There are only so many TV shows to binge and books to read when you’re stuck inside—sometimes, you just want to grab a controller and jump into a 20- or 30-hour video game adventure from the couch. Whether you’re looking to journey into the Old West, manage an island paradise alongside an entrepreneurial tanuki, or just revisit some retro favorites, these titles offer dozens (sometimes hundreds) of hours of content. Find your next obsession on the Xbox One ($225), PlayStation 4 ($270), or the sold-out-everywhere Nintendo Switch.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2; $40-$46
If you really want to stretch your dollar, you can easily sink 40 or 50 hours into Red Dead Redemption 2 without even seeing half of what the game has to offer. The map itself is expansive—around 29 square miles—and the frontier locales are a cross between a romantic John Ford movie and the gritty corners of Deadwood. Once you get past the awe of the open world, Red Dead 2 is a classic Old West story of train robberies, gang warfare, and horse bonding that's constantly unveiling dramatic twists and blockbuster action scenes.
2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; $60
Literally every single character from the history of the Super Smash Bros. series is here in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That means there are over 75 playable characters to use in more than 100 colorful stages based on locations from Nintendo’s history. The kinetic, brawling gameplay of Smash really hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, so if you’ve played any of the other installments in the past, this one is easy to pick up. And with all those fighters to use and endless online matches to play, this is a game you can still have in your regular rotation years from now.
Buy it: Amazon
3. The Witcher 3; $30-$50
Netflix’s Witcher adaptation proved to be one of 2020’s surprise streaming hits, and the video game is a natural extension of the story. In it, you play as Geralt of Rivia, a curmudgeonly Witcher (a monster hunter, basically) who has to make money by ridding the world of grotesque beasts, while attempting to find his missing adopted daughter, Ciri. During your quest, you traverse a massive continent, where you’ll experience incredibly detailed cities and fortresses, along with creepy forests and dungeons. This won’t be a short game—the main story alone will probably take you around 30 hours if you fly through it, and the side quests can easily double that—but you'll never run out of addicting activities to play through and missions to beat.
4. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3; $48
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 rivals the scope of Avengers: Endgame with a roster of 36 of Marvel’s most popular characters to choose from. Once you’ve settled on your team of four (which you can switch at every save point), you embark upon a mission to stop Thanos from controlling the Infinity Gauntlet and, in turn, the universe itself. This one plays like an arcade brawler from the ‘90s, with an array of super powers at your disposal and different fighting styles to master. There’s also an upgrade system, so if you’re partial to one squad, you can concentrate on improving their abilities to make them nearly unstoppable by the end.
Buy it: Amazon
5. Sega Genesis Classics; $25-$30
If your taste skews a bit more retro, this title collects some of the best from the Sega Genesis in one package and allows you to play whatever you want, whenever you want. You’ve got more than 50 games to choose from, like Sonic the Hedgehog, Comix Zone, Golden Axe, Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, and Gunstar Heroes. And each one is exactly as you remember—there’s no remastering or upgrading here. It’s pure ‘80s and ‘90s bliss from a time when Sega was at the top of the gaming heap.
6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons; $60 (Digital Download)
Want to lose yourself in a game? Like, really lose yourself? Then fire up Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch. The game plops you on a deserted island, and it’s up to you to turn it into a full-fledged town with shops and residents. To get it done, though, you have to manage your resources, craft new tools, and always be making improvements. And since this is a Nintendo property, there are adorable anthropomorphic animals to help you along the way, like Tom Nook, a well-to-do tanuki who starts you off on this whole endeavor. (There's also a ghost that hands out bidets, if that's your thing.) This is a living, breathing game with no real ending—and Nintendo claims it will keep adding new features to it well into the future.
Buy it: Amazon
7. Stardew Valley; $19-$23
Move beyond FarmVille and lose all your free time and productivity to Stardew Valley. Here, you have to transform a failing patch of land into a vibrant farm and inject new life into the surrounding town. To get there, you plow fields, plant crops, raise animals, and do pretty much anything else a would-be farmer needs to do to get by. And outside of some decidedly farm-unfriendly combat, this game is actually relaxing. It’s satisfying to watch your farm grow into a full vegetable empire, and the soothing soundtrack that accompanies the game just adds to the tranquility. While it's similar to Animal Crossing, the different art styles and gameplay variations make each title unique.
8. Spider-Man; $27
When you can’t get much real-world air, you can take to the virtual skies in Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. This massive title allows you to swing around a beautifully recreated Manhattan, where you'll fight plenty of crime and face off against some over-the-top villains. With alternate costumes to unlock and side missions to conquer, this is another one that can last 20 to 40 hours.
Buy it: Amazon
9. Civilization VI; $50 (Digital Download)
Whether you’re a would-be dictator or an idealist with sights on global prosperity, the Civilization series has always allowed players to rule the world however they please (it’s also the same series that gave Gandhi access to nukes). In Civilization VI, it’s no different—you’re again in charge of turning a small society into a major player on the world stage. You accomplish this through trade, peace, and war, and like any chess game, every move you make has ripple effects down the line. While it’s known as a PC staple, the more recent titles have gone to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
10. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order; $47-$50
Set between Episode III and IV, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order puts you in control of Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan that escaped the purge at the end of Revenge of the Sith and is now a target of the Empire. The game’s story spans eight planets and gives players access to a number of Force abilities and lightsaber attacks to clear out enemies and solve puzzles. In addition to the combat, the game plays like a Metroidvania, meaning you’ll learn new abilities throughout that will unlock larger chunks of each planet. Fallen Order also has dozens of collectibles and secrets to scrounge for.
11. Super Mario Maker 2; $50
Think you can teach Nintendo a thing or two? In Super Mario Maker 2, you can build your own Mario levels from start to finish. While there are a few limits, the biggest one is your own imagination. There are options for underwater, dungeon, and traditional levels, and you can switch between all the major Mario art styles on the fly, from the pixelated look of the NES to the smooth edges of the recent 3D versions. Once you’re done, you can upload your creation online and have others play through it.
Buy it: Amazon
12. Overcooked! + Overcooked! 2; $20-$40
There are plenty of great choices on this list—but if you’re looking to just sit on the couch with a few others and play some co-op, look to the Overcooked! series. In this collection of the first two games, you and up to three other players have to prepare meals and solve puzzles in a kitchen full of obstacles and mayhem. In one level, your kitchen is placed on a pit of lava that is literally eroding the ground under your feet—and in another, you’re cooking on the back of a series of tractor-trailers, forcing you to jump from truck to truck to finish tasks. It’s pure chaos all the time, and there are countless hours you can invest in it.
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