You spent $400 on textbooks this semester and have minimal money left for entertainment. You don’t have $60 to drop on the newest Xbox or Playstation game, but going outside into the sunlight just isn’t an option. Fortunately almost all of us have a personal computer nowadays, and even those with light wallets can afford the myriad of games available for PCs. Laptop users aren’t left out of the fun either – you too can enjoy the less graphic-intensive games and procrastinate your life away with these eight awesome titles
Low-End Games for Laptops and Other Toasters
8. Team Fortress 2
A team-based first-person shooter set in a cartoonish and violent universe, Team Fortress 2 has remained one of the most popular PC games since its release in 2007. The premise of the game is like most shooters: pick a class, from Pyro to Medic to Sniper to Scout, then blow the other team to smithereens. What sets TF2 apart is its guffaw-inducing humor and dialogue (“Would you like a second opinion? You are also ugly!” – The Medic), and its fast-paced gameplay is addictingly fun for newbies and pros alike. The best part is – it’s free to play on Steam, an online community platform for PC gamers.
7. Sid Meier’s Civilization V
If you’re more of a strategist than a gun-wielding maniac, Civilization will keep you captivated for hours. Assume the role of Shaka of the Zulu tribe or Augustus Caesar of Rome or Washington of America (and there are dozens more). Then, starting off in the Stone Era, you foster the progression and growth of cities by forming religions, forging trade routes, discovering resources and – my personal favorite – waging war on a massive scale. Ironically, the Gandhi AI is notorious for constructing nuclear weapons of mass destruction, so beware.
6. Portal 2
The idea behind the Portal games is so basic it’s hard to believe they made an entire series out of it. A futuristic company has invented a gun that shoots two portals, one orange, one blue. If you enter into one portal, you’ll exit out of the other. Out of such a simple premise the Portal developers created one of the most emotionally stressful, mentally challenging puzzle games of the decade. I spent hours playing the co-op campaign with my best friend freshman year, and I recommend you do the same, because you won’t feel as stupid when your buddy can’t figure out how to beat the level either.
Minecraft is essentially 3D Legos, except instead of a few dozen rectangles you have an infinite amount of resources to build with, from wood and steel to bricks, concrete and sandstone.Your true goal is to protect yourself from the nasty creatures that come out at nighttime, but most people take it a large step beyond that. A group of players even constructed the entire continent of Westeros from Game of Thrones by hand. Build your own tiny log cabin, or recreate every twisting hallway, turret and tunnel of Hogwarts – the choice is yours.
High-End: Prettier but Require More Power
4. Mass Effect Series
As a gaming nerd, I have no qualms about admitting my equally nerdy love for science fiction. Mass Effect is every science fiction fantasy I’ve ever had crystallized into a nearly flawless series, complete with aliens, space travel and big-ass guns. You take the role of Commander Shepherd, humanity’s only chance for survival against imminent extinction. You can take your sweet time saving the world like I did as you explore the galaxy, visit planets and steer a spaceship instead of doing your actual Astronomy homework.
3. The Sims 4
The Sims has a legacy that stretches all the way back to 2000. Fourteen years and ten games later, I still recall the gleeful schadenfreude of drowning my Sim in a pool or locking him in his bedroom until he peed himself to death. While the newest edition lacks pools with which to murder my Sims, the developers have made the game more realistic than ever. Gone are my potato-faced virtual neighbors – every Sim is as realistically beautiful and ugly as my roommates in real life.
One of the newest massively multiplayer online RPGs to hit the U.S. market, Archeage has already taken geek communities in Russia and Korea by storm. The mind-blowing freedom of the game — constructing a ship with your own customized logo, building a house and claiming farmland,crafting a trade pack to bring across the ocean to the other continent – is absolutely mind-blowing. There are acres upon acres of land to explore and endless hours of gameplay to enjoy. The game is currently struggling with overpopulation due to its hype, but some surmise the game might eventually become as popular as World of Warcraft.
When stress from school piles up, nothing is more tonic than slaying an army of the undead and a 30-foot fire-breathing dragon. Skyrim is the sort of game you get lost in for hours, searching caves for hidden treasure chests, climbing to the tops of mountains, transforming into a werewolf, starting a civil war – the list of possibilities is practically endless. Before you know it, it’s senior year and your GPA has dropped two points.
When a game is really immersive, it’s easy to neglect your real life responsibilities. I’m often tempted to skip class to stay home and relax, and I know I’m not the only one who’d rather have a controller in my hands than a pen taking notes. Just remember that your virtual self doesn’t have much of a future outside the game. You do.
(main image via flickr.com)