Nobody likes September. It’s the one clear sign that the “summer” months are officially over. For many of us, it also signals “back to school” time. Out with the 8-hour gaming sessions, in with the 8-hour grinds of classes and homework. If I have learned anything in all my years as a gamer however, it’s that video games are great for times like these. They help millions of people deal with tough times and difficult transition periods every year. Having a good video game to immerse yourself in can go a long way in making going back to school more manageable. The ten games listed below will hopefully assist you to do just that. I hope they can give you students a means of combating the stresses of the education system!
In all the fusses of our daily routines, sometimes you can forget what’s really important. In school for example, all your focus and energy is often given to things like homework and exams. But there are many things that should have much higher value. Things like building good relationships, being a good person, and trying to have a positive impact on the world. Stardew Valley is a game that’s built to remind us of this.
The game opens with your playable character experiencing severe burnout at their office job, and deciding to quit. Gameplay begins as they move to work on the land their grandfather left them in his will. The standard Stardew experience sees you balance a mundane but satisfying daily routine. You’ll spend a lot of your time exploring, working the land, and befriending the townsfolk that live nearby. There are no deadlines and no pressure to get anything done. The game’s farming practices and various collection challenges are also rather therapeutic to do. All things considered, this could be best game available to help you escape all your back to school troubles.
Persona 5/ Persona 5 Royal
Being a student can suck sometimes. But you know what’s almost always fun? Being a student in a video game. Getting the opportunity to do classes, tests and homework without any of the pressures of the real world is very freeing. Persona 5 is a game that gives players this release, and much more to boot.
The Persona series has always offered incredibly immersive experiences through their bizarre fusions of genres. It delivers the traditional JRPG experience, while simultaneously letting you live a brand new life within the game. It’s very easy to lose yourself in the various subplots and rich characters in every Persona instalment – and Persona 5 is no different. There’s so much going on in this amazing game that it’s almost impossible to play it without getting sucked in. This makes it a perfect break for moments when the back to school transition gets to be too much. Also, it’s just an awesome game in general, so you should definitely play it anyways.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
If there’s one thing that can combat the mundane nature of real life, it’s creativity. And “creativity” is the only word that comes to mind when I think of South Park: The Stick of Truth.
While many would dismiss this title as “just a South Park game”, this game does what it does incredibly well. The beauty of The Stick of Truth is that it captures the imagination of the kids of South Park excellently. Of course, it has the series’ iconic crude humour shuffled in here and there. But really, this is a game all about experiencing the wonders of children’s imagination. Remember when you were young, and used to find a cool stick and pretend it was a sword? Remember how fun it was to swing it around and pretend you were fighting monsters? Well that’s the experience this game provides. If you want to leave the back to school blues behind and become a kid again for a while, then this is the game for you.
Bet you forgot this existed, right? I can’t blame you, since literally nobody has talked about it since that wonderful summer of 2016. Pokémon Go excelled at bringing the magic of fantasy fiction into the real world. For this reason, I believe this game can bring that same spark of excitement into your back to school routines.
Do you have to take a bus or walk to school every day? If so, then you’ll likely have plenty of time to catch some creatures as you commute. While the gameplay is simple and repetitive, it does have a certain charm to it. After all, who doesn’t like Pokémon? The collection aspects are obviously satisfying, and there’s so much content to grind you’ll always have something to work towards. Pokémon Go actually helped me a lot back in my school days. I used it to have something fun to play during study breaks, and it encouraged me to get a little bit of exercise every day. I hope that it can bring the same joy to you!
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The best thing to help with a tough period is something that can, if only temporarily, make you forget about your worries. Video games are often great at achieving this. There are many ways they can immerse you, such as through engaging gameplay or riveting narratives. Ni no Kuni is a game that provides both of these and much more.
