The end of the pandemic appears to be in sight, and with it comes the somewhat daunting task of re-entering the world and interacting with a lot of people again. If you’re like me, you’ve found the homebody opportunities of the pandemic to actually be rather nice, and you might be feeling more than a little anxious about potentially going back out and being around people. It’s important to remember: you don’t have to go out once the world opens again if you don’t want to.
But for those of you ready-but-scared to take on the great ‘outside,’ this list of the top five games to help ease the transition will help you feel a little more prepared to re-enter the world.
Starting off at number five is World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment. WoW is an amazing game in general, and it’s extra perfect for helping you get back into the swing of interacting with others and leaving the comfort of your home. The wild quests and creatures you’ll meet along the way in your WoW journey will help you prepare for whatever you find when you start to go out and about again.
In fourth place is Rust from Facepunch Studios. If you’re looking for something that’ll prepare you to face the outside world even more than WoW, Rust is the game for you. It’s notoriously hard to survive in-game since practically everyone else is trying to kill you. If you can master the ins and outs of Rust, you’ll have no problem facing the rest of humanity when the pandemic comes to an end. It’s a brutal game, but it’ll get you ready for the outside world, for sure.
Coming in at number three is Night in the Woods from Infinite Fall. Night in the Woods is a wonderful mix of relaxing and adventurous. As you travel through the game as Mae, spending time with her friends and family and unraveling the mysteries of her hometown, you’ll find yourself enjoying some light socializing with other characters and feeling at home in the amazingly designed setting.
There’s also a fair amount of work done in this game around understanding mental health, as the characters are all going through their own personal mental health concerns which feed into how the story progresses. You’ll find yourself dealing with your own mental concerns as Mae works through her troubles. This game is great any time, but it’ll be especially helpful as we all try to navigate being out in the real world once again.
In second place is Oxenfree from Night School Studio. Oxenfree is a supernatural adventure into the lives of a few teenagers on an island teeming with mysteries. Not only will you navigate the island and its supernatural concerns, you’ll also navigate social situations of varying degrees of intensity. The game’s visual design will make you want to get back out and explore the wild, and the in-game conversations will help prepare you to interact with more and more people as the world opens back up. If you haven’t played Oxenfree yet, you should definitely play it to prepare for post-pandemic life.
And coming in at number one is Animal Crossing: New Horizons from Nintendo. AC: NH is basically the defining game of the pandemic, and as much as it’s helped us get through this insane time, it’s also poised to help us get out and about again. This game has everything you need to get used to interacting with people again: plenty of space, limited interactions, and enough characters around to slowly build you up to being out in public again. For post-pandemic success, it doesn’t get better than Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
None of us know for sure what life is going to be like after the pandemic has come to an end. One thing we know for sure, though, is that playing some life-simulation games will prepare us for whatever the future has in store.
If you’ve been feeling any type of way about what the post-pandemic world will mean for you, any of the games on this list will help you prepare for the uncertain future we have coming up.