I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who’s tired of hearing about the same three games all the time. For me, it’s probably that I don’t have friends to play those three games with. Maybe also seems that the many other games worthy of millions of players have fallen to the wayside. I’m not saying games like Among Us, Fortnite, et cetera aren’t great games (I wouldn’t know, I have no friends to play them with). I’m just here to let you guys know about a few good (PC) games for the casual* gamer, like me. Buckle up, this list may give you genre whiplash.
THE LONG DARK
In-game hours: 90
If you’re into survival games, this is a must-have. The Long Dark is probably the most unique survival game I’ve seen. Set on an island in a frozen Canadian wilderness, you not only have hunger, thirst, and the local wildlife to deal with, but the weather as well. There are so many survival games where zombies are the “x-factor,” so many games set in a jungle. This is the first I’ve seen set in the cold.
As a casual gamer, I go through waves of gaming. In the wave I’ve been riding for the last two weeks, I’ve logged 30 hours in this game. It is addicting. The story mode is compelling, though still incomplete. I finished what they’ve released in the story, but what’s gotten me those 30 hours is both the survival mode and the challenges. There are varying levels of difficulty for survival mode to suit everybody’s tastes (more than just easy, regular hard). The challenges also vary in difficulty.
There are so many things to love about this game. The artwork isn’t hyper-realistic like GTA, nor is it wildly distorted like Minecraft. It’s not about looking fancy or just being utilitarian; it’s about the art itself. The developers clearly take pride in their artists. And while an unfinished storyline isn’t my favorite thing in a game, they’re taking their time to create a cohesive and compelling story arc while maintaining quality art. I respect that immensely.
EASTSIDE HOCKEY MANAGER
In-game hours: 738
This one highlights my nerdiness. When watching hockey isn’t enough (and clearly it hasn’t been in the last 4-5 years since I bought this game), I manage it. Now, the thing about EHM is that if you want to have fun with it, you need to keep up with all of the player-created content, specifically the database that contains all real-life leagues, teams, players, et cetera. It also helps to have face and logo packs.
What’s gotten me to over 700 hours in the game is a lot of curiosity. Managing strictly in the NHL is interesting, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve learned a lot about other leagues from playing EHM. I played the Elite Ice Hockey League (UK) for a while, college hockey, Canadian Major Juniors, and dabbled just a little in Eastern European leagues. It may not be 100% accurate, but I’ve learned a lot about how other leagues operate and it gives a decent insight into how they compare to the NHL.
This is a game you can play while binge-watching Netflix. It doesn’t really require your full attention so you can jump in and out whenever you want. But, if this is your thing, you totally can. I definitely don’t utilize every single detail that’s been put into it. It can suck you in and keep you there for hours on end, whichever way you choose.
ROLLER COASTER TYCOON
In-game hours: 495 (Steam-era)
You probably haven’t heard that name since like 2001 and putting it on this list definitely qualifies me as a loser. I played this game when I was very young, and I was terrible at it. I have many fond memories of failing miserably and drowning my patrons while somehow having the best time ever. I don’t remember when or why I stopped, I only remember seeing it on Steam in college and my older brother gifting it and its two sequels (less good) to me for like $5. He still says it was the best gift he ever gave me (he’s not wrong).
So what makes this game so good? Besides the nostalgia, it’s a decent strategy game. There are so many levels in the game (with all the expansion packs) that even if you find one park or objective boring, there’s bound to be at least 10 others you find interesting. It’s obviously an old game and the graphics were never meant to be groundbreaking, which only adds to its charm. I’ve logged a stupid number of hours on RTC, mostly wasting my time in college. If you want a casual game, this is like the pinnacle.
- Rising World (67hrs)
- Subnautica (45hrs)
- Mist Survival (13hrs)
- Firewatch (5hrs)
- Life is Strange (12hrs)
- Bounty Train (28hrs)
Now, go forth and game. (But only casually.)
*”casual” loosely meaning you don’t play much and don’t take what you play very seriously.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)