One player, two player, pro player, new player

Mason Brooks, Staff Writer

Matthew Messenger is seen here playing the video game Fallout in his dorm room. (Mia Eshima)

Whether it is the latest game in a well-known franchise or a retro classic, video games as a medium have a little something for everyone. Over the last several years, game sales have skyrocketed. “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” the newest addition to the long-running Nintendo series, sold a whopping 31 million copies in 2020 alone. With sales continuing to rise across the board, now has never been a better time to game.

One of gaming’s greatest strengths is its massive selection of genres, playing styles and platforms. Senior math major Zach Johansen has been spending his free time playing his PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

After finishing up the likes of “The Legend of Zelda” and “Mass Effect,” Johansen turned his attention to “Super Mario Odyssey.”

“[‘Super Mario Odyssey’] has a lot of fun mechanics and is very unique,” Johansen shared. “The game brings a new twist to the Mario franchise while still remaining true to its roots.”

Though “Odyssey” is his current obsession, Nintendo games are not Johansen’s only cup of metaphorical tea.

“I’m a big Star Wars person. Games like ‘Empire at War,’ ‘Battlefront II’ and ‘Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ are all personal favorites of mine,” Johansen said.

Single-player adventures are not the only games that can be enjoyed from a couch with a controller. Diego Lomba, a junior theology major, prefers to play his games with friends.

“Playing video games in college has given me the opportunity to bond with others over shared experiences. It has been a chance for me to share things I love with others,” Lomba explained.

Games like “Super Smash Bros.,” “Shadow of the Colossus” and “Super Mario 3D World” have frequented Lomba’s television.

Many may claim that party games like “Super Smash Bros.” could be the perfect way to introduce a friend to the medium or bring together a group simply eager for a competitive evening.

Senior nursing major Sydnie Gould has begun to discover just how important video games have been throughout her life as she rounds out her final year.

“Video games have been a huge part of my upbringing,” Gould shared. “Playing them now has shown me how much games have meant to me growing up. I can remember coming home every day from high school and playing computer games to relax. They are a part of my world.”

Gould found her gaming start with simple flash games before moving on to “Webkinz.” Mobile games such as “Cut the Rope” and “Jetpack Joyride” marked the transition into her teenage years. The Nintendo 64 gaming system made a fine addition to Gould’s collection before she encountered an endlessly replayable experience.

“For a long time, ‘Skyrim’ was my favorite game; nothing could top it,” Gould said.

With the semi-recent introduction of cinematic storytelling in video games, critics and gamers alike have begun calling the medium an art form. Whether this is a fair claim or not, one thing is clear: Video games speak to people in countless ways. Games can bring folks together, provide portals into worlds unknown and allow a respite from tense situations.

“I see

as an amazing way to relieve stress or build friendships. Whether I am playing alone or enjoying a few laughs with my friends, video games are the perfect break from reality,” Johansen said.