This game offers a fusion of both real-time and turn-based combat. Battles are won through employing the monsters you tame in the wild, or by masterfully using your protagonist’s wizard abilities. In just taking on the various foes and bosses in the game, you’ll find plenty to get engrossed in. But this game’s combat is equally rivalled by its narrative and setting. You play as a young boy named Oliver venturing into a mysterious new world of magic and fantasy. There’s so much to explore and do in this epic open-world adventure that I’m positive it will help you forget all about your back to school worries.
Here we have another student-simulator, which I recommend for much of the same reasons as Persona 5. However, Bully takes it one step further. This is a game that offers perhaps the most entertaining student experience you can find in any medium.
It’s quite easy to lose yourself in Bully’s schooling adventures. You play as a kid with a troubled past just after being transferred to a prestigious boarding school. For a lot of the game, you’ll find yourself taking classes, dodging prefects to stay out of trouble, and skipping lessons to go into the city for some fun. This game gives players the full boarding school experience from the safety of their own home. Special missions and decorations even pop up during important times of year, like Halloween and Christmas. No matter how the back to school transition is treating you, I’m sure the campaign and setting of Bully will help you forget all about it for a short while.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The world of Harry Potter is almost unparalleled in its popularity as a fantasy series. If you haven’t read the books by now, then you’ve probably at least seen movies. But they’re popular for a reason. The universe that Rowling designed has been offering millions of people a means of escapism for years now. And I believe Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone provides the best video game version of that escape.
I’ve played a lot of the Harry Potter games, but this was the only one that truly captured the charm of Hogwarts for me. If you can get past this title’s humorous looking character models, then you’re in for a lot of fun. This game features many of the iconic and lovable story beats from the first book/film. It also gives you free-reign of the Hogwarts grounds, providing you with plenty of places to explore. I’m sure you’ll find there’s something magical about this title that’ll rip you straight from your back to school blues.
Final Fantasy VIII
You know what would make going back to school way less painful? If teachers taught you how to use cool weapons and fight fantasy monsters in turn-based combat. If you agree with this sentiment, then I think you’ll enjoy Final Fantasy VIII.
There are certainly student-simulator elements to this game, albeit slightly different ones than in the other entries on this list. With definitely one of the strangest premises in the Final Fantasy series, in this game you play as a band of recent mercenary academy graduates. You follow the characters through an action-packed sci-fi adventure, with enough twists and turns to get you hooked fast. If turn-based combat is your thing, then this entry could be a great way for you to switch-off after school.
“Really?” I hear you say, “Is Skyrim one of the best games you could think of for this list??” Why yes. Yes it is. I still believe the fifth Elder Scrolls entry offers one of the best fantasy role-playing experiences out there. While it may not be my most creative entry on this list, I really think this game could help people deal with the back to school transition.
Skyrim provides an intricate open-world filled with lovable NPCs, side quests, and campaigns. While most of us have played it a few times over by now, somehow every time we pick it up we find something new. If it’s been a while since you’ve played this game and want something to ease you back into school life, give it another shot. There’s something about donning the title of Dragonborn and exploring the many towns and caves in this snowy realm that just makes all your real-world problems fade into the background.
If you’ve ever had the urge to leave it all behind and try to make it on your own in the wilderness, then this may be the game for you. The Forest allows players to experience the joys and beauty of nature without even forcing them to leave their living room.
Although it is a little on the scary side, this is ultimately a realistic survival game. If going back to school has you down, then I encourage you to pick this game up and start chopping down some trees. Whether it’s setting up your very own camp site, or hunting animals for food, there’s a very satisfying sense of progression that comes from playing this game. Also, there’s a hell of a lot of land and caves to explore. Survival games like these are great for getting away from real world troubles. They keep the player busy, and honestly that’s the best thing you can do to get away from the chaotic nature of student life.
There you have it. These are the best games I can recommend to help you cope with going back to school. I hope that one of these titles is able to grant you the respite you need from all the turmoil of student life. If you are finding the transition period tough, remember that it’s important to find time to unwind. Whether through playing video games or some other means, taking a break every now and then can be very beneficial for both your productivity, and your mental wellbeing.