Play these four essential video games in college

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

Everyone is going to have their own adventure in college. Whether it be a great time of emotional maturity in readying oneself for the chaotic juggling act of being a responsible adult, a time of wondrous exploration of personally fascinating academic subjects free from the constraining linearity of high school or a four-year period of 10:30 p.m. runs to the convenience store for Mega-Stuf Oreos strife with personal guilt and shame at what you have become. All in all, a great time for everyone!

Nonetheless, no two experiences will be the same, but you can definitely find solidarity with your personal triumphs and failures during college with this neat list of video games that are ideal for the college student.

There is no other feeling than that late night vibe while deeply immersed in a good game. The familiar hum of the air conditioner blaring outside, the other tune of the chirping crickets outside. A room only illuminated by the flare of onscreen colors, completely surrounding the scene in the game, either amidst a fiery conflict or a calming landscape. It only ends when you can’t think straight or day breaks, a completely healthy practice while being an active college student.

Not all of these games are directly related to college, but all encompass the coming-of-age essence of maturity and confronting responsibility/emotions that define college.

“Night in the Woods” (2017)
Probably the most directly-college-related game on this list, “Night in the Woods” is a fantastic little platformer driven by a grounded, touching narrative of a 20-year-old college dropout trying desperately to rekindle her teenage golden years amidst her Midwest-hometown friends moving on to bigger things. A strong, emotionally charged story of the transition to adulthood hits you with enough drama and witty humor to provide a great time. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and has a cast of characters all interesting and fitting in their own right. It deals with so many topics surrounding this awkward phase of college life, from friends moving on to finding what you truly value in life, that it is a must-play for those looking for a game to take a deep dive into.

“Coffee Talk” (2020)
Next, we have a game that manages to convey an even more grounded and realistic atmosphere despite having a fantasy twist thrown in. “Coffee Talk” is a barista simulator in a fictional version of Seattle, fictional in both being a city where fantasy creatures like vampires and elves live amongst the humans in complete normalcy as in how everyone is nice to each other. A chill, relaxing game that has you simply talking to patrons while serving drinks. Another game with a cast of characters that work perfectly together in conveying themes of finding oneself. A journalist with writer’s block trying to make the next big thing. An intern working hard to make the big leap up the corporate ladder. A cop trying his best to ease community tensions. It doesn’t matter that these characters are personified in ogres, wizards and alien creatures, rather how real your discussions with such are, and how you as the player would react in the shoes of a barista soaking in the atmosphere.

“What Remains of Edith Finch” (2017)
“What Remains of Edith Finch” is a complete beast of a game. A game that manages to run for only around two to three hours in length, yet conveys a story so powerful it stays with you years after the credits roll. It follows a young woman receiving her late mother’s inheritance, it being a single key to her childhood home. The journey back to her old house has her exploring the extensive family tree of the Finch family and the many relatives she never met. A simple concept executed fantastically. Its genius is in how every family member represents a different group of people so perfectly, from introverted daydreamers to hyper-stressed college students, it allows all walks of life to enjoy its wondrous story of family and tackling some of the more complex and hard to specify issues of mental health. It’s a tearjerker but the good kind.

“To the Moon” (2011)
Another game that tackles the themes of growing up and dealing with the hard-to-address stressors of life is “To the Moon,” a top-down narrative game with a retro art style reminiscent of 16-bit classics like Earthbound. The game follows a touching story of two scientists aiding a dying elderly man get his dream of going to the moon. A childish dream takes a grand turn toward an exploration of growing up and finding what really matters to you in your final days. It’s a sad game, as in mega-sad moments that can make the most hardened of players get emotional. Still, it is a positive message packed in a great coming-of-age lesson. It is a relatively short game, the length of a feature film, and nearly as cinematic in its presentation. A great recommendation for anyone looking for a great game about learning to really appreciate how beautiful life can be in its most harsh moments.

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