You’re probably wondering why you’d spend your free time doing anything else other than gaming. Okay, even if your Steam library is already full of games that you purchased for $3 and never played, here are some daring new ventures that may have you putting that controller aside for just that bit longer.
1) BOOK: Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)
Not a reader? Then let this be the one book you finish all decade. It’s the year 2044 and reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
If reading really isn’t your thing, then don’t despair. Ready Player One is set to be released as a movie in 2018. With Spielberg at the helm and John Williams as the composer, this is bound to be some tasty fare!
2) WEB SERIES: Video Game High School
Physics is out. First Person Shooters are in. “Brian D” joins up at Video Game High School to find that in order to beat the school bully, win the girl of his dreams and keep his scholarship, he has to be the best FPS player he can be.
Season 1 had me entertained and enjoying the many nuances that gamers could appreciate. But it wasn’t until season 2 and 3 that I suddenly realized that this was now my most binge-watched series. And for good reason too. The writing matured with each episode and I loved the idea that the different genres of gamers became much like the Houses that we saw in Hogwarts. The stereotypes were hilarious: FPS players all had the best cutting-edge technology while the social gamers were stuck in a basement somewhere wearing overalls and playing over a 56k modem. The LOLs are aplenty. I think I even shed a few tears. Cast includes Johanna Braddy (Quantico) and Zachary Levi (Chuck).
3) WEBSITE: High Scores
Bandcamp’s monthly update that’s aptly named “High Scores” profiles video game soundtrack composers. Much like a movie score, a game’s soundtrack is a good portion of the main experience whether you notice it or not. So it’s great to see some attention given to the composers who often play an important role in giving a developer’s work such flavour.
My husband is a school band director and reports that kids are now coming into his band just so they can play “video game music”. It’s much to his chagrin but I keep telling him that game music has come so far from the midi sounds that used to accompany 8-bit software. Think Skyrim, Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Even indie developers such as Giant Squid (Journey and Abzû) and Amanita Design (Machinarium) have music that is evocative enough to be played long after you’ve clocked their games. Sorry Mozart. Hello Jim Guthrie.
4) APP: Zombies! Run
Let’s face it. All of us could use more exercise, right? Why not game and exercise at the same time? Zombies! Run has story missions that place you in the shoes of “Runner 5”, an average joe who’s sent on missions to collect items in a world riddled with zombies. To dodge the zombies, you have to outrun them by increasing your pace in the real world (the app supports GPS and/or pedometer mode). The items you successfully collect can be used to outfit your base which you can see in the app. The brilliant storytelling and audio design can have you running in a panic, forgetting that you’re actually burning calories. In fact, I have had such a great time with this app that I’ve been known to play an extra mission here and there just to keep the story going.
Zombies! Run is available on Apple and Android devices.
5) WEBSITE: itch.io
If video games are art, then itch.io is the collection of dreams that turn into art. It’s an open marketplace for indie digital creators whether they’re a game dev, musician, artist or writer. Included in the collection are games of many prices, including some intriguing free ones. Barbershop Simulator, Ancient Warfare 2 and Wrestling with Emotions are just some of the offerings in this virtual buffet. Scroll through the list and you’re bound to find something that piques your interest or makes you smile!
What do you think of this list? Would you add anything to it? Is there something you’ve discovered that you think gamers should know about? We’d love to know! Comment below!