An unexpected trial

2020 - what a year. It’s fair to say that the global events that unfolded in 2020 were both unexpected and challenging for us all in different ways, regardless of location and personal circumstance. Since mid-march Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on our regular routines and daily lives.

Part of learning to live with the lockdowns and new restrictions involved having to find new ways to spend the extended spare time at home. In my case; a personal quest to sample each bottle of red wine from the local Sainsbury’s alcohol aisle and walking the length of England just because there’s nothing else to do outside.

I recently uploaded an update video to the ParkyGames Youtube channel (watch the video), a little over three years since I last posted new content on the channel. It would be easy to think that my extra free time during covid lockdowns has prompted a return, and there is some truth to that, but a much more joyous occasion is upon us! The 26th December 2020 marked 10 years to the day since I created ParkyGames.

One reason behind my belated yet impassioned return to the realms of YouTube and ‘definitely entertaining video game content’ is due to my newfound enjoyment for playing video games. Now that might sound a little odd; ‘But Parky, surely you loved video games having made over 900 gaming videos for our enjoyment’. As explained in my latest update video; I did of course enjoy playing games, but creating videos for YouTube started feeling more like a job after so many years and as a result so did picking up that game controller (or keyboard).

Something I can say about there being literally nothing to do when you leave your apartment during 2020; no shops, no pubs or restaurants and no entertainment is that you are given a boost to explore new and past activities. My PS4 came out of the cupboard one day and with a random purchase of Rage 2 from the PS Store I was once again hooked.

Let’s take a look at the three games I’ve been playing during the pandemic to keep me sane during lockdown!

3 games keeping me sane through lockdown

1. Rage 2

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I am a massive fan of open-world post-apocalyptic games. Rage 2 is a fantastic sequel to the first game in the series released back in late 2010 - with huge expanses to explore and the unforgettable characteristics and first-person mechanics of any id Software game. Rage satisfied my worrying need for bloodlust and the gory killing of mutants and goons - would recommend, but maybe not in polite company.

2. Two Point Hospital

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One of the greatest pleasures I gain from playing video games is the feeling of nostalgia. Essentially a reimagining of Theme Hospital released in 1997, Two Point Hospital throws you into the demanding role of hospital manager, attending to patients suffering from frankly ridiculous ailments. A concept that never grows old for me, even after 23 years.

3. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

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I don’t think this game needs an introduction; there may have been roughly hundreds of Assassin’s Creed games since I last counted, but I can’t stop myself playing every one. Another beautiful open world and fantastic storytelling, this time set in ‘the Viking times’… one of my favourite times. Gotta synchronise them all.

3 games I need to finish before freedom

But wait… there’s more! A motto to live by: ‘Never do anything by halves’ - if you’re going to reignite your passion for gaming like me; buy way too many new games in your excitement and hope you have enough free time to not waste your sensible investment. Here’s another three games that I hope to finish before we’re all released from our pandemic prison!

1. Destroy All Humans! 2

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Another blast from the past; the second instalment of a game close to my heart. There’s nothing like living a day in the shoes of a little grey alien incinerating wretched humans and abducting herds of cows. If brain control and bodily probing are favourite pastimes of yours I can wholeheartedly recommend giving this a go.

2. Ghost of Tsushima

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Possibly one of the most highly acclaimed and spoken about games of late. Set in Feudal Japan with captivating storytelling and visuals - I won’t forgive myself if I miss my chance to play this before the end of lockdown.

3. Cyberpunk 2077

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I’m drawn to Bladerunner-esque miserable futures full of neon and body modifications; maybe a bit of a specific need of mine… but luckily enough Cyberpunk promises that and so much more. A game I’m itching to play and the final world I must explore before the end of 2021.

My hopes for 2021

The start of 2021 hasn’t seemed all that different from the previous year; with New Year celebrations at the Parky household consisting of a couple of Proseccos and a disappointing layer of heavy fog outside covering up our usual view of the firework displays across town; and of course a new full lockdown announced for England.

Like everyone else I’m remaining forever hopeful that this difficult period of our lives will shortly come to an end - going forward with a newfound appreciation for those hobbies I’ve picked up along the way, my enjoyment for video games and a broadened red wine palate.