No, not the hit song by popular British funk band Jamiroquai, that is Virtual Insanity, instead this article is about video games that let gamers escape reality only to then force them to endure reality in a virtual setting.
In order to divert their attention from the soul-crushing agony that is high school, gamers can go to their mental happy place and rest assured that when they are done, they will be rewarded with their favorite video game which is primarily based around attending high school. Of course, many games have tried to best the beast that is high school but none seem to really master it the way Persona 4 does. Blending turn-based RPG gameplay with a high school student simulator sounds like a daunting task at first, but this game makes it seem like a breeze. This is largely thanks to its unique cast of characters along with its intriguing story filled with twists and turns to keep players engaged throughout their playtime. When the player is not exploring multi-floored dungeons based off of the owner’s true emotions filled with monsters the need to fight, they can usually be found in a classroom actually learning information that they will be tested on later. Not only this, but players can also choose to find after-school jobs to make money, study in order to increase their knowledge, or even just walk around town hanging out with friends. If the game’s story did not include a series of murders and gigantic dangerous monsters, it almost seems like Inaba, the game’s primary setting, is a fun place to live.
As every respectable gamer knows, Shenmue is nothing short of an industry pioneer that caused a chain-reaction of quality video games to follow suit. No, not the unique gameplay of being able to walk around town without getting anything done for weeks at a time thanks to an active day and night system. Quick-time events were another completely useless addition, and going around playing arcade games was a waste of time. Shenmue pioneered the industry through the single-greatest gameplay addition of all time, the forklift. While it is unlikely the human race can prove the existence of a higher power through a video game, the closest the world may ever get is through viewing, nay, experiencing the vivid and mesmerizing forklift gameplay that can only be found in Shenmue. In order to make money, Ryo, the game’s protagonist, takes up operating the forklift as a part-time job, he can ferry crates between warehouses and participate in races with the intensity of F-Zero. Truly, Shenmue is a game that will stand the test of time solely because of its forklift, and nothing more.
Despite other staff member’s disdain for this particular title, it only makes sense to include Chibi-Robo! when talking about games that miraculously make the real world seem like fun. In fact, this Gamecube exclusive nearly mastered this concept at its time as the gameplay is built completely around a miniature robot whose sole purpose is to complete the chores ordered by its owners. These chores vary from cleaning up paw prints with a toothbrush to cooking burgers on the stove when Dad needs help. Admittedly, the gameplay does not sound quite interesting but in actuality the game is extremely charming with its own quirky sense of humor, unique gameplay, and delightful soundtrack, no matter what any one else may say.
What games have you played that included the mundane activities of the real world? Was it more intriguing to do the same task in the video game than it was in real life? Make sure to leave a comment below!