If there is one thing in life that has most definitely not hit the pause button, it is video games. Gaming culture has not only persevered through the pandemic, it has thrived as people stay home and find comfort in escaping to virtual on-screen worlds.
Story-driven games rooted deep in exploration are finding new life in my free time these days. Rockstar’s epic western Red Dead Redemption II has been getting more spins in my PS4 than it had in the previous year-and-a-half since its release. Part of the appeal is the unbelievable attention to detail in a massive world that transports the player back to 1899 and the final throes of the wild west as the country transitioned into a modern, industrial-fueled society. You can really get lost in it and easily forget about the complex “new realities” taking shape in the real world - at least for a few hours. Need a world filled with a bit more positivity than the outlaw theatrics of the past? Go no further than Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Nintendo Switch hit that offers a stress-free sanctuary and has taken the world by storm.
Interested in borrowing video games from the library? Patrons should check their local libraries current lending policies and if video games qualify for curbside pickup programs. While video games don’t typically circulate through Minitex services (most libraries restrict video game loans to local patrons), video game guides are often available for all users and I've personally seen plenty of guides coming through the Referral Processing Area of Minitex. These guides are usually quite thorough and provide step-by-step walkthroughs and are a great tool for those looking to get the most out of their games. Need an assist? Check with your local library to see if you can obtain a guide through curbside pickup.
If all you have is a web-friendly PC and want to share gaming experiences with others, Tabletop Simulator allows you to play almost any table-based game you can dream up. Your Friday poker nights don’t need to stop just because you aren’t sharing your den with others. Roll20 allows you to dive into the fantasy realm and is a fantastic tool for those looking to host virtual pen-and-paper RPGs.
Need something a little more active? Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure will keep you moving on the Switch, but it seems that Wii Sports - a 14-year old game - is experiencing newfound life in most people’s living rooms these days.
If anything, games can provide an escape to what may seem like the halcyon days of, well, a few months ago. Perhaps a bit of nostalgia tripping is good medicine these days. Game on!