Best Video Games to Survive Quarantine

Are you bored yet?  The recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting imposed quarantine has produced a lot of time on our hands for many of us and maybe given us some extra time to explore some new hobbies. For some of us, this might mean exploring the best video games. 

Initially, the quarantine might have felt like a welcome break from our usual busy routine.  Being forced to social distance ourselves from others meant that we had a good excuse to spend a lot more time at home.  Even better, we could pause from the crazy routine of daily life. And, let’s face it take a break from stressing about your blockchain stocks!

However as the weeks wear on with no definite end in sight, you are probably starting to go just a little bit stir crazy.  Having done everything that you wanted to do and learned everything you wanted to learn, you might be looking for new diversions.  You may have never considered playing video games before and that’s okay. This is as good of a time as ever to try something new.  

We know what you’re thinking. Playing video games seems like a great waste of time.  But before you shoot down the idea (no pun intended), we have something for you to consider.  Studies have shown that there are actually a lot of benefits you will enjoy from playing video games.  Some of these benefits include improved manual dexterity and vision, improved problem-solving skills, and even improved social skills.  Additionally, playing video games can also increase the gray matter in the brain, further boosting brain connectivity. We hope you found this convincing because now we get to the fun part!

Video Games Have Come A Long Way

It should also be noted that video games have come a long way from what they used to be.  Perhaps you have a vision of video games as just being child’s play. Unfortunately, you might just be mistaken. There are a wide array of games available now that do not include shooter games.  No matter what your age or interest, you are sure to find one that will appeal to you.  

If you’re thinking that you don’t have a lot of time to invest in playing video games, there are some that can be completed in just 5 to 10 hours.  If you have a little more time, there are some that can keep you entertained for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours.  

It is easy to get started, as most of these games are available for immediate download to your PC through online distribution stores like Steam or Epic Games.  Some can also be downloaded to your iOS or Android mobile device.  So even if you don’t own a gaming console, you can still enter the world of gaming.  

Video games come in a variety of genres.  If you like instant gratification, you would probably like action games. If you prefer to solve puzzles or micro-manage resources, then real-time strategy or role-playing games may be for you.  Whatever type of gamer you may be, we have tried to compile a list of some of the best video games out there that you can play while in quarantine.  So let’s start gaming, shall we?

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The Last of Us

Rating:  97% by Google users.      Release date:  June 2013

Platforms:  Playstation 3, Playstation 4

Genre:  Action-adventure

The Last of Us is an action-adventure game that you play from the third-person perspective. Civilization has just been decimated by a mutant strain of the Cordyceps fungus which transforms its human hosts into aggressive zombie-like creatures.  You play as the character Joel, who is tasked with escorting a teenage girl, Ellie, across a post-apocalyptic world.  It is your job to protect her as she may be the potential source of a cure for the infection.  It is a story of survival as you travel through towns, forests, even sewers, defending against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures, using firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth.  

What distinguishes this game from being just another zombie movie is the masterful storytelling and character development for which it has won numerous awards.  Additionally, the game has also been praised for its gameplay, visuals, and sound design. The game uses an artificial intelligence system that allows hostile human enemies to react to combat.  You can play this game online in multiplayer mode which can accommodate up to eight players for cooperative or competitive gameplay.  It is one of the best-selling video games of all time. 

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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Rating: 10/10

Platforms:  Windows, MacOS, Linux, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, IOS, Android 

Genre:  Puzzle, party, communication, up to 4 players

You are alone in a room with a bomb that you must quickly defuse.  The only catch is that your friends, the “experts” have the manual.  They must talk you through it. The only thing is that they can’t see the bomb, so good communication is a must.  The bombs are procedurally generated (i.e. randomly generated by the computer) so the game is always fresh.  You can even play the game remotely or alongside a VR experience.

Civilization IV

Rating: 9/10. Release date:  October 2005

Platforms:  Windows, MacOS 

Genre:  Turn based strategy, 4X

Have you always wanted to create your own empire?  Civilization IV is an interactive, turn-based strategy game making it an all-time favourite.  It lets you play as the political leader of one of the world’s nations and takes you from the Stone Age to the Space Age.  Starting as a lone unit with your first city, you can evolve into whatever advanced society you choose to create.  You can do this in numerous ways including conquering your neighbours, researching advanced technology, creating the most cultured society, or advancing your religion. 

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Animal Crossing:  New Horizons

Rating: 96% by Google users.  Release date:  March, 2020

Platforms:  Nintendo Switch

Genre:  Education, simulation

The debut of Animal Crossing: New Horizon could not have been better timed.  It was released on March 20 just as much of the world was entering into quarantine, and instantly became the biggest hit of the lockdown.  This family-friendly game provides a perfect escape from reality by transporting you to a warm and gentle world.  In this game, you fly to a deserted island where you create your own paradise by using the island’s natural resources to craft everything from tools to furniture. Your day may consist of fishing, gardening, hunting down insects, or just enjoying the sunset.  And if you feel the need to be social, you can visit neighboring islands to see what your friends and family are creating, or have them come to yours.  

