Welcome back to the final part of the Gamers’ Guide to Isolation, a short series here at Later Levels put together to help you through the current time of social distancing. After three weeks being indoors, it’s important we continue to look out for each other.
On Monday we looked at releases to make you feel like you’re outside even though you’re indoors, ones which give you the chance to stretch your digital legs and take a long hike, gentle stroll or relaxing bike-ride. Then on Wednesday, we discussed games you can play even while you’re meant to be working from home – because let’s face it, we all need something to give us a few minutes’ break from looking at spreadsheets or listening in on conference calls that go on for far too long.
So what have we got lined up for the last day of the series? With the help of my awesome blogger-friends, we’ve put together a list of titles to make you feel as though you’re hanging out with friends even though we’ve all been told to stay at home. The isolation part of dealing with COVID-19 is perhaps the hardest part for a lot of people and there’s no need to go through it alone! If you fancy some company, grab one of the following games and let’s hang out.
Don’t Starve Together
“Don’t Starve Together is the multiplayer version of Klei Entertainment’s glorious and hugely irritating Don’t Starve. An unforgiving and incredibly rewarding experience of crafting, surviving, fighting off giant badgers while you harvest honey. The amount of content they’ve made available over the years is staggering. The game takes this joy a step further, allowing you to survive and gather resources with your friends. I’m not sure what the current player limit is, but it used to be six. There’s spelunking, mystery, danger and cries of ‘What the heck was that noise!?’ throughout.”
“The objectively correct answer, of course, would be to go online and actually play with your friends! But I don’t
have any friends like big multiplayer games, so we have to look for an alternative. Also, social gatherings are forbidden, for now, so let’s take a look at games I have played with friends – offline.
“Insaniquarium Deluxe. Yes, it’s just a stupid little clicker game, but it’s a stupid little clicker game I hold dearly. At some point, both of my sisters played it (probably their only video game ever), and my brother-in-law (he was still one of my sisters’ boyfriend back then) played it too. The four of us would constantly race to unlock all the pets, grow our virtual fish tank (which was done in ‘real-time’ over a couple of weeks) and to find all the pets’ backstories.
“I also played all three Dark Souls games for the first time alongside two friends, who were veterans. So I would struggle throughout the games, while they’d be in NG++, and sometimes watch via the Steam broadcast to mock me or give me some hints. But let’s be honest here, they usually mocked me.”
“You’re never alone with friends by your side and video game characters can absolutely feel like real friends. If you’re looking for some fine virtual friends I can say Commander Shepard and Pathfinder Ryder know how to attract the coolest companion life forms! BioWare’s Mass Effect series is the absolute pinnacle of perfection when it comes to companion character creation. You will get to know all the characters like family throughout the expansive space story. The beloved Mass Effect buddies will always stay by your side no matter what horrible fate is befalling the galaxy, all while cracking sarcastic jokes and probably flirting with you. If that’s not true friendship, I don’t know what is.”
Mass Effect (again)
Suggested by The Gaming Diaries
“There are plenty of times that you can play games with your friends through online multiplayer, however you can also make friends with the characters in game. The characters can become your friends and make you feel a part of something bigger, or just part of a family that you didn’t know you needed to find. A series of games that have made me feel like is Mass Effect. Throughout the trilogy and Andromeda, you meet fascinating characters who become a part of your crew and so much more than just teammates. You have the characters like Liam who try to keep the spirits up, Garrus who is your buddy, Joker who is always there to make you laugh, Mordin who brings the science and the songs, Tali who is a bit of a dreamer and wise beyond her years and so many more. Each of them becomes a member of the Shepard / Ryder crew but they start becoming their friends and yours along the way. I formed such attachments to these characters, gained a bit of understanding to the ones I didn’t like as much, but I wouldn’t want to be without them. Sometimes you don’t need real world people to make you feel like you are together. Sometimes the characters on screen can make us feel like we are hanging out together as well.”
“The simplicity of being able to leave a realm up for your group to join and leave as they want to is a perfect remedy for the loneliness. Working on projects or simply surviving with friends is fun enough, but within my group, things go south quickly and everyone becomes pranksters. With how open and freeing Minecraft is, you can truly express your personality in what you do. Talking to and playing games with your friends is one thing, but watching them play something as they want to and work on what they enjoy is a reward in itself!”
No More Room in Hell
“Heck, I could have picked out one of many online games that my friends and I have played over the years, but I think the community-made No More Room in Hell takes the prize here, not only because it’s a game that (despite its bugs and flaws) we keep coming back to, but also because it’s a game that makes me really feel as though I’m hanging out with friends. To survive you really have to work together as a strong team which means constant chat, planning, inventory swapping, and keeping an eye on everyone in the group. This isn’t a run-and-gun loose collection of people all kind of doing their own thing, in NMRiH players need to plan, cover each other, co-ordinate ammo types, and oh so slowly pick their way through a bleak zombie apocalypse. It’s this constant communication mixed up with general chat in the quiet moments that shrink the miles between us all sat in our respective homes. “
The Elder Scrolls Online
“I started playing The Elder Scrolls Online on my own back in December 2015 but it wasn’t long before I realised it was much more fun with friends. First, I persuaded my other-half to play and we could be found adventuring through the wilds together most evenings; then we began to play with Tim and Jake from Timlah’s Texts & Unity3D Tech. We ended up meeting up online with these guys and Phil every Tuesday during our GameBlast20 streams and it was great hanging out with them online each week.”
And that’s the final part of our Gamers’ Guide to Isolation done! Thank you so much to all my blogger-friends who took part and helped put this series together. Please do take care of yourselves and your loved-ones, and let’s keep the conversation going.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.