A “Portal” to Another World

A “Portal” to Another World

Words by Scene PH

Pun intended, here are some games that have provided reprieve and have taken us elsewhere during these trying times

Whether it’s mobile gaming, traditional tabletop gaming, I-started-with-Animal-Crossing-and-now-I-can’t-stop gaming, or hardcore competitive FPS gaming (all of which are valid ways of gaming, by the way, but that’s a rant for another day!), this pandemic made gamers of all of us. 

Aside from the well-written narratives, beautiful settings, and the nostalgic trips down memory lane, these characters and worlds brought us comfort during a time when we needed it most. Here are some of Scene PH’s favorite games that transport us to far-off places, fantasy worlds, and moments in time: 


lara croft in shadow of the tomb raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider by Eidos-Montréal. Published by Square Enix. Captured on PS4

SimCity Build It
“SImCity BuildIt”

One of the things I miss the most is travelling, so it’s been quite the ride creating dream destinations in my “SimCity.” I’m playing the mobile “BuildIt” version, which comes equipped with a growing number of themed homes, buildings, parks, and landmarks to help feed my wanderlust. Among my current favorites are my beach town and my newest snowy fjords city. – Kitkat

Keanu Reeves smoking a cigarette in Cyberpunk 2077
“Cyberpunk 2077”

Game glitches and controversial launch-day aside, my favorite part of this game is wandering around Night City (alongside Keanu Reeves!), feeling like I’m in cities all over the world: Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Japan – give or take another 50 years or so. – Lara

“Shadow of the Tomb Raider”

Before the pandemic, I started setting aside money to travel to Latin America. I’ve always been fascinated with that region of the world – their traditions and myths, and how close they are to our own. If I had known earlier that Shadow of the Tomb Raider was set in Peru/Mexico, I would have played it the moment it came out. It is, so far, the only open world video game that I’ve practically completed in its entirety. – Nikki

Dream Daddy characters
“Dream Daddy”

I miss going on dates! So the next best thing is playing this dating simulator where you can go to concerts, cafes, bars, and carnivals with dreamy men! In case you missed it, we streamed it on Twitch last month. Follow us and join the kalat! – Ansis

mansion in the sims 4
“The Sims 4”

As known by the team, I’m not much of a gamer, but “Sims” has always been an exception. I spend hours and hours building houses and establishments, and renovating apartments. I usually play and build in Newcrest, because it’s an empty world that I challenge myself to fill up with homes and commercial lots. It’s also a lot of fun to look around online for custom content (thanks, Lara and Iya, for all the creator and website recommendations!) to use for decorating lots. – Bianca

Fantasy Worlds

guardians and link

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by Nintendo. Captured on Nintendo Switch

geralt of rivia slaying a monster
“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”

Probably my favorite fantasy game, and my first ever entry into the work of CD Projekt Red, the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is remarkable. Set years after Netflix’s prequel of the same title, Geralt of Rivia’s ward, Ciri, is missing, in danger, and presumably being pursued by the Wild Hunt. What follows is a morally ambiguous story, where the choices you make dictate the fate of the characters you have come to know and love. Bonus: side quests are just as compelling as the main story, and some monsters aren’t as bad as they look.  – Lara

breath of the wild
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

I’m late to the party but I just got a Nintendo Switch two weeks ago! And of course the first game I’m playing on it is Breath of the Wild. Stuck at home for more than a year now, I’m enjoying being able to freely explore the vast world of Hyrule while completing quests and fighting monsters. Makes me want to travel and be lost in a foreign country again. – Ansis


I was at the beginning of the lowest stage of my life and I came upon this entire world of Viking adventure. I could build villages, explore dungeons, fight monsters, and most importantly play with friends. Valheim got me so immersed, it made me forget a little bit of my reality and it gave me the opportunity to spend more time with friends when I needed it the most. – Jem

“God of War”

