Gaming’s value trinity

Video games can be a great escape for anyone who’s had a stressful week or who just wants to stay inside and have some fun. They can be especially helpful for students, who juggle multiple classes and deal with a variety of stressful situations, such as exams and being alone in these times of social distancing.

However, enjoying video games as a student can be tough. One major hurdle is finding time to play, as students already split their time among a variety of assignments and responsibilities. A second major hurdle is cost, as most major studio games are priced around $60 – more than a college student on a tight budget might be able to afford.

However, three particular games are a great choice based upon aspects that would be important to students – price, ease of play in spaced-out sittings and more common criteria such as gameplay and presentation.

Hollow Knight

This game lets you explore a world full of interesting bugs, ancient societies and ruined kingdoms. Playing as a small bug, you’ll fight your way through the world as you try to piece together what happened to the once-great kingdom of Hollownest.

    • Price: At just $14.99 on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, Hollow Knight is a fantastic value. On average, most players can finish the story in about 24 hours, but there’s much more to do that the average time of completion is about 54 hours.
    • Pick Up and Play: The complex story could become confusing if you take long breaks from the game, but the exploration redeems this. If you run out of time to play, simply find a bench (the game’s way to save) and the game will be waiting for you until next time.
    • Gameplay: Simply put, you’re going to die a lot. Hollow Knight can be challenging as there’s a heavy focus on skillful combat. However, nothing beats the satisfaction you feel after defeating a boss that seemed impossible to beat – over and over again.
    • Presentation: Filled with beautiful hand-drawn art and a wonderful soundtrack, Hollow Knight is an absolute pleasure to experience. Everything works together perfectly to create one of the most immersive games ever.


This game is filled with mythological heroes, dangerous monsters and Greek gods. In it you play as the son of Hades, Zagreus, as he attempts to battle his way out from the depths of hell, in search of his mother, Persephone. Escaping won’t be easy, though, as lord Hades throws everything at you, in order to keep you in.

    • Price: Recently released for $24.99 on the Nintendo Switch and PC, Hades is a fantastic game. The main story can be beat in about 17 hours, but to truly complete the game it will take around a whopping 80 hours. If that’s not value, I don’t know that is.
    • Pick Up and Play: This is the ultimate game if you don’t have a lot of time. Each breakout attempt will only take as long as you’re alive, meaning that as soon as you die, you can decide whether to play again or walk away.
    • Gameplay: In Hades, when you die you start over from the very beginning. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because every time you make a run you’ll be stronger. With a variety of weapons at your disposal, you’ll soon see that what used to be tough is no longer a challenge. Don’t get too comfortable though, or you’ll get thrown off by a change the game has made.
    • Presentation: Sporting unique and beautiful artwork, a rocking soundtrack and fantastic voice acting, Hades is a different beast from your usual game. The characters bring this game to life, each one oozing personality. You’ll have a hard time picking your favorite.


Obstacles are a part of life that people must overcome. This is what you do in Celeste, where you play as Madeline, a young woman attempting to climb Celeste Mountain. However, she soon learns that the mountain might have more power then she thought.

    • Price: This game is available for $20 on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. Celeste isn’t the longest game, taking only about 8 hours to beat the main story, but the extras keep it interesting, pushing average completion up to about 36.5 hours.
    • Pick Up and Play: Taking breaks from this game could be helpful as some parts can be extremely challenging. However, after jumping in again and remembering the controls, you’ll fall in love all over again with the characters and with Celeste Mountain itself.
    • Gameplay: Again, you’re going to die a lot. Celeste is a tough platformer; maneuvering through tight spaces and developing quick reflexes are going to be a must. However, you’ll soon realize that the difficulty contributes to a beautiful story about self-discovery and acceptance.
    • Presentation: Vibrant pixel art and chilling synth music give Celeste Mountain a mysterious vibe. To some, Celeste may seem old-school, but it is a beautiful game, with endearing characters.

Any of these games would be a great choice for any student because they’re cost effective, and they can fit with busy schedules. Everyone needs a distraction, especially during these trying times. So why not get lost inside the beautiful world of video games?

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