learning new skills, others are delving into hobbies. Then there’s most of us, just trying to get by. The one universal situation seems to be an uptick in consuming entertainment, as a distraction, escape, or even a crutch.

I watched as the world soaked up their sadness with games like Animal Crossing. Building their own little escapes from all this and I felt hollow. Those games never really gel for me, and amidst everything it felt like nothing would. …


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Setting and achieving goals through incremental, realistic steps

There’s always a satisfaction to levelling up and improving your character in video games. After all, who doesn’t feel motivated by attainable goals with noticeable improvements for what should feel like a fair level of investment. This isn’t always so easy to attain in real life and I think that’s part of what attracts so many of us to them. I’m sure that’s at least a part of why people give so much of their life to MMO’s and I can guarantee you that’s why I’ve played over 300 combined hours of Persona 5. …


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Rare’s pirate adventure taught me to appreciate in-game downtime

There’s something about piracy that just captures the spirit of adventure. Sure, it’s probably best we forget about things like disease, violent crimes, severe alcohol abuse, and just going completely bat shit crazy from too much sun exposure and sea water. However, the rest of it — the good pirate stuff — is all about adventure, mateship, and freedom. Sea of Thieves captures this perfectly.

I didn’t get onboard (yarr!) with Sea of Thieves at launch (also kind of yarr?), so I missed what many described as a pretty fun but ultimately empty game. I remember people saying they really enjoyed their turn but didn’t see any reason to come back. …


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Remedy expertly converts fear to fascination

I can’t play scary games. I have the kind of brain that absorbs material and then digs deeper into it during my spare time. I’ve learned that when it comes to horror this is just no good. I can’t sleep due to the trials my mind will put me through and when I do it comes in nightmares and terrors. I’ve done the math and it turns out that most scary content just isn’t worth what my mind will put me through later, so I abstain. I made an exception for Control, and I’m so glad I did.

Not only is Control a fantastic game, but the lore is deeply creepy and interesting. It’s all the little touches which give this universe so much depth and fantastical plausibility. Perhaps though, the cleverest and most appreciated touch for me is the player agency and power. Jesse is confused and maybe a little scared — but never terrified. There’s a wonderful fine line the development team have managed to tread between the purity of fear and intrigue and I think this is bolstered by always making her feel powerful. Even when she doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s never frantic, and is always in control. Fear is so deeply rooted in perception and personal experience. Many of us have deep seated fears that don’t even cause a raised brow from others. Spiders, water, birds, clowns, or public speaking are all fairly common yet polarising. I believe by taking away Jesse’s sense of terror, the devs allowed me to ignore my own. Rather, her curiosity became my own and it started from the moment we picked up the service weapon. …


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When art and life are uncomfortably aligned

When I first started playing Disco Elysium I made the kind of character I often do in RPGs. I poured points into intelligence and emotional skills and left out the physical. It’s nice to explore a game from the context of conversation rather than combat when you have the chance. It also reflects how I view myself. I have a body that lets me down at every turn so I’ve had to rely on my mind most of my life. I immediately died trying to reach a necktie due to my lack of physical fortifications. “This game is too real” I joked to myself. …

About

Hope Corrigan

Secretly several dogs stacked on top of one another in a large coat, Hope has a habit of writing and talking too much about video games and tech. @Hope_Corrigan

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