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Five video games to keep your vibes “high” on 4/20 

As gamers, most of us are happy to hang out at home regardless of what’s making headlines. Still, things can start to feel a little stale if we’re not taking time to try new things.

In an effort to freshen up the flow of my weekend wake-n-bake, I reached out to friends to find out which video games appeal most to their stoney senses. Here are a few that stood out:

click to enlarge Animal Crossing: New Horizons - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons  Nintendo Switch
(Social, creative, relaxing, great music, stylish)

This kushy island experience, where along with your friendly animal neighbors you can plant and pave your own paradise, is a much-needed booster shot of Zen and blissful aesthetics. Play at your own pace, enjoy some local co-op or go online to hang with friends. Enjoy the music and hand-painted scenery as your days (which progress real-time) are spent chatting with animals, fishing, gardening or reshaping the island. It’s as chill as it sounds.

Elder Scrolls Online  Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac
(MMORPG, action-adventure, fantasy, open world)

Explore a world of dungeons, dragons and elves... Oh, my! ESO was a total buzzkill for me at launch in 2014, but six years later, my dreams have come true: Skyrim online. The world is exceptionally well polished and fully voice-acted, and the highly customizable skill trees make for an awesome experience regardless of the class you choose.

Fable III  Xbox360, PC
(Single-player, open world, immersive fantasy)

Follow your moral compass across Albion as your choices reshape the realm for good or evil. The art is charming, the battle magic is dope and the storytelling is spellbinding — and you travel with the most loyal digital doggo a mage could ask for. The main storyline is entertaining, and several of the side quests totally tripped my baked bean. Even though the plug was pulled on the Fable series in 2016, I pray to the old gods (and the new) that a proper Fable IV will find a path to production soon.

Grand Theft Auto V  PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
(Action-adventure, sandbox)

Weave your way through the streets of Los Santos in a race or a not-so-friendly game of rocket launcher tag. GTA isn’t my speed these days but a lot of my friends (including my grandmother) seem to really enjoy it when they’re toasty. It’s a solid, socially distant way to hang out and crack up with friends. One friend who played it high followed actual traffic laws for an hour; let yourself have more fun than that.

Pong  Atari, Atari Flashback 2
(Table tennis for two)

Because it’s good to keep it simple sometimes. Pong is one of the first video games ever produced. It doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to enjoy yourself or settle disputes the old-fashioned way. Then there’s Pong Quest: an RPG reboot launching this spring that will be available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. 

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