By: Amy Morrison
Since the quarantine set 8 months ago, the task of finding things to do to pass the time has become quite difficult. Because so much focus has been on the ways we can pass our time while indoors, video games have become a much bigger focus of general life. For many, video games have always been a large part of their routine, but in the world where we are constantly trying new things to disrupt the monotony of quarantine, video games have been given a whole new stage.
When quarantine first hit, Nintendo had just come out with their game Animal Crossing: New Horizons for their widely successful Switch console. The combination of a fresh game and a seemingly unlimited time indoors and alone gave way to an obsession. The game is defined as a “life simulation game” which could explain it’s rapid success and popularity. In the game, players can make a community from scratch on their own islands while also visiting their friends’ islands. The game’s ability to imitate a social life when reality was halted explains why it rose to such popularity in such a short period of time.
Later in the year, Animal Crossings was knocked from its throne as top game and was replaced by Among Us. Unlike Animal Crossings, Among Us was released in 2018 but did not gain a lot of popularity until around late August. The boom in popularity is traced back to popular gamers on Twitch, a streaming site, streaming them and their friends playing the game. As most people know by now, Among Us is a game about finding the imposter within a crew on a spaceship. As crewmates rush to do their tasks and win, the imposter, or imposters, rush to sabotage and kill everyone on board. If the crewmates finish their task or vote all the imposters off the ship before the imposters kill them all or completely sabotage the ship, the crewmates win. But if the imposters kill everyone or destroy the ship, they win.
Now while no one is disputing Among Us as the current most popular game, there is a new game moving up in the ranks. A new game called Phasmophobia was released in early access in September and has since caught the attention of many streamers. Since it’s release, big name gaming Youtubers such as Pewdiepie, Jacksepticeye, and Markiplier have already played the game multiple times. While Phasmophobia has nowhere near the popularity of Among Us, it did grab the attention of big Youtubers and streamers which is a good sign of its entertainment value. Since it is in early access, Phasmophobia is still being developed, but can be played by the general public.
This game is not for the faint of heart however. Phasmophobia, which means the fear of ghosts, is a ghost hunting game. The four players, who can communicate through the game, are ghost hunters who are hired to go to haunted locations, like houses, schools, and asylums, and determine what kind of ghost resides there. They can determine this through many different pieces of evidence such as seeing ghost orbs on cameras, the ghost writing in a journal, and the ghost talking to them through a radio. Each ghost can be characterized by three of these pieces of evidence, all with different stories and personalities. However, there’s a catch. The ghost can hunt and kill the players once they step into the location. Therefore, the players must race to find their evidence and identify the ghost, along with other optional objectives, before the ghost kills them. Once the players identify the ghost and log it in their journals they can get back to their base, and receive money for the job. With more experience and money, the players can do their objectives faster and better, buy more equipment, and harder maps to complete.
The one thing these games have in common is that they keep people occupied and entertained which is what is really important in these times. While the world struggles to right itself, those at home can still be entertained and bond with their friends through gaming.