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I took a look into some of the ways people are coping without sports as the video game world never disappoints!

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Gershon Rabinowitz, NHL 20, PlayStation 4

We’re a month into this very unfortunate Covid-19 pandemic, but we’re here for you as we present some virtual ways to get your fix!

Here’s how the staff has been staying occupied:

Ryan Real

I’ve been playing essentially two games for the last month: Animal Crossing (a lot) and Call of Duty: Warzone. I don’t think I need to talk much about Animal Crossing — it’s been impossible to avoid seeing on the Internet since (and before) it came out. With a newborn in the house, it’s been a godsend to be able to have a relaxing game I can pick up and put down. I’ve also been chipping away at Dragon Quest XI S for the Switch — it’s a great entry point for Japanese role playing games. Not too hard, lot of value, some of the worst puns you’ve ever seen.

Call of Duty: Warzone is a free battle royale game that, you guessed, is part of the Call of Duty series. I’ve never been a big COD guy, but I love battle royales (PUBG is an all-timer for me). So it’s another game that I play for small chunks of time, and you can’t beat the price tag of free. It also cribs all the innovations of battle royale predecessors like Fortnite (loot chests with audio cues) and Apex Legends (ping and respawns) with a hefty amount of polish. It’s good. It also helps that I’ve been playing Destiny 2 for the last two years and their stinker of this current season landed squarely with the birth of my kid. No FOMO for me.

If you’ve got an iPhone, Apple Arcade is a great low-risk bargain for these cooped up times. Roundguard came out recently is a fun roguelike-meets-Peggle game...Grindstone, Sayonara Wild Hearts and Assemble are great too.

Eric Seeds

So, I’m gonna talk about the two games I’ve played the most in the last calendar year. One of them is very good, one is the greatest game I’ve ever played.

During this quarantine period, I purchased Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on my Xbox One. San Andreas follows the story of Carl Johnson as he returns to his home in Los Santos (an obvious stand-in for Los Angeles) and traces his rise through the criminal ranks from local street guy to the head of the entire Los Santos criminal enterprise.

San Andreas is the typical GTA game: developed in 2004, it has a massive open world that players can explore while making their character as fit or as fat as they’d like. Customization includes character clothing, tattoos, vehicles. San Andreas received critical acclaim and remains the best selling PlayStation2 game of all time.

The other game I’ve played, also developed by Rockstar, is the single best video game I have ever played. The game? Red Dead Redemption 2. A prequel to the 2010 smash hit Red Dead Redemption, the story is set in 1899 and follows Arthur Morgan, a member of the notorious Dutch Van Der Linde Gang as the gang struggles to come to grips with an increasingly civilized world.

I have never, ever, in my life played a video game as beautiful and outstanding as this one. The world is massive, responds to your character depending on his morality, and is filled with more than enough side quests to waste all kinds of time. I beat the story to 100% completion and it took me a year and a half to do it (nearly 400 hours of actual gametime including side quests, hunting animals, tricking out the camp, and generally interacting with the NPCs).

As Arthur, you spend the game coming to grips with the decisions you’ve made as a gangster and building upon each decision you have made as the game crests into an emotional ending that brought me to actual tears as it was it happening. Gotta say, that’s a first for a video game.

RDR2 won game of the year from multiple publications, sold 29 million copies (including a staggering $725 million in sales opening weekend), and earned numerous awards for voice actor Roger Clark (who played Arthur Morgan).

Serious, this game is a masterpiece. The story starts incredibly slow, sure, but by the end you are begging for the story not to end. I’ve never had more fun, been more engrossed, and wanted to spend more time in a world than that of RDR2. I cannot recommend the game highly enough. I’ve never even touched the online component because I’ve never wanted to sully my memories of the actual storyline - it’s THAT perfect.

Go play RDR2. You’re welcome.

Pale Dragon

I‘m not a big gamer myself, but I did want to give a plug for a friend of mine, Ben Gellman, who is a former minor league radio announcer who now works on MLB The Show. With the MLB season delayed, Sony San Diego has been airing simulated games every Thursday. Ben records pre-game and post-game segments for those broadcasts. It’s one of the closest things we have to live sports at the moment.

Here’s a sample.

There is also a tournament featuring players from all teams. Check out the standings and schedules here.

William Chase

I’ve been playing MLB The Show 20 for PS4, and it serves its purpose as the only baseball at this time. March to October is a really cool mode where you can jump into any game throughout the course of the regular season, trying to win the game and earn subsequent momentum for your team.

The mode has you taking over a baseball game during key stretches of your team’s regular season, placing you into the batter’s box and on the field during a pivotal moment. Such as the bottom of the 7th inning with runners on and two outs. Sometimes you play the game as a particular player, only batting as that player and playing the field at his position.

I also wanted to share my friend’s Twitch stream, Beastmages. Among the games they do is ‘Pacifist Mario’ where you can’t kill any of the enemies or collect coins.

You’re basically playing the game as conservative as possibly. If you mess up, like if you collect a coin, you have to ‘take a sip’ of an adult beverage.

“We play on the Super Nintendo Super Mario All stars cartridge and play the original Mario game. Once we beat the game (using our rule set) we plan on posting a how to video to YouTube.”

House rules include:

“100 Pacifist Strike Limit - a strike per coin collected, injuring/killing a creature, more than 100 points on flagpole, warn beings of pitfalls in Mario/Luigi’s voice, every continue adds a strike that increases per continue, level warps are 15 pacifist strikes per world & convince Koopa off the bridge”.

For any iPhone and Apple users, GamePigeon is available from the App Store. I like beating my friends in Pool.

Another friend, Gershon Rabinowitz is playing out the Stanley Cup playoffs via NHL 20 on the PlayStation 4.

Here’s the NHL 94 version of Cam Atkinson scoring a hat trick against the Devils:

Gershon Rabinowitz, NHL 20, PlayStation 4
Gershon Rabinowitz, NHL 20, PlayStation 4
Gershon Rabinowitz, NHL 20, PlayStation 4

Nasher also played out some of his streams.

So there you have it. If you’re a gamer and looking to jump into the fun, there’s a variety of options available at your disposal across a myriad of consoles.