Thanksgiving is a time of year when families get together and eat copious amounts of food, then struggle to breathe as they fall into a deep stupor on the couch. What better time than this to play video games? But don’t overdo it with something overly stimulating like Ninja Gaiden or Call of Duty. Nah, here’s a list of 10 games that you can basically shut your brain off and just play while you rest off that fifth helping of turkey.
While Tetris is undisputedly the best puzzle game ever created (according to myself), it doesn’t require all too much thinking. Sure, you can definitely push yourself to crank up the high score, but really you don’t have to do a lot when you’re just cleaning house and keeping the game from ending. Just one row at a time, which gives you minimal points in the long run, but stretches play for quite a while. Plus, you get funky tunes to hum along with/doze to.
Final Fantasy VII:
RPG’s are great for this day due to their main characteristic: Repetitive level grinding. Just about every RPG has a point where you’re encouraged to just sit and grind your way around the dungeon until you either get to the end or keep making your character stronger. Final Fantasy VII is great for that. The plot points are mostly incoherent next to the amount of random battles you encounter. Most any Final Fantasy game works perfect for the brain-off moments after the feast, but VII took things up a level with a story that you couldn’t understand even with the a good night’s rest and mounds of caffeine, so just shush and kill some lizards/spiders/robots/cottages.
Perhaps even better than the Final Fantasy games, the Pokémon series finds a niche in having no plot whatsoever but hundreds of creatures to obtain or evolve. And the only way to accomplish this is through hours of tedious battles. But hark! What’s that? You’re tired and just need an activity to do in between breathing and more breathing? Perfect time to train that Magikarp into a Gyarados or to go searching for all those legendary things or whatever. Just find some tall grass, walk in circles, and watch those levels crawl by.
Super Mario World:
The Mario games are good for a challenge most of the time, but something about Super Mario World just seems a bit more relaxed. It’s certainly no Sonic the Hedgehog in terms of “Oh look out for that thing at high speed!” Rather, Super Mario World allows you to take your time and savor the experience. There never seems like a huge rush to complete anything. Even if some levels get too difficult, there are other paths to take, assuming you know the secret exits. I’m not saying the game’s easy, I’m just saying it’s a whole lot easier than a lot of the Mario games out there.
Doesn’t the concept of city planning just sound like a hoot and a holler? Well, Sim City puts you in the shoes of the mayor of a thriving town that you get to name (so usually named “Christopolis”). You decide where to build residential, commercial, and industrial districts, power plants, airports, roads, power lines, even parks. Then you can raise taxes, cut funds to police stations, and inevitably get impeached due to your rampant spending and pro-tornado attitude. And of course the game is awesome, so it has that going for it, too.
Where Sim City makes you a mayor, The Sims has you play caretaker for a family of idiots. You are in charge of building a house, getting the family jobs, telling them what to eat, and even when to go to the bathroom. They’re too stupid to do something as simple as go to sleep when they’re tired unless you remind them to do so. And somehow this is also fun to do, especially when you’re too tired to do much more than click around a computer screen. “Hey you there, go take a shower while I remain seated here in this comfy chair.” Just like God must do after He eats Thanksgiving dinner.
Wii Sports Bowling:
The Wii is primarily meant for “active” games, such as Wii Fit and Wii Sports. However, you can’t tell me in all good consciousness that Wii Sports Bowling is really considered “active” when you play it, unless you take the competition seriously against your family (which you should). Grab the controller, aim at the screen, and flick it to throw your ball. Did it hit any pins? Who cares, it’s not your turn anymore, so lay back down and think about having more mashed potatoes.
Donkey Kong Country:
Somehow the original Donkey Kong Country for the SNES got a bad rap for not aging well. I can’t say that I understand why that is, as the game is great, but it is fairly simple for the most part. Similar to Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country rarely gets up to speeds above “gradual sashay.” It doesn’t even have a level timer to keep you moving like Mario does. The later levels can become a pain, but chances are you’ll have passed out by then or moved onto pumpkin pie or something simpler to deal with.
Mario Party (Any After 1):
The Mario Party games are great, but be careful not to pop in the first one for the N64. I’ll argue that the first is the best, but anyone that’s played can tell you all about the number of times they’ve routered out the palm of their hand during the tug-o-war mini-game or any number of activities that require you to rotate the control stick at rapid speeds. Every game after the original eliminated the need to inflict actual damage on yourself, allowing you to just play through the levels without any hope of actually winning should the computer randomly decide it’s time to beat you. You can, however, just set the game to play itself for a bit while you just watch and say, “See Luigi winning there? That’s my character. I’m so good at this game. Yeah, I’ll take another sweet roll.”
Finally we come to the great time killer that is Animal Crossing. I mentioned this one back during my Must-Own DS Games article (you read it, didn’t you?), but with three different games to choose from on either the GameCube, the DS, or the Wii, there’s an option for most everyone to try out. All you do is wander around your town helping your neighbors (who are animals by the way), do random tasks like return a book to a sheep or get a shirt back from a dog. You can also go around planting trees, fishing, catching bugs, pulling weeds (gotta keep your town looking nice after all), and selling seashells to that thieving raccoon Tom Nook. You Farmvillers, I’m looking at you. This game is just like Farmville but with more talking animals and less actual thinking.
So what games do you play when you’re looking to relax after Thurkeyday? I know there are some huge ones, like World of Warcraft, but I want to know what you’d pop in your gaming system to take the edge off. So let me know with a comment or two. Couldn’t hurt, right?