Very rarely are true battle-hardened gamers, whose bodies and minds are forged in the fires of the virtual world, asked to guide us in reality. Very rarely are these giants among men, these pinnacles of being, ushered into the light and called to save us. Life tragically offers far too few justifications for a 12-hour gaming session.
But these are dire times, friends, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention just asked us to stay inside. This COVID-19 quarantine has offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to game with purpose. No longer can you be shamed for sitting in your room alone for weeks on end! This is an introvert’s world now.
The time has come to get some snacks and turn your computer on. Need a few good recommendations? Let me, a time-tested gaming veteran, present some of the creme-de-la-creme of the virtual world.
Here are my top video games to get you through the COVID-19 quarantine.
#5 Plague Inc. Evolved, Ndemic Creations, 2016
What could be more enjoyable during the quarantine of a global pandemic than a game that actually lets you create and control your own global pandemic? Choose your disease vector, symptoms and resistances and watch the world succumb to your newly formed plague.
As a gaming veteran, I’ve sunk many an hour into “Plague Inc.” back before it evolved. Let me tell you, it’s worth a few bucks to watch Greenland fall into fire and chaos as your self-named prion disease, Buttcrabs27, forces the nation’s government to close from rampant and uncontrollable diarrhea. Recommended for casual players.
#4 Sid Meier’s Civilization V, Firaxis Games, 2010
“Civilization V” has a power over me. It made this list, despite being nearly a decade old, because it is truly one of the most engaging and long-standing games I own.
At its heart, “Civilization” is a turn-based nation building simulator where your people, selected from a pool of historically accurate nations, found territory in the ancient world and progress technologically and socially into a modern day society. You can choose your infrastructure, form a religion, control trade routes, declare war, form alliances and more. It is a strategy-simulation game for the seasoned PC gamer interested in history or culture. A single match takes 10-12 hours and more than qualifies as an official quarantine time-sink. Recommended for all players.
P.S. Why not put the sequel on this list? Because “Civilization 6” sucks. Period.
#3 Disco Elysium, ZA/UM, 2019
“Disco Elysium” is a brain-bending jolt of psychoactive and cryptic storytelling set in an old school isometric RPG styling. Psychological, political and mired in subtle humor, it is the story of an amnesiac police investigator who wakes up in a strange slum town with a murder to solve and an identity to find.
The game’s unique skill-progression system keeps track of the personality you cultivate. As the story progresses, your newly crafted persona could smash against your old identity and become either your salvation or your downfall. A game meant to be replayed, “Disco Elysium” offers a replayable time-sink to gamers looking for a story with narrative depth and strong role-playing qualities. Recommended for all players.
#2 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft Montreal, 2015
“Rainbow Six Siege” is a multiplayer shooter game in which players select from a pool of operators with unique gadgets and weapons to fight against other players in bomb defusal or hostage-rescue situations.
What makes the game so unique, and a perfect pick for our COVID-19 quarantine, is its well-polished system of map fortification. During the match players can either breach or reinforce walls, blow up ceilings, trap doorways and gain intel on enemy players using their operator’s unique abilities. This dynamic environment allows for fluid gameplay and a truly replayable experience as opposed to the stereotypically static shooters of the past.
I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a dynamic and challenging multiplayer shooter experience. Not recommended for casual players.
#1 Rimworld, Ludeon Studios, 2018
Start a colony of survivors, build a base, face the wilds, protect yourself from raiding tribesmen, skin and make hats out of captured raiders, sell them to space pirates for cocaine and firearms, start a war between two rival factions, become a king and die by a swarm of enraged desert tortoises.
This is just one of the many fates “Rimworld” presents to the randomly generated survivors of your newly formed colony. Care for them and watch them struggle to survive against the terrors of the unknown planet they crashed on. Each of them have their own personalities, passions and pet-peeves. Each of them could be the match that lights the whole thing ablaze.
“Rimworld” is an independent colony-building strategy-simulation game by Tynan Sylvester. At its heart, it is an infinitely replayable story generator that produces scenes of drama so outrageous, so downright human and so real you’ll forget the game’s storyteller engine made them.
“Rimworld” offers so many triumphs and tragedies that no description I could say would do it justice. With over 600 hours in the game, I can personally attest to its efficacy at wasting time. As such, “Rimworld” is my number one pick for best COVID-19 quarantine time-sink. Recommended for casual and experienced gamers alike.