8 Fantastic Back-to-School Video Games

After graduation, I let the seasons change without fanfare. But usually I notice that in the summer, a puff of hot wind smells nice and sunny, like coconut-infused lotion (unless you’re in New York, where the summer wind smells like cooked dog poop ). In the fall, the air cools and smells fresher, crisper, like fresh earth (or, if you’re in New York, it smells like chilled dog poop).

School is out forever. I reluctantly accept that I am a working semi-adult now. So, for my solution, I turn to these eight video games, either set in schools or featuring memorable school elements. They’ll make you feel like you’re 18 again, armed only with a gun or an axe, or hunted by monsters, for whatever reason. And we have something for everyone.

The child of the theater

Screenshot: P Studio

personas 5, the 2016 episode of the Japanese role-playing game series, is the game I turn to when imagining my upset and shaken high school experience. It’s absurd and full of magical realism, but it also uses the same relaxing repetition that your high school years settle into.

Between your time spent fighting crime in a tasteful black mask, which is a very theatrical thing for kids to do, you – as the protagonist – Joker must attend your daily classes and answer questions correctly, like any other 16-year-old. Then and only then can you be ready to crush evil adult hearts in turn-based battles, complete burger challenges for cash, and have an inappropriate relationship with your homeroom teacher. Do not try this at home.

The cheerleader

Chainsaw Lollipop turns a high school jock and his cheerleader girlfriend, the protagonist, 18-year-old Juliet Starling, into a lean, mean zombie-stomping machine. The hack-and-slash game, which is getting a remake in 2023, isn’t an accurate representation of high school life at all. However, it takes the feeling of being repressed and understood only by music with guitar and transforms it into something fun, bright and gory.

But the game has a strained relationship with its popular female protagonist, who, despite her chainsaw wielding, is often pranked with the vulturine stare of an alleged adult gamer, especially with an infamous “up-skirt” achievement. Most of the time this game isn’t accurate, but as a former high school girl, I can confirm that men are weird (to say the least!).

The misfit

If men are weird with high school girls (they are), Yandere Simulator imagine what it would be like if high school girls were even weirder. The ever-developing stealth game, which was banned from Twitch in 2016, features a bloodthirsty “yandere,” an obsessive, usually female character who will do anything to crush her own (and only her own), as she kidnaps, tortures and murders other girls at school.

There are more realistic and calming aspects to the gameplay, like being able to join school clubs and make friends, but if you’re playing this game it’s because you want to know what it would be like if Machiavelli were an anime girl. .

The one who works at Hot Topic

FromSoftware’s action role-playing game transmitted by blood, my favorite game in the whole world until the end of time, isn’t explicitly a “school” game, but it reminds me of the older mall kids behind the Hot Topic counter I used to meet at the ‘school. It’s where you imagine yourself arriving if you were to flee the pride of your parents and set off for the great unknown at the age of 14. transmitted by blood is indistinguishable from any suburban mall.

Nor is it not a school game. transmitted by bloodThe macabre plot of is fueled by the teachings and events of Byrgenwerth, a site of higher learning transformed into a once-grand shell of itself, now filled with mud instead of scholars.

I played and thought transmitted by blood a lot in college. Being a young adult can be dark, you know?

The one who works at Hollister

Image: EAImage: EA

Social simulation game The Sims 4 has two school-based expansion packs: Discover the university and, more recently, High school years. Without its community of truly depraved modders, The Sims 4 is a Norman brat, allowing young adult and teenage Sims in its expansion packs to do normal things like go to class, make friends, and develop something that may one day be construed as a skill. Yet, due to its mostly sandbox nature, The Sims 4 is, in my opinion, the best game to turn to when you want to immerse yourself in the memories of the school day.

The teacher’s pet

Image: Two Point StudiosImage: Two Point Studios

Two-point campus, a business simulation game in which you build and run a university, is worse than harmless class standard. He’s more like the lacrosse guy who’s also into Delta Sigma Pi and dreams of unzipping his pants in the urinals at Goldman Sachs’ office.

But a business brother character turned into game form, like Kotaku writes contributor Zack Zwiezen in his review, is not so insidious. In reality, “Two-point campus is not here to stress you out.

“It offers a more relaxed and personal management simulation in which you care more about the physical, social, mental and emotional needs of your students than the balance of the books,” he writes. Put on your college dean’s moccasins for a bit. They looked expensive.

the slacker

Screenshot: lynngu1n1Screenshot: lynngu1n1

Great study Cram Sesh!!! is a short text-based itch.io college game that its creator, lynngu1n1 apparently made for their college class. In it, you have to make a series of decisions in the 24 hours before the test that you didn’t study the next day, including staying in your dorm to study, going to the library, or sticking your hand in a garbage can full of dining room pasta. It smacks of desperation.

The child of art

Image: Don't nod your headImage: Don’t nod your head

The episodic game life is strangeuses high school student Max Caulfield’s ability to go back in time to comment on friendship and consequences and the fact that, hey, life is odd. The game reminds me of the Everyman character in the story, the Gossip Girl In the world, the Bilbo Baggins-es, who are supposed to represent us as an audience. Life is strange, we all think.

Weird, too, is Max’s elderly-only Blackwell Academy boarding school, which players can explore, chat, and discover secrets within the game’s setting. But in addition to the intentional weirdness, the fictional school suffers from an unfortunate oversight. from the developer – she is incredibly white-centric.

In a 2015 article for Vicegaming journalist and writer Shonté Murray-Daniels describes how life is strange is “a pretty compelling play on high school life—unless you’re a student of color, in which case it completely ignores your background.” Subtle racism like this, which is present in almost every game (even the ones we really, really love) and in real-world schools across the country, are unfortunate reminders that you can escape in games. , for a while, but the reality they were made in will always seep out eventually.

Why do you play school games? Nostalgia, familiar and heartwarming stories, or just because? Tell me, in addition to some of your favorite school games, in the comments.

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