At-home activities such as relaxing video games have become the go-to for entertainment over the past couple of months. As countries around the world began to issue varying levels of quarantine, Steam had a record-breaking of 22 million users online in mid-March. Quarantine has many of us diligently staying at home to assist in improving public health. But, this prompts us to become a little more creative when curing our cabin-fever boredom. If you can empathize with this feeling, video games may just be the solution for you.
This rise in video games is not entirely surprising. Games of all types are a great distraction from the world and can serve as a way to relax. Some people may argue that video games add to stress. Yet, research performed by Anne Porter and Paula Goolkasian suggests otherwise. Below, these researchers explain their findings:
“The type of video game had an effect on stress outcomes, and we found that fighting game players showed a cardiovascular stress response after gameplay while puzzle game players did not. However, fighting game players also reported higher levels of positive emotions after gameplay.”—Anne Marie Porter and Paula Goolkasian (2019)
In essence, the physiological effects of video games are not necessarily negative, but can be a positive. Another research project tested the affect of casual gaming on mood. This experiment prompted participants to conduct a rigorous task, then take special tests which assessed their affective and cognitive states. The participants took an initial test as a baseline, competed the task, took the test again, played a specific casual game–and then took the test a third time. Their findings were quite interesting.
“Playing a casual video game even briefly can restore individuals’ affective abilities, making it a suitable activity to restore mood in response to stress. However, future research is needed to find activities capable of cognitive restoration.”—Michael Rupp, R. Sweetman, A. Sosa, J. Smither, D. McConnell (2017)
In light of this, if you should find yourself a bored or a little on-edge, maybe try out a couple relaxing video games. There are numerous video games out there to try and many are beginner-friendly. The following list of video games are perfect for beginners, are offered on common/various platforms and cater to different types of people.
PC | Playstation 4 | Xbox One | Nintendo Switch | Wii U | Android
Pick-up your pickax and hoe to create your own pixelated farm in Pelican Town. Left to you in your grandfather’s will, this farm is now your escape from a monotonous, city desk job🌱 Build relationships with the townspeople and discover all of Pelican Town’s.
The comforting farmer’s life will having you whistling away as you plant tomatoes, turnips and more in this game inspired by Harvest Moon. With its beautiful soundtrack, it will pull you away from the stressors of the everyday. All that exists will be your character and their crops. Stardew Valley is the perfect option for those who love an atmospheric experience and have a completionist mindset.
PC | Xbox One | Nintendo Switch
This action-platformer is stunning with hand-painted environments and a soothing soundtrack 🎧 After a foreboding being takes the light from the forest of Nibel, the forest slowly begins to wither away. Ori must persevere and learn new skills to save Nibel from darkness.
Ori and the Blind Forest is the perfect combo of healthy challenges and rich story line. The puzzles and music are much-welcomed distractions from the world. This game is a great choice for the new gamer with its simple skills tree and slightly-challenging mechanics.
PC | Playstation 4 | Xbox One
Create a virtual life among the world of Sims–a popular role-playing and simulation game. Live the life of a doctor, entertainer, master chef or world-renowned artist. In the world of the Sims, anything is possible from affording a multi-million dollar house to marrying your sole-mate 5 minutes into your first date 💋
The Sims 4 is a great game to help you unplug after work, with its endless possibilities and ridiculously hilarious aspects. While we have to stay indoors, our Sims can visit the park, go swimming and grab a Simspolitan with friends. The Sims 4 is wonderful for anyone who loved playing dolls as a kid, has a wild imagination or adores building their dream home.
In this top-down game, you will command an entire nation to gain knowledge and influence across the world 🌎 Dabble in politics and engage in wars against Germany, the US, Japan and more. With each acquired nation, you are that much closer to complete world-domination.
This game is great for anyone who loves history and strategy games like Risk. Civilization V offers a way to occupy your active brain by challenging you to always think two steps ahead. While we can’t control what goes on in th real world, we can control the nation of our choosing in Civilization V.
PC | Playstation 4 | Nintendo Switch
Follow Ryza and her friends as they adventure beyond their childhood island home. In this Japanese role-playing game, you will fight monsters, learn alchemy and discover the hidden secrets of a long-forgotten but powerful nation 🧪 This colorful and go-lucky game is a perfect choice for anyone needing a bit of cheering-up.
The overall positive feel of this game is enough to qualify it as a great quarantine video game. The game offers challenges but prioritizes adventure and discovery above all else. Even the enemies are cute little fairies, amethyst monsters and blue blobs.
PC | Playstation Models | Xbox One/360 | Nintendo Switch
Nirn is full of beauty, detailed characters and dungeons. But the land of Skyrim has fallen into civil war. Will you take a side or favor the path of neutrality? Will you become an expert thief or a knight of high regard? Your story will play out as you fight fay, search for gold and adventure through the gorgeous mountains of Skyrim ⚔️ If you love the idea of adventure and becoming completely engrossed into a fictional world, this is the perfect game for you.
Skyrim has enough story and quests to keep one occupied all year long. Even if you complete the main story line, the different character types and play styles create unlimited replay value. Skyrim’s picturesque environment and ambient sound is enough to put even a dragon at ease.
World of Warcraft (WOW) is a long-running, massive multiplayer game which takes place in Azeroth–home to a variety of races such as gnomes, trolls, draenei, blood elves and more 🧝♀️ Constant clashes between the Hord and Alliance factions has torn these races apart–creating war. You must chose a side and fight. Explore the massive online world of innumerable creatures, quests, raids and mythics. This game is especially good for someone who favors collaboration and playing with their friends.
Online multiplayer games are wonderful for getting your friends together. WOW is all about its gaming community and cooperative play. Though we have to practice social distancing from our friends, we can sure as hell quest through Azeroth together! WOW is even free to play up to level 20 if you just want to try it out.
There you have it, 7 relaxing video games that are perfect for occupying yourself during quarantine. Video games can act as a healthy way to decompress and distract oneself from the stressors of current times. While we do not want to necessarily forget the world around us, it is advantageous to give ourselves a break once in awhile.
Let me know if you found this list to be helpful! Or, if there are any other games that you have picked up during quarantine, let me know in the comments below.