For those of us who enjoy living as natives of the North Eastern United States, Winter is a terrible time of year. The air hurts your skin, it gets dark far too early, and we have the pleasure of being coated with feet upon feet of snow! So that means there are many hours spent in front of the television playing video games and grinding out entire series on Netflix or Hulu. I’m a blizzard gamer, meaning I love a good snowed-in weekend with the old video game library. I often find myself playing more retro games during these time periods as the “snow day” encapsulates everything that was wonderful about being a kid, complete with grilled cheese and tomato soup. As we may see ourselves snowed in a little bit, here are the best games to stock up on before you have to dig your car out,.Just don’t forget the bread and milk.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Or any of them)
2011 was a magical year. Not only was it one of the best years for gaming in recent history, but it gave us Skyrim, who’s main game (without expansions) probably takes about 100+ hours to complete. It’s a game that has also embraced that Winter has already come and they’re living in it. Bethesda found a way to make the coldness of Skyrim creep through the screen. Whether your fighting mountain trolls or slaying giants or DRAGONS, Skyrim is captivating and eerily moody. Jeremy Soule’s beautiful soundtrack creates such an ambiance that you can easily be transported from your living room to Skryim for hours on end. It’s the perfect game to lock the door and lose a weekend to. Which is why it works great during a blizzard! You’re not going out, it’s just you and Skyrim and it can’t get much better. It’s also cinematic enough for people to get sucked into it even if they’re not playing. Though I don’t suggest you force anyone to watch you block rats in the sewers for a week to get your block skills up. In the end intense, long RPGs are the best to be trapped inside playing, and Skyrim is the king of its genre, as long as the heat and electricity stay on!
World of Warcraft
I’m going to play up a different angle with WoW on this one. Mostly everything said about Skyrim could easily fit for World of Warcraft. It’s huge, immersive, and is a perfect way to sacrifice a weekend. All great excuses to explain why that armchair is in the computer room. But how is it different than Skyrim? I believe the human interaction is what makes WoW desirable during a blizzard (pardon the pun). When there’s a foot of snow on the ground and you can’t get your car out of the driveway, WoW makes it so that you can chat and game with all your buddies (who also play WoW); because as we saw in Castaway, being alone for too long will make you talk to a volleyball. WoW may not only keep you occupied but also it will ensure that no sanity is lost while trapped inside. As long as you can survive on canned soups and white fudge Oreo then you should be ok. Just remember, World of Warcraft is heavily addictive, so you may actually be starting a bad (or GREAT) habit.
Super Mario Anything…
Mario is perfect for almost any occasion. I remember playing hours of Super Mario Galaxy during countless snowstorms in college. As a kid the Blizzard of ’96 ensured that we missed no fewer than six days of school, which equated to six glorious days of Super Mario World. Mario is easy to pick up and has enough to keep you busy, while still feeling fresh. The diversity in the types of stages and locales always make Mario games the perfect time killer. He’s also participative, so you can get the whole house playing. Mario also has enough games and works out perfectly for “marathon-ing”. Who doesn’t want to celebrate the winter with some cool ice stages! Last winter I cleared all of Super Mario All-Stars during a blizzard and it was glorious.
Final Fantasy Anything…
In the same vein as Skyrim and Mario, Final Fantasy is a wonderful time-slayer. What’s even better is that there are roughly 15 games to choose from (if you don’t want to play online). Each with its own unique charm (except II and XIII, they’re seriously bad), Final Fantasy can suit any mood. Since it’s also about the same as reading a book, it’s like killing two birds with one stone or meteor, rather. What I always wanted to do during a blizzard was start a new story, one that I could get fully lost in. Cracking open a new FF is a great way to check out a new world for a while. They’re also fully available, all of the FF games through 13 (except 12) are available for download on PSN. There’s also a great diversity of gameplay in this series so hopefully you’ll never get too bored. Some of the later Final Fantasy games have been great at embracing different climates as well, so if you want to go hang out around the ice caps you may feel a little closer to home! Also, who doesn’t want to play Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding?
Resident Evil – Remake/HD
What’s great about the news of a potential snowstorm this weekend for my native Long Island is that the 2002 remake of Resident Evil has been given an HD upgrade. I’m not sure if Graves agrees, but a good snow-in is a great time for some horror stuff. Resident Evil fits the bill. The 2002 remake was the definitive version of the game. Capcom made their survival-horror classic even creepier than before. Now that it’s easily accessible through PSN or XBL, you can witness this first hand. Just be sure to turn out the lights and turn the volume up! Resident Evil is the master or environmental and suspense-based horror. If you want to scare yourself just a bit during a bad nor’easter then this is the perfect game to do it. It’s also under 10 hours long, so you can complete it in a night if you’d like. Just don’t forget to get up in the AM to shovel the walk! I have spent many a snow day playing Resident Evil games, they always went together very well.
So there you have it! Five games (series) that will keep you busy as the mercury drops. I hope that everyone stays safe this winter, and if there is a blizzard in your town, hunker down with some great video games. Now I totally want to have a bad snowstorm….