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There has been a lot of discussion on this website and among the Grandex family when it comes to the Sunday Scaries. Of course I would never be so arrogant as to claim that I know more about conquering the frights of a Sunday night better than Will, but there is one aspect of getting through the end of the weekend that he has left uncovered: gaming.
You see, once the football games are winding down, once the Postmates containers have been discarded, once the freshly laundered sheets have been spread across your bed, there is still a decent chunk of time Sunday evening to fill. Many of you probably spend it in soft pants with your latest Netflix binge. I, and many others like me, eschew those comforts and throw on our gaming console of choice or PC and sink in for a few hours of gaming. Because if you are like me, and get a bit antsy just sitting there watching TV for hours on end, gaming is the perfect cap to the weekend. It’s the final point of relaxation before the work week comes clawing back. But the question is, which game should I (and should I not) be playing?
Well, with the blessing of my lord Will, I am here to give you a quick guide for picking the perfect game to offset the Sunday Scaries. If you don’t see your favorite game on the list, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad option as long as it falls within one of the approved categories. And if you’ve already played the approved games I list, or are new to gaming but want to give it a shot, the good people in the comments will likely have some great recommendations.
So, before the list, here are a few categorical rules to guide you in picking out your game.
Rule 1: No horror games
This is a bit of a no-brainer; you don’t want to add fear and adrenaline to your Sunday stress. That means any survival game, horror genre games, and anything that is fairly reliant on jump-scares is out. And believe me, I’m not happy about this. I love the Resident Evil series, and I think The Last of Us is a cinematic masterpiece better than most movies. But for one night of the week, it’s probably best to leave games like that on the shelf. There’s only room for one type of Scaries on Sunday night, so make it the one related to a lost debit card instead of Amnesia.
Eliminated games: Resident Evil, Outlast, Until Dawn, Doom, Little Nightmares, Dead Space, The Last of Us, Amnesia
Rule 2: No competitive games
Same principle as above; these games cause a ton of additional, unnecessary stress that needs to be avoided on Sunday nights. You’ve already got enough in your life to stress you out, you don’t need to have your blood pressure spike another ten points because the Yasuo on your team went 0/6 in lane and now you’re getting dove over and over by a fed Riven. Sure, you can play these games in a casual or arcade mode instead of the ranked ladder — where the win/loss truly doesn’t matter — but that pressure in these games is still there. Just avoid these competitive games and worry about your Platinum promos on Monday.
Eliminated games: DOTA, Overwatch, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft
Rule 3: No MMORPGs
A little bias on my end, because I hate World of Warcraft with a passion. It was all my roommate freshman year of college played. He kept me up all night, was generally an asshole, and smelled awful. I know this is #notallWOWplayers, but I’ve never allowed myself to consider playing this game. But MMORPGs are generally a big time sink, with raids or missions that can take hours of coordination and teamwork. Sunday nights are all about keeping things flexible; going to bed or turning on Netflix when you feel like it. You don’t want to spend an hour waiting for your guild’s healer to get online or have to re-run a raid because the mage disconnected. Do daily quests at your own risk, as someone will inevitably try to drag you into some instance that you don’t have two hours to sink into.
Eliminated games: World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Destiny, Tom Clancy’s The Division
Rule 4: Don’t fall back on vintage games
This list could be dominated by old-school favorites like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, or Crash Bandicoot, but none of them will be on here for one simple reason: we’ve all played them already. As time has passed, the nostalgia of playing these games has faded and popping them in becomes a bit more of a novelty than an actual pleasure. These games also heavily benefit from you being around others, and unless you can have a friend, roommate, or significant other to play with most weeks, it’s going to get old beating Rainbow Road after about the third time. The most recent installments in these series are for sure worthy options, but they’re still so reliant on playing with friends that they won’t be included.
