12 Video Games to Play During Shelter-In-Place

Mar 30, 2020

We at Super GG Radio usually focus on the lighthearted, the fun, and what we love spending our time doing with friends.  While we can’t ignore how COVID-19 and the downstream effects of it spreading across the world have affected not only us but those in our community, we along with some friends & collaborators want to offer some of our favorite video games (in no particular order) we feel could help offer a distraction while many of us are holed-up in our homes.  Whether this time to you feels like a forced staycation, a fearful period without work, or time standing still, we hope one of these suggestions can provide you joy during a challenging time for all of us.

Credit Square Enix

Final Fantasy 8 Remastered (Square Enix, 2019)

Chosen By: Big Deal Blake (Host, A Brew With You Podcast)

Platform: Nintendo Switch/Playstation 4/Xbox One/PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Led by Squall Leonhart, join a group of mercenaries as they encounter an unexpected turn of events that gets them involved with saving the world.  This eighth installment of the classic Role-Playing Game (RPG) series is available on all modern consoles with minor adjustments to customize your gameplay such as: battle assist options, increasing game speed and no random encounters.

When I was a young lad living in the midwest, winter snow days were inevitable. You couldn’t play outside. You couldn’t meet up with friends. And homework wasn’t video games. Sound familiar? Yes, video games were the outlet, and what better way to entertain yourself during outside ice-death than a long-running game so you keep advancing and constantly exploring. 

Final Fantasy 8 Remaster came out September 19’ so it’s still very fresh. It’ll help you commit to a long confinement indoors while feeling nostalgic about those snow days when you were a kid. Also, It’s always fun to revisit classics and considering remasters and remakes are all the rage right now (RE2, RE3, FF7 Remake, etc.) why not take a dive into some classic gaming with contemporary adjustments. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy games, this one can be polarizing in terms of story and gameplay. However, it’s not broken or flawed, just different. FF8 Remaster is currently $20 on all storefronts. Check it out and see all the Guardian Forces in their 32-bit glory!

Credit Bethesda Game Studios

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios, 2011)

Chosen By: Brok Holliday (Host, Damage Boost Podcast of the After the Hype Network)

Platform: Nearly any recent console or PC.

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Skyrim can be summed up pretty quickly. You wake up, are about to be executed and BOOM! Dragons are back. You escape to find out you’re a Dragon Born and can absorb dragon powers and oh yeah, this is all in the middle of a civil war.

Skyrim is a game that you can just get lost in. Character building alone can take up hours of your time. Different kinds of people are more likely to have an easier time learning different skills. Some are better at magic, others at trade and so on. I personally like to use necromancing paired with a battle axe.  Through all of the craziness going on in the real world we are looking for something to not only take up time but to help us get to escape. If you need to go from one city to another for a quest you will find random caves to explore, maybe a political prisoner is being transported and you can help him escape. My personal favorite thing about the game is the books. You can find literally hundreds of books in Skyrim. Some with history of the area and some being about the previous game Oblivion. There are also works of fiction that are fantastic reads. The combat system isn’t perfect and you better quick save a lot but Skyrim will help you escape. Enjoy!

Credit Ubisoft Montreal

Prince of Persia (Ubisoft Montreal, 2008)

Chosen By: Christopher Wilson, Voice Actor and Podcaster (Backstage Gaming Co-Host)

Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it? 

Jump, flip, wall-run, and swashbuckle from one end of a beautiful, blighted world to the other.  Prince of Persia (2008) is, at its core, a game about putting the world right, and boy howdy do I wish I could do that right now. As you explore its beautiful, cell-shaded world, it goes from a blighted, oily mess to a verdant paradise.  As the cherry on top, it’s strung end to end with free-running paths for you and your new best friend to do sick parkour stunts off of.

