I've always played video games, but since deciding to spend the rest of my life with a gaming-obsessed Canadian, my interest in the industry has definitely... levelled up. I've gone from casual gaming to consuming some form of game-based media every day; whether that be listening in on Sean's chosen podcasts or hearing him rave about upcoming titles, to putting in hours on my all-time favourite console - the Nintendo Switch. I've been a bit stuck for blog-post inspiration this past week, so I decided to borrow from Sean and write about games.
Like a lot of people, I grew up on kid-friendly classics like Pokémon and Crash Bandicoot, as well as some less popular titles. I will always maintain that Rugrats in Paris on PS1, Shrek 'Hassle at the Castle' for Gameboy Advance & Finding Nemo on Xbox 360 were GREAT. GAMES. I was never particularly skilled at gaming (although I could always kick my Dad's ass at Tekken 3)... despite the hours I sunk into Pokémon Silver on my Gameboy Colour I could never progress past the Sudowoodo blocking the path in Goldenrod City (if you know, you know!)... but I was always enthusiastic. I'd like to say that my taste in games has matured since I was a kid, but honestly, I still lean towards cutesy titles. I often judge games 'by their cover' and until last year, I never made an effort to keep up with new releases.
That being the case, if your taste in games is anything like mine, here's a not-very-current round-up of five of my all-time favourites:
1 | ANIMAL CROSSING NEW LEAF: Animal Crossing is my favourite game... although it almost feels like a disservice to call New Leaf a 'game' when it offers you a whole new world with daily 'tasks' you can dip into for years at a time. You play as the mayor of a town where all of your neighbours are adorable, anthropomorphic animals. As major, you can spend hours fishing and catching bugs which you can sell to pay off your mortgage or donate to your local museum's collection. You can create new public ordinances, build benches and fountains around your town or build local amenities like a coffee shop & a police station. There's an island where you can play mini-games, 100s of clothing and furniture items to collect (that include references to Mario, Zelda & Metroid!) and seasonal events to enjoy. It's relaxing, charming and I am awaiting Animal Crossing for Switch with baited breath. Available on: Nintendo 3DS.
2 | ZELDA BREATH OF THE WILD: I love this game so much I actually feel emotional when people talk about it, like a proud parent. I'm not exaggerating, to me it's perfect and it took most outlets 'Game of the Year' awards last year so I'm not alone in my sentiments. It's worth pointing out here that unlike my love for the Animal Crossing franchise, I am not a die-hard Legend of Zelda fan, I haven't played any of the 2D games and have dabbled in Ocarina of Time but never completed it. This was the first game in the franchise to win me over, I sunk 170 hours into BOTW and haven't even completed the latest DLC yet. I won't dive into plot points or what you can expect too much as there's tonnes of information to be found elsewhere, but here's my glowing recommendation. Please play this game. Available on: Nintendo Switch & Wii U.
3 | DREAM DADDY: Last year I was struck down with the flu for the second time, and Sean treated me to Dream Daddy to cheer me up. Dream Daddy is a dating simulator, where you play a Dad who's just moved to a new town with his teenage daughter and discovered that the town is full of dateable daddys. Your one goal is to romance your way around town, scoring dates with the help of 'Dadbook'. It's honestly amazing! The theme song is catchy, the colours are kitschy, the stories are endearing and if you have a successful date aubergine emojis fly at the screen. What's not to like! In addition to all of this, Dream Daddy is inclusive. When building your character you can choose to be transgender, one of the Dad's you date is transgender and you have the option to choose whether or not your daughter is biological or adopted. Whilst these topics are referenced in the game, they aren't overdone or sensationalised. If you are looking for a fun, quirky and heartwarming game (or are curled up on the sofa dosed up on cold & flu) - definitely give Dream Daddy a go. You could blast through this game in a weekend but if you're anything like me, you'll want to date all the Dad's just to see each story line play out. Available on: PC.
4 | OVERCOOKED: After years of gaming, this is one of only two co-op games Sean & I have ever completed together... the other being the relationship-testing Super Mario 3D World (there was *lots* of fighting over Tanooki costumes). In Overcooked, you're dropped into a kitchen and your goal is to make meal requests for hungry patrons within a time limit. Sounds simple enough but the addition of an Onion King, blow-torched turkeys, slippery ice and flaming truck-kitchens make this a riot of a game that I would recommend to anyone. Plus, if you're not a confident gamer, the controls are easy to pick up! Available on: Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation & PC.
5 | THE WOLF AMONG US: OK, so this one doesn't really fit my 'cutesy' gaming aesthetic but did I mention I also love 'spooky', horror related things? As Sheriff Bigby Wolf (The Big Bad Wolf) you set out to investigate a brutal murder in 'Fabletown' with Snow White at your side. The game mechanics are 'choice and consequence' so you get to shape the evolution of the story you're playing. If you've not tried this style of game before, it's great fun and accessible, there are only a few challenging moments that a less-adept gamer (like me!) might stumble on (...I made Sean do those bits). Based on the comic 'Fables', The Wolf Among Us references classic fairy tales alongside gritty and gory gameplay, making this a truly unique experience. Available on: Xbox, PlayStation & PC.
What's your favourite game?