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The Sims 4

Rating:  97% by Google users.    Release date:  September, 2014

Platforms:  PlayStation 4, Xbox One, MacOS, Microsoft Windows

Genre:  Life simulation

For those looking for the ultimate life-simulation game, the Sims 4 is it.  If you always wanted to see what your perfect life might look like, this game gives you the opportunity to do so.  In this game you will get to create your own Sims character, deciding everything from physical appearance, outfits, and personality traits.  Then, you can build and decorate your own home, choosing from an endless palette of furniture, ornaments, color schemes, and styles.  

You can embark on a career, raise a family, start a business, and develop relationships, and pretty much micro-manage every aspect of your Sim’s life.  The game offers a variety of expansion packs and special installations which allow you to explore new elements of life including new career paths and relationships, as well as new experiences.  This ensures that the game will always stay relevant and fresh.  It provides the perfect escape from real life, allowing you to experience your creativity, unrealized potential, and ambitions within the safe confines of the virtual Sims universe.  

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The Legend of Zelda:  Breath of the Wild   

Rating:  96% by Google users.      Release date:  March 2017

Platform:  Nintendo Switch, Wii U

Genre:  Action-adventure

The Zelda series has been hailed as one of the best video games of all time, and this latest installment can be considered the best in the series.  Initially released in 1986, it is about a boy named Link who is on a quest to save a princess named Zelda in the vast, mysterious kingdom of Hyrule.  In this latest installment, Link awakens from a hundred-year slumber and learns that Calamity Gannon, sealed in Hyrule Castle, has grown strong and must be defeated before he destroys the world. 

On your way to complete your quest, you explore the massive, open-world of Hyrule, traversing through vast fields, forests, and mountains.  You are rewarded for your exploration as you uncover your own paths, and learn through experimentation.  By solving puzzles, completing missions, and defeating enemies, you gain health, strength, and stamina.  The game is full of challenging, unpredictable surprise elements that are sure to keep you entertained for hours.  

Image of Overcooked! 2 one of the best video games to play during quarantine.
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Overcooked! 2

Rating:  9/10 on Steam.      Release date:  August 2018

Platforms:  Microsoft Windows, Nintendo switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux

Genre:  Simulation

Overcooked 2 is an award-winning cooking simulation game designed to be played by up to 4 players.  This sequel to Overcooked takes cooking to a whole new level of chaos.  In it, you can gather, chop, and cook ingredients, as well as serve and wash dishes in absurd restaurant settings, while overcoming obstacles.  The sequel includes new interactive levels, restaurant themes, chef costumes, and recipes. Some levels have moving floors, portals, and impassable fires.  The sequel also introduces ingredient tossing, whereby chefs can toss ingredients to each other, and the ability to play with others online across a local wireless network or through online matchmaking.

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Stardew Valley

Rating:  10/10 on Steam.       Release date:  February 2016

Platforms:  Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, Linux, Xbox One, iOS, MacOS, Microsoft Windows

Genre: simulation, role-playing

For those who are looking to escape from city life, Stardew Valley may just be the ticket.  In this game, you get to take on the role of a character who inherits his grandfather’s dilapidated farm.  You have the challenge of turning it into a thriving operation by growing crops, raising livestock, crafting goods, and selling produce.  You can also mine for ore and socialize with other townsfolk, maybe even meet someone special to start a family.  And if you want to work as a team, you are able to invite 1-3 other players to join you in your venture. 

Image of Fortnite Battle Royale one of the best video games to play during Covid.

Fortnite Battle Royale

Rating:  4.5 on App Store.   Release date:  July 2017

Platforms:  PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS

Genre:  Survival, battle royale, sandbox

No discussion of video games would be complete without mentioning this highly popular, very addictive game.  Fortnite is available in three distinct game modes: Fortnite: Save the World, Fortnite: Creative, and Fortnite: Battle Royale.  Battle Royale is by far the most popular.  In this free to play game, you are in a battle with up to 100 players, fighting to be the last person standing.  You can play alone, as a duo, or in a squad of three or four players.  

You are airdropped as weaponless players from a “Battle Bus” that crosses the game’s map.  Once you land, you must fight to survive by scavenging for weapons and equipment on the map, while also fighting your enemies.  As gameplay progresses, the safe area shrinks down in size, forcing remaining players into tighter spaces to encourage player combat. The last player, duo, or squad remaining is the winner.  

Games You Can Play in a Short Amount of Time

Maybe you only have a little bit of time to spend playing video games. Don’t worry we still have you covered!

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Firewatch

Rating:  9/10.   Release date:  February 2016

Platforms:  Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux

Genre:  Adventure

Firewatch is an adventure game in which you are required to solve a mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness.  You take on the role of Henry who leaves his complicated life behind to work as a fire lookout.  When something strange draws you out of your lookout tower, you are forced to explore the wild and unknown environment below.  While uncovering the mystery, you forge a relationship with your only human contact, Delilah, your supervisor, who speaks to you over a handheld radio.  