The Prince of Persia series is near and dear to my heart, and while 2003’s Sands of Time will always be my favorite, Prince of Persia (2008) is genuinely one of the most soothing games I’ve ever played. The platforming has an almost meditative quality, playing at points almost more like a rhythm game than your typical 3D platformer. Combine this with the pastel colors and the incredibly fluid animation, and you're left with an incredibly zen experience, perfect for long gameplay sessions under quarantine.

While some of my gaming under social isolation has been more driven (I’ve been playing a lot of Sekiro and XCOM 2), I put a lot of value in taking time for more relaxing experiences. Sometimes, you just want comfort food, and Prince of Persia (2008) is the gaming equivalent of fried chicken and mashed potatoes for me.

Credit Sickhead Games/Chucklefish

Stardew Valley (Sickhead Games/Chucklefish, 2016)

Chosen By: Kelly DeWitte (Guest, Super GG Radio)

Platform: Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Mobile Phones

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Stardew Valley is a single-player farming-simulator game where you build your farm, plant crops, cut down trees, buy supplies and animals from the local stores, mine for gems, and even form friendships and romantic relationships. It even goes through each of the seasons so you can farm according to the particular season you’re in at the time.

I would recommend Stardew Valley because it is a very involved game with a multitude of chores and tasks to get done in a single day of the game. It’s a lot of fun! It holds your interest by having new tasks and is even intriguing to see who your potential significant others (Yes, you do get to choose from a certain group of people, boy or girl.) will be as you continue to learn more about the people of the town. Stardew Valley keeps your interest and your time occupied through multiple days of isolation. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for the quarantine!

Credit Supergiant Games

Hades (Supergiant Games, 2018)

Chosen By: Alec Parks (Guest Podcaster & Roguelike Enthusiast, Super GG Radio)

Platform: PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

In how many Greek stories do people successfully escape from Hades? Think you can do it? Play as Zagreus and try to make a break. Trudge through sections of Hades - Tartarus, Fields of Asphodel, and more - fighting shades that passed before you. Be warned, though, if - no, when - you die, you’ll return to Hades as all things eventually do.

Roguelikes and roguelites are fantastic choices for games when you’re trapped. Just as poor old Zagreus. Making your way through different areas, unlocking new dialog and story as you encounter souls doomed to eternity for their transgressions, like Sisyphus.  You encounter Olympic gods who offer you boons changing your play style each run. You have a chance to run into Chaos who offers you a penalty for a few encounters which then transforms into quite a boon. Every room offers some reward, darkness that allows permanent progress, Obols which are used for purchasing goods from Charon but are lost at the end of each run.

These styles of games are great because you have a vague idea what you’re going to encounter in each area as you play again and again, but what happens and what boons you get keep it fresh. Making it farther each run, needing less healing, finding boons you like, getting closer, and closer to escape, to freedom! As surely, we can all identify with wanting freedom at a time like this. Having sunk 20 hours into this Early Access game and still not having a successful run, I am excited to keep playing it. Afterall, madness is trying the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, isn’t it?

Credit NUMBER7

Hungry Tea Party (NUMBER7, 2020)

Chosen By: Philip Orona (Writer, podcast guest, Super GG Radio)

Platform: PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

From the developer "(Hungry Tea Party) is a point and click dark comedy game with four different endings and a total play time of 20-30 minutes. “ It’s an amusing, low commitment game. You can step away to do some chores for a bit, sit back down, play for a few more minutes and step away again if necessary.

Looking for a game taking place in a quasi-social setting, I landed at Hungry Tea Party. It's relatively new, having released on Steam last month. It's free to play and it's a small download of 186mb so there is a low barrier to entry.  The soundtrack is something right off of a slightly warped record playing at your local 1930's speakeasy and the art direction is spot on for its theme. A Tim Burton nightmare laced tea party with murderous attendees.  After spending a little over an hour with it, I survived the experience. Hungry Tea Party is a unique puzzle time waster. Despite its limited setting and game play interaction, I was entertained for the 20 to 30 odd minutes the developer pegged for the game's length.  Returning to the social distancing mentioned previously, odds are you are more likely to be killed by this social gathering than any kind of disease.  Thank you to the chaps at game developer NUMBER7 for giving us something to kill time with. 