Eliminated games: HALO, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, GoldenEye
With those rules in mind, here is your list:
10. Ori and the Blind Forest
One of my favorite story-based puzzle-solving games ever. The controls are easy to understand, though difficult to execute as the game gets harder. It has elements of an MMORPG — like the skill tree and power-ups — without feeling overwhelming. The story is plenty long, taking 10 hours if you speed right through it, and the fact that it’s fantasy with a diverse setting as far as levels makes it a great introductory game. It’s challenging enough to keep your attention, yet not so frustrating that it makes you give up immediately. Fair warning: the beginning of the story can be a little sad/scary, so if you’re particularly sensitive keep that in mind. But it’s not nearly bad enough to be considered a “horror game.”
9. Animal Crossing
Probably my favorite GameCube title ever, with a new installment coming out for the Switch next year. This is a community simulation game, meaning you’re going to play among anthropomorphic creatures in an open-ended game. While there is no “beating” the game — or any designated objectives — you can sink hours of fun into these games with the real-time events, activities like collecting or exploring, and interacting with other characters.
8. Assassin’s Creed
The first of several big story-based franchises on here, Assassin’s Creed is perfectly suited for those who need something to fill the Game of Thrones void on Sunday evenings. Although the series is uneven in terms of quality (God ACIII should have been epic. I mean, American Revolution???) the gameplay is generally smooth and intuitive. It’s the right amount of open-world exploration with defined outcomes, and the series story is fairly compelling, too.
The most popular game out there, I know there would have been mutinies if I didn’t put it on the list. In all honesty, it was close to not even making it because of the level of anxiety you can get being in that final circle running out of mats. Still, the fact that it’s relatively quick to play, has a lot of silliness involved, and is popular enough that most of your friends will be down to play for a game or two makes it a perfect choice.
If you haven’t played this game, you are missing out. This is a pure puzzle game, but with an intriguing backstory. You can spend hours trying to figure out how to beat some of the levels (less if you cheat and look up the solution online) and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you finally beat it and get some cake as a reward. Points taken off because of its somewhat depressing vibe and the fact that Valve still has not made Half-Life 3 yet!
5. The Legend of Zelda
Of all the vintage games, this is the one I would advise anyone to sink time into. With new installments coming as recently as 2017, there is enough content in this series to keep you entertained for years. Nothing else needs to really be said. This series is dope.
4. The Sims
This may seem like an odd choice. Why should you be controlling a fictional human’s life when you should be worried about your own? The Sims is a great stress reliever; an opportunity to act out on the goals you wish to accomplish for yourself. Make yourself over in your ideal image, make a soap opera starring all your friends, or design your dream mansion. With so many games and expansion packs, you really can’t go wrong.
Naughty Dog makes the best story-based video games out there today, and since I can’t put The Last of Us on here, I’m damn sure putting their other flagship franchise up high. The Uncharted games are basically a playable version of the Indiana Jones movies, updated for modern times and with a more interesting female lead. Hell, you could legitimately argue that Nathan Drake is a more dynamic and interesting character than Indy. With four very well-written installments to play, very forgiving controls, and tons of action that will keep you glued to your chair, this is a perfect way to cap off a Sunday evening.
2. Any sports game
The old reliables. You can’t go wrong here. Just plug in your favorite franchise, whether it be Madden, NBA 2K, NHL, FIFA, or The Show. Avoid playing on the online ladders where those exist. Just cruise along on your franchise or “My Career” mode and get lost in the fantasy.
The game that everyone’s little brother loved back in 2011, Minecraft is still alive and well. This is probably the best open-world, open-ended game ever. Every world in which you play in Minecraft is completely unique, and Mojang will often add big new features and updates to keep the game fresh. You can play the “story” to kill the End Dragon, you can spend all your time exploring the new world, or you can just play in creative mode and build cool shit. The possibilities in this game are endless, and you can even play on a server with your friends where you can trade, explore, and build together. I’d volunteer to start a PGP server for all you fine people, but God knows you’d grief me without mercy..
Whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, we here at Grandex have the comedy gaming podcast for you. Hosted by Jared “J-Bone” Borislow and Ross Bolen, Grandex Gaming exists to bring accessible and entertaining video game content directly to your ears on a weekly basis. Subscribe to Grandex Gaming now on Grandex Labs. Here’s episode 1: