Doing everything via the internet is becoming less and less of a surprise, and while working from home and having any sort of product dropped right at your doorstep are the obvious big changes, having fun has gone the way of cyberspace, too. And don’t think you have to do any of this alone. Finding people for all sorts of activities has gotten easy, whether it be live stream concerts so ten thousand people can watch it altogether, or even making gay dating effortless. But the real change is in getting competitive, and video games are right at the forefront.
Playing games online is a little over twenty years old, and it used to require a top of the line desktop computer and super fast modem. Now you can do it on your phone, or one of the many video game consoles out there (and yes, your computer as well).
The New Kid on the Block: Fall Guys
While there are some Super Mario multiplayer experiences out there available for the Nintendo Switch, the small developer Mediatonic has created an amazing platform battle royale that is both cutthroat and cute. You play as tiny minion-like character and the only goal is to ‘not lose’ as you race against up to sixty other players to the goal. But sometimes it’s a matching game, or a mini round of soccer. All these rounds only last a few minutes, and the losers are booted and the winners move on, until there is only one champion. It might take five or six rounds, but since this can be played in about fifteen minutes, it’s very easy to get addicted and play game after game.
It has taken the gaming world by storm, so don’t miss out, and of course there are some top level strategies that we would recommend you check out before taking the plunge. It’s available on Playstation 4 and Steam, and you might not laugh more at the ridiculousness of video games all year. Definitely the sort of all ages fun that you should not be sleeping on.
Fight For Your Right (to Fatality)
If you want to compete more directly than running across a cartoony obstacle courses, then there are plenty of online multiplayer fighting games to let you taste the thrill of victory over your foes. The best selling fighting game of all time is Super Smash Bros Ultimate, available on the Nintendo Switch. Sure you have your Marios, Links, and Donkey Kongs, but over the years they’ve expanded their roster and now there is Sonic, Pac Man, Solid Snake, Cloud Strife, and even Banjo-Kazooie. They are hitting you right in the nostalgia, and it’s your chance to knock these players off the stage with greater distance as they get more and more damage.
Of course if you want to be much more serious about it, then the Mortal Kombat series lets you not just punch and kick and your online opponents, but brutally slaughter them in increasingly graphic ways if you come out as the winner. It caused a stir when the first game came out back in the nineties for its violence, but that it only made it more popular, which is why it’s on the 11th version of the game, and is available on all major consoles.
The Way of the Gun
If punching is too old fashioned for you, don’t worry, online games have you covered if you want to play a (slightly) more realistic version of war. Call of Duty is one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, and they make that happen by releasing a new title almost every fall. At first it was a mix of a single player story campaign and some multiplayer components added on, but over the years that has flipped, and many more people just buy it and quickly log on to shoot the living heck out of other people with a wide assortment of realistic guns in realistic war environments. You don’t know true anger until you are almost at a kill streak when you are suddenly sniped from halfway across the level from a sniper you never even noticed.
And if ‘reality’ is too much for you, don’t worry, you can always play what is currently the most popular game in the world at the moment: Fortnite. It’s still about being the last person standing in a one hundred person battle royale with all sorts of guns and vehicles and weapons, but it’s a lot more lighthearted and fun than the grittiness of Call of Duty. One of the reasons it’s so popular is that – unlike other games on this list – it is completely free to play, and is available on everything, from consoles to PCs to phones. Even with some simple goals (stay alive, watch out for the storm, don’t get caught up in fishing), the game can be pretty overwhelming for first-timers, so being prepared is good advice.
Sharing is Caring
And finally, how about not really competing at all, except in terms of impressing your friends? Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a hugely popular game on Nintendo Switch where you don’t kill anyone or have to race to a finish line. Instead, it is a life simulator where you do some in-game work (like cleaning up and fishing) to earn money to decorate your tent and ultimately your house. It takes place in real-time, and the whole goal is to play a little bit every day and slowly build up your island so you can have friends visit and be impressed with how much effort you put into it. Available on the Nintendo Switch.