God of War is the only video game franchise that I’ve followed from start to current day. God of War 4, in particular, is a visual masterpiece, (it’s a tie with Ghost of Tsushima) and even if it veers away from its well-loved storyline of mythical Greece, it gives players a chance to explore what is perhaps a lesser known fantasy world of Norse mythology.  – Nikki

“Pokemon Blue”

When I think about the games that really transported me elsewhere, the classic “Pokémon Blue” is among my favorites. I spent hours on my old purple GameBoy trying to “catch ‘em all,” willing myself to evolve all my Pokémon before ending the game. Fast-forward to today and the ongoing lockdown, I have to admit nothing would be quite as gratifying as being able to unlock cities, explore hidden caves, infiltrate secret buildings, and discover rare Pokémon anew — all with my trusty Squirtle-turned-Wartortle-turned-Blastoise. – Kitkat

Moments in Time

Ghost of Tsushima by Sucker Punch. Captured on PS4

“Ghost of Tsushima”

Stunning graphics, breathtaking visuals, and historical Japan? Count me in. Despite the fact that this game is historical fiction, “Ghost of Tsushima” is a gripping story from start to finish. Set in the first year of the Mongol invasion in Japan, the game opens with the fall of the samurai, save for one remaining hero: Jin Sakai. Throughout the course of his journey, he struggles to learn and unlearn his samurai ideals – that honor and integrity can cost you your life, and will not always win the war. Playing this game made me cry (for the most part) and want to pick up my old Asian History books and cross-check every single reference. A (devastating) trip down memory lane. – Lara

“Call of Duty World War 2”

This is the only Call of Duty I enjoy really, and I think it’s more because of the story than the gameplay. I’ve always loved World War 2 history; it’s what brought my dad and I closer. Playing COD WW2 felt like a throwback to the times my dad and I would spend afternoons watching the classic movies I know and love (hello, Band of Brothers! Saving Private Ryan!).  – Nikki

jin sakai at the beach
“Crash Bandicoot: It’s About Time”

One game that will always take me back to simpler times is “Crash Bandicoot. This title is so nostalgic! I will always associate it with Sunday mornings as a kid playing on my PS1 without a care in the world. – Ansis

“NBA: 2k”

Let’s get things straight — I absolutely suck at 2K, and I’m not even into basketball.

As much as I’m awful at it, I have so much fun playing 2K because it’s a form of bonding I have with my cousins, especially the younger ones. I don’t have a gaming console at home, so whenever my relatives do visit my house, I have to impose a “No Playstation, No Entry” rule (hahaha) so my cousins can bring over their PS4, and we can play games together. Sometimes, we play other games, but more often than not, we play 2k. – Bianca

“Cube Escape: Arles”

Step into the shoes of Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh, and see if you can make your way out of his famous room in 1988 Arles, France. Filled with puzzles and an overarching point-and-click mystery narrative, it’s an incredibly well-thought out game that looks into the artist’s iconic pieces and his inner thoughts, giving you a deeper appreciation for his incredible mind. – Kitkat

“Disney’s Pocahontas (1996)”

Oldie but goodie — this is the first game I’ve ever completed, and as a 90s kid, it brings back all the nostalgia of playing with my Sega Genesis. Based on the animated film — inspired by the real-life Native American of the same name — the game follows Pocahontas and her encounter with the English Jamestown settlers. It’s a Disney-told history lesson set with the ability to run, swim, and swing through trees within a lush 16-bit world, making for a safer way to get more running room during this pandemic. Play it for free on Retrogames. – Kitkat

And, Finally:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons by Nintendo. Captured on Nintendo Switch

We cheated a little bit for this last one, because it doesn’t fall under one single category.  Last but definitely not the least – the gift that keeps on giving and arguably the one game that single-handedly saved our 2020-2021.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Catch the Scene team play different games on Twitch. Join us for Community Nights every Sunday from 8-10:30pm where we play anything from Jackbox, to Among Us, or just chat; and check out our Animal Crossing island tours this month!