Credit Square Enix & Runic Games

Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix) & Torchlight 2 (Runic Games)

Chosen By: Richard Schaller (Guest, Super GG Radio)

Platform: Several

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Final Fantasy XIV is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) in which you do MMORPG things like crafting, dungeon running, and quests (so. many. quests.). Torchlight 2 is an action RPG in the same vein as Diablo.

I spent a couple months playing Division 2 before everything went down, so I don't think I'm particularly interested in playing a post-apocalyptic loot shooter based on desolate cities and a highly contagious and deadly illness.  Instead, I've retreated into tried-and-true fantasy worlds and gameplay.

Final Fantasy XIV is nice because you can play with others and feel like you're part of a larger world. It helps get you some additional interaction with people in the outside world. Plus, now more than ever, it makes sense to just hole up and grind out a character. However, I have been getting a little frustrated with the never-ending story quests that are the hallmark of FFXIV.  

Alternatively, Torchlight 2 is a really solid choice for when you want to just hop in a game for 15 minutes (and sometimes get sucked-into for hours) and blow some stuff up. There's enough RPG elements to make it feel like an escape without getting bogged down in hours of lore and story. Also, of course, there's the addictive qualities of a loot-based dungeon crawler to help keep you occupied.

Credit Larian Studios

Divinity: Original Sin 2 (Larian Studios, 2018)

Chosen By: Kevin Hartwig (Super GG Radio contributor/streamer Thursday & Friday evenings 8 PM CST)

Platform: Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a turn-based, isometric Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG) that features parties of up to 4 as they escape a prison island, search for power, fight the gods, and reach for their destiny. This game is charming, dark, and not without humor, focusing on dialogue, combat, and exploration.

A single playthrough will cost you at least 40-50 hours. With deep dialogue options, complex combat systems, and the type of freedom that allows for multiple approaches to encounters, Divinity: Original Sin 2 provides gameplay that is rich and challenging (if you want!) With a lush story full of narrative and lore, D:OS2 has become a favorite of mine and Sam’s in this quarantine. It can become all-encompassing in your life, and now, more than ever, we need something that steals focus like this. This game provides an escape from one imperfect world to another, but in the world of Rivellon, you have a considerable amount more power.

Play as Lohse first.  Play this game while you are stuck at home. You won’t feel stuck anymore.

Credit Massive Entertainment/Ubisoft

The Division 2 (Massive Entertainment/Ubisoft, 2019)

Chosen By: Steve Dvorak (Audio Mixer, Recurring Podcast Guest, Super GG Radio)

Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

An overturned car.  A stray dog barking.  A man wearing cargo pants and a white sleeveless undershirt with an armored vest and a gas mask one-handing an SMG and firing it into the air at a precarious angle.  A pillar of white smoke cutting the sunlight.  Doorways covered with heavy yellow rubber marked with biohazard symbols.  These are a few of the things I imagined I might see driving home from work on Monday after they sent us packing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Coincidentally, these are also the things you’ll see in Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, which features Washington DC after a viral outbreak de-stabilizes civilization.

I’m trying to write articles both on the changes in the portrayal of American cities in games, the ‘shlooter’ genre, and a rationale as to why some of these games flop hard.  This game fits into both topics, and is the first Tom Clancy game I’ve ever played.  While it has been buggy, this game was a $3 buy and I’ve been so engrossed that they hooked me to buy the Warlords of New York expansion.  It’s an over-the-shoulder view game that is great for multiplayer, and has a leveling progression that starts when you hit the endgame, giving you lots of playtime in a dynamic open world.  I really enjoy the soundtrack with a lot of spacey guitar work.  And just to reiterate how bad I am at gaming, in my first PvP match, I rolled into a team with 3 people who were in a clan and had their voice chat going (which I could not silence).  Due to a glitch, one player got stuck on top of a trash can early on in the match, and when the final stats were tallied I still got a lower score than he did—those guys crushed it but at least I gave my fire team a good laugh [arm flex emoji].

