Culture Crash: Getting Lost In The World Of Videogames


For the last few weeks, I’ve been highlighting books, movies and TV that can help fill hours of downtime as we all shelter in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but, truth me told, the thing I have found that most reliably burns through hours of my time has been video games.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, both of which are Nintendo Switch games. Both games feature open worlds, allowing players to explore every nook and cranny of their expansive maps and plenty of hidden objects to hunt for, which has often led me to finally picking my head up out of the game world only to realize several hours had gone by since I last came up for air.

Of course, millions of others are playing Call of Duty, Madden, Fifa, Batman, Spider-man, Skyrim, and countless other games to similar results, but one of the most popular games right now is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a new title for the Nintendo Switch, which is billed as a life simulation game. By some strange force of circumstance, this latest Animal Crossing game could not have come at a more perfect time, as it literally serves as an island escape for gamers stuck in their own homes by a viral pandemic. The game even lets up to eight friends virtually visit someone’s island, which is more than we can say about our ability to visit each other’s physical homes right now.

If none of those modern games tickle your fancy, retro titles like Tetris, Pac-man, Super Mario and Sonic are readily available to be played online and a whole host of game consoles. For years, parents and significant others have been talking people out of playing video games, reminding them that there are more productive things they could be doing. For as long as we’re stuck inside, though, that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

I’m Evan Rook