5 Immersive Games You Should Play

5 Immersive Games You Should Play

Even if you don't play that many games, these are a few you can't miss.
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I don't consider myself a big gamer, but I find myself enjoying playing games from time to time that really grabs me. Usually, I find myself drawn to games that have an immersive and large world to play in along with well-developed characters. Even if you don't play games, I highly recommend playing (or watching play-through of) these five games in particular.

1. Stardew Valley

For Harvest Moon lovers, this RPG is a flash from the past. You start the game with inheriting a farm from your grandfather in Stardew Valley. The location is an escape from busy modern life. There are lots of opportunities for building your farm however you want; you can farm, mine, tend to animals, forage, and even complete tasks for your fellow villagers. What makes this game stand apart from being a Harvest Moon copy is its Minecraft inspired crafting system.

2. Firewatch

This story-heavy game is a mystery set in Wyoming wilderness, where you play as a man named Henry who has left his life behind to work in a fire watch tower. Other than exploring the expansive nature-filled map around you, your main form of gameplay is communicating through a handheld radio to another fire watch named Delilah. Communication and character development are the center of this game.

3. Okami

Even if this game is an older, I still find myself returning to it and replaying it. You play as a goddess reincarnated in the form of a wolf named Amaterasu. Your mission is to rejuvenate the world and banish the evil spirits from Nippon. As you run around and regain your powers, you help many different characters all over the map. The world itself is large enough that there's plenty of side missions to play outside of the game. This is a game that is timeless, and I highly recommend buying it if you haven't.

4. The Last of Us

While I'm not huge on horror games, The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic zombie game that stands out from the rest. The game starts out with the start of the spread of a virus that turns people into The Infected. You follow the story of Joel, an older man who lost his family, and Ellie, a young survivor. The story is heartful and deep, and the world is intricated. Along with the main plotline, there are plenty of small details that define the world around the characters.

5. Soma

Once again, while I usually don't like horror games, Soma is another game that has a story that made me want to play this game over and over again. The game is set in the future in a remote research facility after the world has suffered from a meteor strike. You play as Simon, a man from the past who doesn't know why he's suddenly woken up years ahead of his time. One of the things that makes this game super immersive is the enviroment; not only are you in a creepy, abandoned facilty, you're also underwater.

Cover Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

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Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?
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In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

Cover Image Credit: NewsOK

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4 Substitutes For Social Media

From an existential crisis at the eye doctor.

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Perhaps the most perplexing question I have ever received has been from my eye doctor. I go for a checkup every summer, and I get asked this same question every time, but for some reason, it always ignites an existential crisis in my soul. "How many hours do you spend on your phone?" Yikes. The first couple times, I tended to underestimate my addiction to my screen, "Maybe two hours," I would reply. This answer was always met with a scornful stare that dug deep into the brain. After a few years of back and forth, we settled on six hours, but part of me believes, in fact, knows, that I am once again underestimating myself. So how many hours do I truly spend on my phone? I am not one hundred percent sure. I know that there is a feature in the settings of my iPhone that can tell me, but there is no way I am ever checking that.

Why am I so scared of finding out the real number? Well, because it will simply confirm what I already know about myself: I spend way too much time on my phone, and I know I am not the only one. Besides the fact that my generation's eyesight will probably be shot by forty, we are locked into a virtual life and missing the one that is flying right before our eyes. We are all constantly trying to live the best lives, but is it for our own benefit or for the benefit of our social image? Graciously, I say that fifty percent of my efforts are heard towards the latter. So in this season of my life or extreme self-evaluation and in an effort to rewire my brain before I'm set in my ways when my brain stops developing, I am offering up substitutes to social media for my own benefit and for the benefit of my generational counterparts.

1. Instagram? Go on a walk instead

https://goodstock.photos/people-walking-by-street/

We love posting pictures of pretty things, but do we actually enjoy the pretty things? I mean, I rarely look at my 107 pictures of the Eiffel Tower. So maybe if we could substitute taking and posting pictures for Instagram, we would see so much more than our limited screen has to offer. There is life in nature and in cities. Breathing life. Not digital life.

2. Twitter? Why not hang out with your friends?

https://pixabay.com/en/fashion-young-people-teens-1219507/

I love a good laugh just as much the next guy, so Twitter is my go to for giggles. But how often do I actually laugh out loud to tweets in my bed? Okay, sometimes, I will admit it. But I have found that sharing tweets with my friends gives me the most joy, so why not, I don't know, share thoughts with my friends? Conversation. If you think your friends are funny online, boy oh boy you'll be surprised to see just how funny they can be in real life.

3. Facebook? Dear God, anything else. How about a book?

https://stocksnap.io/photo/H0VXBZUZP3

Ah, Facebook. I love reading posts that share every part of someone's daily life. You did laundry today? Awesome, Mom! A book, though, a book shares all the essential parts of a story. It's exciting. Riveting. I think we can all agree that we lose brain cells spending time of Facebook, but has anyone ever got dumber from reading? I think not.

4. Snapchat? Stare at your friends. It's awesome, trust me.

https://pixabay.com/en/boy-children-guys-human-watch-1105891/

Okay, this one is a joke. But seriously. There are a million things you can do other than sending pictures of your face back and forth with your friends (or you feet if you're having a fight). Bake a cake. Do some work. Discover your passion. Build real relationships. Half of the people I Snapchat, I don't even to.

TNow I'm not damning social media to Hell. It can be a fun thing, and it is engrained in our generation; it is not going away any time soon. My suggestions seem simplistic and silly, but are we actually prioritizing these things over social media? Probably not. But maybe we can learn to take a step back. Maybe we can learn to live our lives rather than living through our favorite vlogger. Maybe we can be able to face our eye doctors with honesty. Maybe we can gain back some of that wondrous gaze in our eyes that we had before they became blinded by the light of our smartphones.

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