Credit Mega Crit Games

Slay the Spire (Mega Crit Games, 2019)

Chosen By: Eric “Getty” Gettinger (your third favorite co-host, Super GG Radio)

Platform: PC, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Sony Playstation 4, Xbox One

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Slay the Spire is what you would call a card battler. You select a character and use their set deck of cards to climb the randomly generated tower. As you move from point to point on the map you in turn have random battles, chance tiles, a shop, or campfire. Part of the game is selecting your path but also winning enough battles to give you cards and items to survive. Defeat means starting back at the beginning and losing all your cards and items but gain enough exp and you can unlock other cards to use on a future run.

Slay the Spire can be played in small or long bursts, so if you are like me and have to work remotely during this lockdown then you take your game time when you can get it. I know that I am able to start a run or play through a couple of rooms before needing to shift back to work or chores. The rogue element of the game allows for a different play through each time so if you were unsuccessful or lost right away, the next attempt can be played differently. Since we find ourselves needing to stay home there is an element of resource management in our day to day that the game makes me think about. Should I burn through all my gold or potions for this fight or call it and start over. While I might already be late to this party, there is still a leaderboard for those who want to see how well you can do and socially distance yourself from the rest of the world. If you have any interest in strategy games or testing your wits and skills against a computer, then this is the way to go. Who knows how long we will be before we get thaw out but if you need me I will be climbing the tower.

Credit Nintendo/Monolith Soft

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo/Monolith Soft, 2020)

Chosen By: Joel DeWitte (Co-Host/Editor, Super GG Radio)

Platform: Nintendo Switch

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the latest entry in the long-running Nintendo life simulator series.  After accepting an offer for an island getaway package from the enterprising racoon Tom Nook & his family, you’re saddled with both a debt to repay for a humble tent and the burden of freedom to pay for it how you’d like through various chores, among them being activities such as bug hunting, fishing, digging for fossils, and spending time with the various animal residents of your burgeoning community.

When life has stalled or you feel that you’re spinning your wheels without making meaningful progress toward your goals, having little achievements that are obtainable can be important to quell some of those lingering feelings of doubt.  Animal Crossing’s tasks are small in scope compared to the world-saving antics most games focus on but operates in a loop of positive feedback for each completed objective that’s very satisfying.  Not only that, but all the characters in the world of Animal Crossing ooze charm.  Neighbors are eternally helpful, kind, positive, and have a diverse array of personalities without getting negative, a welcome retreat from the current circumstances.

Credit Crowbar Collective

Black Mesa (Crowbar Collective, 2012)

Chosen By: Alex Orona (Host, Super GG Radio)

Platform: PC

What is this game, and why is now the right time to play it?

Black Mesa is a fan-developed remake of the PC classic Half-Life built from the ground up in the Half-Life 2 engine.. This with some added mods made this game look closer to modern standards then ever before. In a time of social isolation, where the world seems in a stand still, why not play something you missed? In this case, once time resumes, it’s like I’ve been part of the conversation for years! “What? Half Life? Of course, “it’s a classic” I’d say to people who’d ask. They’d never know because time isn’t passing. It’s a groundhog’s day situation! 

The original Half Life came out in 2006 but the story of Gordon Freeman is still in the zeitgeist, especially with Half Life: Alyx coming out.  The game feels like an older first-person shooter, with some good interactive story elements. It brings heavy story scripting moments while also not holding your hand. The events of the story seem organic and leave me guessing what’s around the next corner. Simply put, this game makes you feel like you’re playing a movie and that’s something that has lost some of its luster in today’s modern games. It really helps time fly while being isolated and identifying with this lone scientist tasked with saving the world. While you’re in quarantine, why not engage with a classic?  It’s nice to feel like a hero again.