Video games to play when you don’t want to play video games

We’ve all been there. You look around the room and there’s only jobs or chores to do. The current massive backlog of video games just feels like it has become a monster to defeat all by itself and you can’t be arsed to go back to that 50 hour game. It’s good to take a moment to relax and switch off from this maelstrom of self conflict and despite video games being the cause they become the solution. Here’s some titles I know I find helps with the, “ah I can’t be arsed” mentality that crops up from time to time.

Hearthstone – Mobile/PC


Since release on mobiles Hearthstone has been a fantastic toilet game. Either waiting or queuing or pooping; you can quickly load up, go to a solo story mode or tavern and have a match. It helps to have played the game for so long that some cards are recognised on visuals alone but the core mechanics can become so fantastically mundane you’ll be sleepwalking through in no time. This can apply to all card games but the audio quality and the visuals for the gold cards lead themselves to such a simple charm it’s easy to switch off and enjoy.

Final Fantasy XIV – PC/PS4


This has been a recent calling for me. A perfect podcast game where I can passively listen to my mobile talk to me while grinding up the job levels and attempt to catch up to some friends. It’s perfect for when you want to feel like you’ve achieved something but you’re not sure what to do to progress, the recommendation system gives you a good idea of where to go and what to kill to gain more exp in your current area. The combat is engaging enough that you have to do things but simple enough that you don’t have to think too hard (in the general mob monster areas) It’s a perfect substitution from the grind of life.

Lego Dimensions – Everything (but mainly PS4)

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What better way to feel better about your existence and lack of control over things than breaking Lego objects down to their component bricks. The difficulty arcs and bends for the story missions but the true relatable areas in Lego Dimensions are the hub worlds. Running, flying and driving around smashing stuff up to collect shiny nuts and bricks in a fantastically cathartic manner. There are short missions and collectibles aplenty but nothing too taxing with more than enough colour and spectacle to make time fly by.

Assassins Creed Origins – PC

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Previously I would have recommended Assassins Creed Brotherhood with its management assassins-sims side game but lately I’m finding myself going back to playing Origins. There’s something cathartic in the grinding for exp and exploring a lush Egyptian landscape that helps the mind settle. Deadly hippos play an important role in keeping the brain working and checking before embarking on land. It also helps that the story telling is quite episodic in structure and simple enough that you don’t have to worry too much when you drop it again for something else. Dude wants revenge and gets it but it’s all about the lush areas we see along the way.

Superflight – PC


Such a perfect, “I just want a few minutes of something” video game. I’ve written out a review for it over here but what it boils down to is a quick simple flying experience that becomes a perfect example of a one-more-time game very quickly. When you just don’t want to have to think too hard about anything but you’re too wired to just lie down then pop it on and whizz your troubles away. You’ll likely be getting a decent high score in no time.

Civilization VI – PC


This recommendation for a quiet mind game comes with a big caveat; you have to have played at least one Civilization game before. If like me you’ve been playing since the original Civilization the chances are most of the systems in the latest iteration are second nature. Even if they aren’t the advisers are so helpful it’s easy enough to pick up and get lost in. Playing a long game of Civ6 with a cuppa is like sitting on a porch with a fine wine, a book and some cheese. The hours fade away as you settle into the core loop and balance expansion with the various other factions. Chances are if you have the game on a high enough difficulty you’ll be killed before you need to get on with other tasks anyways.

Tetris 99 – Switch


I’m not a great fan of the Switch to be honest. I’ve never enjoyed the joycons, the ported titles from other consoles seem to not be my thing (I own a WiiU) and the original titles tend to be overpriced. Despite the negative opinion of the hardware that’s not stopped me from firing it up from time to time just to have a go at Tetris99. There’s something easily accessible to the format and the pick up and go gameplay hasn’t aged a day. It could have used a tutorial for the attacking mechanics but once you’ve got them down it’s addictive fun. Sometimes you want to crack on with a big AAA title or be surprised by an indie game but some days you just want to climb the illustrious rankings on Tetris. It’s also surprising how much muscle memory came back with the gameboy theme and how the events are a brilliant excuse to jump back in for a weekend of blocks.

Pokemon – Everything (even your mp3 player)


The best ever I-can’t-sleep video game. I swear half of the hundreds of hours clocked up on each title have been due to dealing with insomnia alone. From the simple gameplay loop to the colourful characters, each game has been the perfect pick up and go title for when you don’t want to focus and need something repetitive. Flipping open the Ds, turning on a GBA or even popping on the GameCube, there hasn’t been another franchise that has been so welcome as entertainment and also so easily mindnumbingly perfect for when you just can’t be arsed with anything.

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