In times of harsh winters, changing leaves and coffee, sweaters and all that dumb shit; you probably don’t have time to play video games. Well, many of us at the Stony Brook Press wish to offer some brief cop-out time that can be fulfilling. Below is a list of games that don’t take a heavy investment to enjoy. So enjoy.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – Taylor Knoedl
It’s a multiplayer game between your left and right hand that demonstrates the importance of being whole not just in a video game, but in life. The wholeness isn’t within one person, but two people who must work together when they are put in a situation where they only have each other. Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it? Crazy.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a brief A-to-B adventure game with puzzles that revolve around this separate hand/separate character concept. At its most basic form, one brother is big and the other is small—thus, each character has their own role in the environment they must overcome.
The younger brother will often be pitted into ridiculously scary situations because of his stature. Because he’s smaller, situations arise where a tight-space must be filled, or a frail root must be clung onto (despite root monsters attacking from a cliff wall). The other guy is just too big, even if he’s brave.
Brothers is a game about desperate measures. It’s about suddenly being thrust into your role because you’re needed. It doesn’t matter how fierce the world is, you are in it and all you have (in this case) is your brother. You two need to work together and overcome any doubt.
It also can be completed in less than eight hours. Solid semester game.
Sunless Sea – Kyle Barr
I have seen three of my characters die in Sunless Sea, and none of those deaths were very pleasant to watch. One died of lack of fuel, only drifting along. In another, my crew cannibalized each other. In another a racketeer gang killed me and my crew for getting caught with an illicit box of souls. Every death is a learning experience, and every time you go out further, deeper into the unknown and deeper into madness.
Sunless Sea is a game of sailing in the dark reaches of the “Zee,” where Victorian London had fallen into an underground sea somewhere in between the surface and Hell. It is a game of the tiniest details, like the small notices that pop up to tell you of the smell of blood on the wind or a blue light far off in the distance, and the immense, like finding an island of warring rats and guinea pigs, where you MUST choose a side, or the slipping of your own sanity. The Zee is so endless, that when a character dies, it only means another opportunity to go out and explore in a different way.
As an open world game, it is perfect to play some, leave for a while, then come back to. There is always something new and interesting to see. The writing is just the perfect mix of black comedy and lovecraftian sensibilities. The sailing can sometimes get dull, and the ship is annoying to control in combat, but this game is perfect for anybody wanting to scratch that roleplay itch.
The Stanley Parable – Ian Schafer
This is the story of a man named Stanley, something you’ll be sure to know by the time you’ve restarted The Stanley Parable for the umpteenth time trying to find every last ending, grab all the achievements or go through that one door you noticed on your last playthrough but skipped over. A first-person exploration game in the style of Gone Home or Dear Esther, The Stanley Parable is ideal for the semester’s limited playtime. Spend 20 minutes with the game and you’re bound to discover something you didn’t find in your last 20 minute session, all while feeling accomplished that you’ve “finished” at least one of the game’s potential plots. In the end, it shouldn’t take more than four hours of playtime to get all of the “reasonable” endings. I say reasonable because there’s a few that require some surreal nonsense to achieve, but nonetheless are totally achievable with dedication and a Google Search.
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