I've been feeling under the weather lately, as well as a few friends of mine and maybe some of you.
When you're sick, the last things you want to do are think too much, over-exert yourself, or honestly, do much of anything at all. Putting up with a competitive game or anything where I have to think too much is definitely nothing I want to do when my head is swimming or my throat is sore.
Still, there are a few games I enjoy immensely when I'm down and out. These are games that, even if I'm sick and close to dying, I still somehow feel that burning desire to get something accomplished, even if it's just one more level or one new skill acquired.
That select group of titles is like the comfort food of gaming to me. These are truly my gaming mashed potatoes; gaming comfort food I will eat, no matter how badly I feel. Or perhaps especially, depending on how badly I feel.
In all honesty, casual games seem like the best choice for a game to play when you're sick, don't they? They don't require too much work (most of them) and they pass time fairly easily. The closest game that comes to being casual that always manages to put me in a better mood is Every Extend Extra, or Every Extend Extra Extreme (E4). It's why I keep my Xbox 360 hooked up.
One thing I love about the game is that it's vibrant and colorful, saddled with pulsing beats and graphics to match. The basic premise is to time the explosion of a bomb so that you create as many chains of smaller explosions as possible. Doing so gets you an "extend" for your time as well as racks up the points. There are boss fights where you must create a certain number of chain reactions to be able to hit the bosses, so you have to adjust your style of playing and plan out a strategy to be able to get to the next stage. Or, if you're feeling lazy, you can always play in a marathon mode where all you do is play until you run yourself out of time or bombs. You can create some insane chain reactions, especially on E4, and with them come trippy graphics to match.
Sometimes I want to be a little more aggressive, and I feel like killing things. That's when I dig out my copy of Serious Sam and commence fragging. Monsters! Monsters everywhere! Monsters everywhere that are fresh for the slaughtering. Who needs Sudafed now? I'm laughing maniacally as I cut through armies of enemies that never stood a chance. It's just a great, silly little FPS that satiates my basic need to own. Honestly, I think that's good therapy for anyone. There are tons of chances to get it done in Serious Sam, too. The entire plot of the game is that if it moves, you kill it. That's it. All the "must-have" weapons are there, too: the rocket launcher, shotgun, machine gun, pistol, grenade launcher, and double-barreled shotgun. It's a familiar and comforting game where there's no pesky story forcing you to concentrate when you're doing your best to keep dinner down. It's simple: you kill, and you release any pent-up frustration you may have had previously. Instant relaxation.
Last, but certainly not least, as there are tons upon tons more games I'd like to list here, we come to music games. I am obsessed with music games. One of my all-time favorites is Amplitude or Frequency. Before Guitar Hero, Harmonix created two musical masterpieces that I won't soon forget. It's basically the same idea as Guitar Hero, except you have a track for every element of the song. The little orbs move down a track just like they do on a fretboard except you are in a small ship, "blasting" notes. You must activate each element of the song before it will play completely in the game.
This means capturing synths, vocals, drums, guitar, and anything else pertinent to making the song whole. I've finished it on all of the difficulties but for some reason I can't stop myself from going back, re-playing, and using my multipliers to get an even better score. It's completely addictive. I suppose it doesn't help that some of my favorite songs are included in the tracklist, but still. And while I love the new game Harmonix debuted a couple of years ago, it's gotta be the original for me.
There you have it–some of my favorite games to get into when I'm feeling sickly. I know some of you are bound to have some, so as always, let your voice be heard. As for me, I'm going to slink off and try to do something about this headache from sneezing so much.