A personal blog on gaming, travel and fiction. The author lives half in China and half in the US.
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For the game version of all the wild things we’ve experienced in pandemic life, try the browser runner game 2020 Game. Well, it’s mostly a runner, but as the year gets stranger, there are more platformer challenges, more objects to … Continue reading...
For the game version of all the wild things we’ve experienced in pandemic life, try the browser runner game 2020 Game. Well, it’s mostly a runner, but as the year gets stranger, there are more platformer challenges, more objects to dodge and everything just gets harder and harder, from all directions.
For a cheery, cuter game around pandemic life, Plays.org has a new Fight Virus hospital game. In this one, just click the cute little corona germs to clear them away, keeping your adorable little hospital clear. Click the patients to help them check in and then help them recover and keep your ward clear for incoming patients.
This game uses the usual increasing mechanics of a time-management sim, so eventually you’re in a race against time and covid, clicking to clean and care for patients as fast as possible. The game ends, distressingly, when there are just too many patients and too much covid in the hospital to keep the game going. But it’s a cute browser game, so players can just try again to play for longer next time.
There are also other cute simulation games, when you’re just looking for a fun, light time-management distraction without a reminder of covid cleaning.
For a mood game of pandemic isolation and confusion, I liked Doublespeak Games’ A Dark Room. This is a simple, text-based resource game set in an eerie woods, with exploration as one of the key themes. A lot of this game relies on countdown meters and clicking for more resources, which is often one of my least favorite mechanics, but it helps give a sense of time passing. I enjoyed discovering both the creepy, dark forest and the survival improvements my builder could make. Still, there’s a certain amount of clicking and waiting involved in discovering this gameworld, at least until I’d drawn enough villagers to my settlement. The click, wait, discover cycle in the browser version of this game also works really well if you’re doing a boring WFH task in another window, I’m just saying…
There’s a lot to discover in this deceptively simple game. All the slightly-off bits of descriptive text add up to a surprising storyline.
For the opposite feeling, try the sweet puzzle game from eyezmaze, Grow Recovery. If you’ve played any of the cute Grow games, you’re familiar with the basic rules: players have a collection of items to add to the scene. Each item interacts with the existing items in interesting ways, and you’ll need to find the best order so that each item is used well to solve the challenge. Of course, many of the “wrong” interactions are great fun to watch, too.
Grow Recovery adds a comforting little narrative to the Grow game formula, showing an exhausted little figure in need of healing. Each of the items available will make him feel better in a different way: Choose a blanket for him, and he’ll wrap himself up. Choose a friend to cheer him up, and the friend will help heal him. The blanket levels up into a pillow and a bed, making him extra comfy, and with some food, the friend will cook a nourishing meal for your exhausted little guy. (Spoiler: None of the healing actions involve shopping online for self-care products) All the interactions make an adorable mini-sim for your phone, creating a quick mobile game that will leave you feeling comforted and recovered.
Finally, in the eleventymillionth month of isolation, the multiplayer Among Us is perfect for playing with friends. Rounds are quick, as you rush around doing goofy space tasks, and trying to find the murderous imposter. At least one crewmate is an imposter, determined to kill the rest of the crewmates without getting caught. After each death, the remaining players can vote on who the imposter could be, a bit like playing Mafia, but with a Spaceteam kind of aesthetic. I’ve written before about how much ridiculous fun this game is. Even if you lose, you get to scream at friends (or strangers!) and call them imposters.
WorkBro just sent me this so I could answer the question and help him finish his crossword. On one hand, it reminds me of being back in the staffroom together between classes. But also, the mortifying ordeal of being known.
WorkBro just sent me this so I could answer the question and help him finish his crossword. On one hand, it reminds me of being back in the staffroom together between classes.
But also, the mortifying ordeal of being known.
10 years ago, I warned Harold what sharing an office with me would be like. Meg: I’m listening to all my bad music before you come work with me! Harold: Oh, that’s ok, I’m pretty laid back with music. Meg: … Continue reading →
10 years ago, I warned Harold what sharing an office with me would be like.
Meg: I’m listening to all my bad music before you come work with me!
Harold: Oh, that’s ok, I’m pretty laid back with music.
Meg: You only say that because you haven’t heard my awesome Lady Gaga / ABBA mix tape.
Harold: Yeah… I might not be that laid back.
Source: Mix Tapes | Simpson’s Paradox
I mean, yes, there are some extremely good reasons why you shouldn’t start dating someone at work, but I think working a couple game crunches with my future husband was pretty good practice for pandemic lockdown.
Two years ago, when we were looking for this apartment, we were so close to renting a different one. It was pretty, sunny, close to the train, and pretty cheap, but also a smallish walkup with no dishwasher. We talked … Continue reading →
Two years ago, when we were looking for this apartment, we were so close to renting a different one. It was pretty, sunny, close to the train, and pretty cheap, but also a smallish walkup with no dishwasher. We talked about how much money we could save living in slightly cramped apartment, and decided that we weren’t home all that much, we didn’t cook all that much and we could hand wash dishes to save money on rent.
I was completely shocked when they turned us down, and asked the broker if we had some kind of problem with our credit score or rental history. He said that the owner didn’t want to rent it to us because we were not married. When I explained that we actually are married, and that I had said this on the application form, and that women aren’t legally required to change their names, and what year is it, anyway? he said I could submit our marriage license for reconsideration.
So then I took a picture of our marriage certificate, and my left hand wearing my wedding ring, and with my middle finger out and pointing to the 2015 date on the paper, because it’s not actually the 1950s anymore. Harold talked me out of sending that photo but he could not talk me into calling that broker back, and then I found this apartment on my own, and I forgot about the whole thing.
Anyway, that’s why we ended up not spending the pandemic in a cramped apartment handwashing dishes three times a day and walking five flights down to the laundry room, all conveniently located near the job I don’t have any more.
In the craziness of 2020, I realize how lucky I am to spend another winter break playing stupid games with my formerly-work friends. It’s a nice bit of normalcy in pandemic life, because for the last few years, we’ve played … Continue reading...
In the craziness of 2020, I realize how lucky I am to spend another winter break playing stupid games with my formerly-work friends. It’s a nice bit of normalcy in pandemic life, because for the last few years, we’ve played Civ and other games together over our teaching breaks. Now that we’re not coworkers anymore, it’s extra nice to catch up, play together and just spend time laughing with good friends.
Also, I’m going to make a careful sneaky plan, and kill them all.
I’m not saying that all I do in lockdown is read thrillers, but… I have new thriller review up on News Break: Social Creature, by Tara Isabella Burton, is a dramatic thriller about an intense, twisted friendship and about how … Continue reading...
I’m not saying that all I do in lockdown is read thrillers, but… I have new thriller review up on News Break:
Social Creature, by Tara Isabella Burton, is a dramatic thriller about an intense, twisted friendship and about how far someone might go to make it in Manhattan.
Louise “works as a barista at this coffee shop that turns into a wine bar at night, and also writes for this e-commerce site called GlaZam that sells knockoff handbags, and is also an SAT tutor.” Which is a perfect description of getting by in the city, endlessly busy and working all hours, but nothing that sounds like a career when you’re asked what you do, and nothing that leads to a career.
When she meets Lavinia, Louise is instantly pulled in. Lavinia is the other kind of busy in Manhattan. She’s constantly having amazing nights at amazing parties. Her nights out are the Met opera or an exclusive event, not the free night at the museum or beers at a friend’s apartment. She’s on an endless sabbatical from school, working on a novel that no one actually expects to see finished, while her parents pay for everything.
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