As Australians look out for themselves and the people around them by practicing social distancing, being cooped up in the same walls can be confronting when feelings of frustration, boredom, and loneliness creep up.

Despite shouldering a bad rap, video games can provide us with a way of staying connected to family and friends. But is it video games themselves or how humans use them that builds an ambiguous reputation?

Swinging on a wild pendulum between outcry and praise, some people believe video games can promote gun violence, while others believe they can inspire meaningful relationships and community building. In these times, public opinion is changing as we see the value they can bring when it really matters.

Whether you’re a curious newcomer to the world of games, a casual enthusiast, or seasoned aficionado, there’s something for everyone. Crafted by a range of independent game developers across the globe, get curious and spend a few moments with the games we’ve chosen. Play solo, with friends, or even strangers who become friends, then tell us — is it possible to stay socially connected when we’re physically distanced.

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    Plague Inc: Evolved

    Genre: Outbreak Sim, Strategy, Simulation
    Platforms: Windows ($21.50), Android (in app purchases), Apple (in app purchases)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? Yes
    Online PvP / co-op? Yes
    Local PvP / co-op? No
    Rating: 4.8/5

    Plague Inc: Evolved is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation, especially now. In this game, you play as the plague. Your pathogen has just infected ‘patient zero’. Now, you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global plague whilst working against everything that humanity does to defend itself.

    If you want a challenge, enter the lab and develop your own custom scenarios with Plague Inc: Scenario Creator on the Apple or Google Play Stores ($5.49).

     

     

  • Journey 1080p 2

    Journey

    Genre: Adventure, Single Player, Indie
    Platforms: Windows ($14.99USD), PS3 or PS4 ($22.95)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? No
    Online PvP / co-op? No
    Local PvP / co-op? No
    Rating: 5/5

    Explore vast deserts and primitive ruins on an emotional quest to uncover the long-lost secrets of a forgotten civilisation. Feel the strain of every step as you guide your nameless nomad through the wilderness to reach a mountaintop looming on the horizon. In the face of oppressive heat and howling winds, tap into an ancient magic to soar through the skies and discover this mysterious world alone or with a stranger you may meet along the way.

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    Alto's Odyssey

    Genre: Adventure, Single Player, Indie
    Platforms: Android (Free), Apple ($7.99)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? No
    Online PvP / co-op? No
    Local PvP / co-op? No
    Rating: 5/5

    Join Alto and his friends and set off on an endless sandboarding journey to discover its secrets. Soar above windswept dunes, traverse thrilling canyons, and explore long-hidden temples in a fantastical place far from home. Along the way, you’ll grind across vines, bounce atop hot air balloons, ride towering rock walls, and escape mischievous lemurs – all while uncovering the desert’s many mysteries.

  • Stardew Valley title screen

    Stardew Valley

    Genre: Indie, RPG, Single Player, Simulation
    Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux ($6.99)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? No
    Online PvP / co-op? No
    Local PvP / co-op? No
    Rating: 4/5

    You’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm plot in Stardew Valley. Armed with hand-me-down tools and a few coins, you set out to begin your new life. Can you learn to live off the land and turn these overgrown fields into a thriving home? It won’t be easy. Ever since Joja Corporation came to town, the old ways of life have all but disappeared. The community center, once the town’s most vibrant hub of activity, now lies in shambles. But the valley seems full of opportunity. With a little dedication, you might just be the one to restore Stardew Valley to greatness!

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    Don't Starve Together

    Genre: Co-op, Multiplayer, Survival, Indie
    Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Ps43, PS4, PS Vita, Wii, Xbox, Nintendo Switch ($21.95)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? Yes
    Online PvP / co-op?Yes
    Local PvP / co-op? No
    Rating: 4.8/5

    Don’t Starve Together is the standalone multiplayer expansion of the uncompromising survival game Don’t Starve. Enter a strange and unexplored world full of strange creatures, dangers, and surprises. Gather resources to craft items and structures that match your survival style. Play your way as you unravel the mysteries of this strange land.

    Cooperate with your friends in a private game, or take your chances with strangers online. Work with other players to survive the harsh environment, or strike out on your own. Do whatever it takes, but most importantly, Don’t Starve.

    Play the Pocket Edition on your phone, find it on the Apple or Google Play Stores ($6.49).

  • KTNE small

    Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

    Genre: Co-op, Multiplayer, Survival, Indie
    Platforms: Windows, MacOS, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch ($10.75), Android ($12.99)
    Single player? No
    Cross-platform multiplayer? No
    Online PvP / co-op? Yes (over webcam)
    Local PvP / co-op? Yes
    Rating: 4/5

    Find yourself trapped alone in a room with a ticking time bomb. Your friends have the manual to defuse it, but they can’t see the bomb, so you’re going to have to talk it out – fast! Tracked motion controllers and gamepad compatible.

  • Moon Hunters 1080p banner

    Moon Hunters

    Genre: Co-op, Multiplayer, RPG, Adventure, Indie
    Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch ($21.95)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? No
    Online PvP / co-op? No
    Local PvP / co-op? Yes
    Rating: 4/5

    Play alone or with friends! A co-op personality test about exploring an ancient, occult world in 5 days. How will you be remembered?

  • MinecraftBedrockEdition

    Minecraft: Bedrock Edtion

    Genre: Survival, Sandbox, Building, Multiplayer
    Platforms: Windows ($40.45), Xbox ($29.95), PS4 ($19.75), Switch($39.95), iOS and Android ($10.99)
    Single player? Yes
    Cross-platform multiplayer? Yes
    Online PvP / co-op?Yes
    Local PvP / co-op? Yes
    Rating: 5/5

    Build epic castles, explore deserts, fight monsters with diamond weapons and farm crops. Minecraft is a sandbox survival and building game that challenges the player to survive in a massive world full of monsters and hidden treasure. Gather resources, build a base, start a farm and begin to explore the world; Minecraft offers hours of exciting gameplay.

    But if you just want to build, enter creative mode and build anything. With a massive inventory full of hundreds of different blocks, your only limit is your imagination. With full online support, you can play by yourself, with your friends or even join a server with hundreds of other people. Minecraft offers something for everyone!

    Want to build a lush, fantasy garden? Join the MOD.Craft realm and work with MOD visitors and Staff to create a beautiful garden from Tuesday-Friday, more details here.

  • Warning: these games could trigger a photosensitive reaction. Play with caution if you experience epilepsy, migraines, or other photosensitive conditions.
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