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Here at the FAN EXPO HQ, our team is always nerding out over the world of fandom. On Team Picks, we share some of our favorite things we’ve been watching, reading and playing. This month, in honour of National Video Game Day, we’re talking about video games that we consider to be guilty pleasures.
What makes a video game a guilty pleasure? Unsurprisingly, our team has a lot of different ideas on that. For some, that means liking a game that is widely disliked, or falls too far outside of the mainstream idea of what a video game is. For one member of our team, it means literally feeling guilt about the way he plays a certain game, even as he gets a lot of joy out of it.
No matter what your personal definition of a guilty pleasure is, or which games you play, we hope you enjoy this month’s picks:
My guilty pleasure game has to be No Man's Sky. I recently started playing when it popped up on my Xbox Game Pass. This open-world space exploration game was supposed to be the game when it was announced in the 2010s but turned out to be a big disappointment for a lot of people. Critics said its storylines were lacking and the quests were repetitive. But despite all of that, I still enjoy the game because I'm a sucker for open-world survival games and it can be pretty Zen to wander between galaxies and scan alien flora and fauna. Plus, I am playing the game for $1.15 when it retailed for $89.99 so I am not complaining!
Senior Operations Manager
I’m going to have to go with Mario Kart for Nintendo 64. For me, the guilty pleasure part of that game is kind of literal: there are all kinds of things you can do in that game that make things way harder for other people, and I feel guilty sometimes for how good it feels to make those moves! Like hitting the lightning right before someone jumps off a ramp so that they don’t make the jump. Or when you hit the person in first place with a shell right before they cross the finish line and blow right past them. Never get tired of the joy it brings, but I do often feel guilty for doing it!
Social Media Coordinator
Does The Sims count? (Editor's note: Yes it does!) It’s so embarrassing, but it’s such a guilty pleasure of mine. I haven't played in a few years but I used to play quite a bit—I was really into it and so was a friend of mine, so we used to play together. To be honest, I’m not sure why it feels embarrassing—I think some people made fun of us for liking it, and it kind of feels like a virtual dollhouse. But I loved using the cheat codes and building really nice houses for my Sims.
Media & Public Relations
If you're looking for video game therapy that will make you feel like you're literally rolling up all of life's mess into a ball and throwing it into the void of space ... have I got a game for you. Katamari Damacy ReRoll for Switch is a compact version of my favourite time-waster from high school by Bandai Namco (originally for PS2). It’s a really silly idea, which is why it feels more like a guilty pleasure, but it’s also very soothing. As the Prince of the Universe (no big deal), your job is to repopulate the heavens, which have been rid of stars and planets, by rolling up everything from tiny knick-knacks to islands, until your balls are big enough to be approved by your passive-aggressive king father and booted to the skies. Trust me - if you're looking for a fun game with a great Japanese pop soundtrack, this one will give you 10 or so hours of pure joy.
Customer Service Coordinator
Mobile games often feel like guilty pleasures, and along those lines my husband and I have been playing a lot of Yahtzee on a mobile app. We are big fans of Yahtzee in general and have several versions in our physical game collection, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Legends of Zelda and Mario Brothers. It’s one of those classic games that you can play for hours on end, either on your phone or in-person, and it never gets old since the outcome will always be different.