Image of outer wilds one of the best video games to play during quarantine.

Outer Wilds

Rating:  94% Google users.    Release date:  May 2019

Platforms:  Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4

Genre:  Action-adventure

Outer Wilds is an award-winning action-adventure game.  As the newest recruit of Outer Wild Ventures, you are sent to a constantly evolving solar system to uncover the mystery of why an ancient alien race died. You are encouraged to explore the surrounding solar system to uncover the answer but there is a catch.  You are trapped in a universe that resets every 22 minutes when the local sun explodes in a supernova.  Similar to the movie, Groundhog Day, you are caught in a cycle where you live, die, and repeat.  Each time, though, you are able to explore a different part of the universe to learn something new until you finally uncover the mystery.

Image of Journey one of the best video games for quarantine.
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Journey

Rating:  95% by Google users.  Release date:  March 2012

Platforms:  PlayStation 4, Playstation 3, iOS, Microsoft Windows

Genre:  Adventure

In Journey, you assume the character of a robed figure traveling through a vast sandy desert to a distant mountain.  You are not given any instructions on how to play the game or what the goal of the game is.  It is up to the player to interpret the storyline.  There is no spoken dialogue.  If playing online, you may encounter other players called companions, who can help you.  Although you cannot speak to each other, you can communicate with musical chirps.  While all figures generally look the same, individual players can be told apart by the symbols on the front of their robes. The game has won many awards and is praised for its visual and auditory art.  It can be completed in about two or three hours.

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Portal

Rating:   10/10 on Steam.   Release date:  October 2007

Platforms:  Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Playstations 3, XBOX 360, Android

Genre:  Puzzle-platform

Portal is a single-player, first-person shooter puzzle game.   Set within the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, you assume the role of a woman named Chell who is forced to undergo a series of tests.  Using the “portal gun”,  you must solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals to maneuvering objects and people through space. Portal and it’s sequel, Portal 2, offers hours of unique gameplay.

Limbo

Rating: 9/10 on Steam.   Release date:  July 2010

Platforms:  Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Genre:  Puzzle-platform, adventure

Limbo is about a boy who is trying to find his missing sister. He awakens in the middle of a forest on the “edge of hell”.  As he searches for his sister, he encounters dangerous environments and traps, many of which are lethal, and end in his death.  The style of play is described by its developer as “trial and death”, meaning that the player is expected to fail many times before finding the correct solution.  The dark, grayscale graphics combined with the minimalist ambient sounds create an eerie atmosphere reminiscent of the horror genre.  The game has been described as “dark, disturbing, yet eerily beautiful.”

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Tick Tock:  A Tale for Two

Rating:  9/10 on Steam.    Release date:  February 2019

Platforms:  Nintendo Switch, Android, Microsoft Windows, MacOS

Genre:  Adventure, casual

Tick Tock is a puzzle game for two players. It is unique in that it is played on two devices, with one person getting half the clues on one device, while a second player receives the other half on their device.  In this game, you and your friend are trapped in an eerie world created by a skillful clockmaker.  To escape, you need to navigate through this mysterious world filled with secrets and cryptic puzzles.  But you must work together to combine the information on the two screens in order to solve the puzzles.  You can play together in the same room or remotely through voice chat.  The average playtime for this game is about 2.5 hrs.

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The Stanley Parable

Rating:  97% by Google users.   Release date:  October 2013

Platforms:  Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux

Genre:  Adventure

If you’re looking for a good laugh, you might try The Stanley Parable.  In this game, you take on the role of a character named Stanley who works in an office building. He spends his days obediently monitoring data on his computer, until one day his screen goes blank.  He sets off to explore the building but finds that his coworkers have mysteriously disappeared.   

By means of a snarky narrator, you are told what to do as you wander through the abandoned building, which doors to open, which path to follow, etc.  However, you may choose to disobey the suggestions at any time, and the choices you make then become incorporated into the story. You will encounter different endings, depending on the choices you have made.  Each individual playthrough lasts about 30 minutes, and the game with all its endings can probably be completed in two to three hours.

Jackbox Party Pack

Rating:  9/10 on Steam.       Release date:  November 2014

Platforms:  Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, Apple TV

Genre:  Party

If you are looking for “board” games that you can play online with your friends and family, then check out Jackbox Party Pack.  It is a series of party video games that are available on many different platforms.  Every year starting in 2014, they have released a new installment, with each pack consisting of about five games.  They can be played in large groups of up to 8 players, and can accommodate more people as an audience.  Only one person needs to own or launch the game.  More information on how to play with friends and family remotely can be found on their website.

Stay Calm And Have Some Fun

We hope that we have inspired you to try something new.   If nothing else,  video games can provide you with a fun, but much-needed escape, from reality for even just a short time.  Ironically, it can even be a means to bring us together, while keeping us apart.  This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are hundreds of games out there for you to discover. There are even opportunities to earn playing crypto games or learn to use crypto through a blockchain gaming platform. And who knows?  When we finally come out of self-isolation, you may be able to add ‘gaming’ to your list of achievements. 

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