You know, it's really bloody cold at this time of year, now usually I would play my manly chiselled hunk card and tell you all to man up and go visit some place interesting or the pub or whatever, however for this article I would like to focus on what some people call 'rainy day' activities and what I call 'there is fuck all else to do' activities. I have seen many suggestions for various films to snuggle up on the sofa with the light of your life to watch (and possibly to get your leg over) and even advice on the various types of herbal teas and meals to make those long chilly nights seem not quite so bad, however I have yet to see someone cast an eye over that unfairly discredited yet noble art form, the video game. It's all very well plopping yourself in front of a film and slowly trying to grope your way closer to your partners genitals but what if your all on your own, out of tissues and can't seem to find anything to do?
Well, as I happen to write on a gaming site as well, I thought why not give any of you who are not yet familiar with gaming a little bit of a push in the right direction towards the freshest cultural medium around. Who knows, maybe you'll find yourself having more fun actually doing something than plopping down in front of Love Actually on your own.
The first thing you will have to do is to download a program called Steam, which is where you can easily get the five games I am about to highlight and will take you all of five minutes to download. Good! Now that you've done exactly what I've said (he says whilst raising a mallet) here's a selection of five games that are a good introduction and are tailor made for various moods you may be in, starting rather fittingly with this;
When this game first came out back in 2010 everyone viewed it as a terrifying thrill ride and it still is to this day. A horror game filled with various puzzles to solve and a story that reads like an Edgar Allen Poe poem on meth, it is still probably one of the single most terrifying few hours I have ever spent in my entire life. With easy to manage controls, a marvellously immersive atmosphere that will keep you constantly shivering with anticipation as you explore a desolate gothic castle in search of your characters memory and a way of escaping the dark nightmare that follows you. If you ever feel in the mood for a horror film and are alone I beg you to reconsider investing the mere £13 needed to purchase this oppressive chill fest and marvel as you slowly devolve into a gibbering wreck with nothing but the inhuman growls of Victorian monstrosities to ease your nerves. Fantastic.
I was going to compare this game to doing a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword but bloody look at it, the thing is fucking beautiful! Its rare when even regular art draws you in like the art in this game and I should know because it was my art student roommate who got me hooked on it. It's essentially a puzzle game concerning the cooky little story of a little robot trying to find his little robot girlfriend in a huge robot city. Not much of an original story on its own but it's the little things that make this game a big immersive picture, the jaw dropping art styles, the quirky little puzzles and subplots and a soundtrack that will mellow you out so much you'd think you were listening to the Dali Lama's soul. Grab yourself a glass of wine and a box of chocolates in front of the fire, spend a well deserve £7 and settle down with this truly beautiful game.
Now if the previous games were the equivalent of a chilling horror tale and a beautiful jigsaw respectively then this game would probably be the equivalent of flopping down in front of a Family Guy marathon. Its crude, it's incredibly violent and it is something of a guilty pleasure. There is no light relief or comprehensively interesting story what so ever, it's just you playing as a psychopath going through his day to day life whilst trying to end as many other people's lives in as many gruesome ways as possible. Tazer a bloke till he loses feeling in his legs, set him on fire then piss the fire out on the way to the corner shop to get some milk. Intuitive controls and utterly dumb concepts make this the perfect game if you've stumbled in drunk and want the lowest common denominator. Have fun with it you miserable, brash waste of air.
This is where comparing games to rainy day activities gets a bit tricky. I suppose the equivalent of it would be watching Avatar whilst as high as a kite but seeing as that isn't everybody's cup of tea I suppose this will have to do you won't it. It concerns four guardians on an alien planet called 'The Buds' whose job it is to protect the trees of the planet from the main villain Dyer who is a maniacal hair drier out to destroy the trees (not I'm not kidding). With an appealingly upbeat art style and tone on top of easy to master controls and a few interesting puzzles, Fly'n could be one of the most addictive games I've ever played and I urge you to play it as an alternative to drugs if nothing else.
The final game of the five you fresh faces gamer virgins may be interested in is one of the biggest success stories of the last two decades in gaming. With its colourful and friendly art style and masterfully clever time warping puzzles, Braid is simply a must play for anyone. Mixing fluid fast paced action with thoughtful and logical puzzle solving, I can quite honestly say that anyone who has never even laid a finger on a game in their life will easily have a lot of fun and will quickly become addicted to this truly wonderful game.
Well that's pretty much a wrap for this little propaganda rally, many avid gamers may find my choices a little perplexing but trust me people you can't just dive straight into the deep end without regretting it. Each of these games will be good for any beginner and I trust that each will give a far deeper and more satisfying experience than any film or TV show (even if it is unlikely that they'll get you laid).