In this time of social distancing and staying at home, we're all looking for ways to keep the frayed ends of sanity from coming fully apart. With this in mind, we reached out to the Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad, whose band is about to drop its ferocious ninth album, Verminous, on April 17th. The dude knows and loves his video games, and didn't hesitate to suggest some great time-killers.
"Howdy, freaks! Trevor from the Black Dahlia Murder here to recommend some coronavirus-time sci-fi-themed video games to occupy you during this stretch of immense boredom. I am a retro-gamer at heart, so most of my choices are old-school-certified slammers, save one more modern entry for the recent generation of systems."
1. Isolated Warrior (NES)
I mean, the joke was in the title with this one! He's alone, bro! Isolated Warrior is a cool and fairly unique game for the original NES, which is my all-time favorite gaming system. It has an angled up-and-to-the-right Zaxxon-esque perspective that separates it from other run-and-gun games for the system. Run, jump, flip — and sometimes hover cycle — over obstacles while navigating a futuristic landscape and fucking shit up with your trusty laser cannon. Highly recommended 8-bit action!
2. Quarantine (PC/3DO)
I haven't played this game since about 1994, but man, it was pretty damn cool from what I remember and the YouTube footage is definitely confirming this. You were a cab driver in a quarantined city in a post-apocalyptic setting, ridden with crime and general scumbaggery. Part Crazy Taxi, part Grand Theft Auto ... if you like running over mutants and splattering your windshield with torrents of blood, this is the game for you! Fire up that DOSBox emulator and get cooking!
3. Dr. Mario (NES)
You know exactly why I put this one on the list! In this retro falling-block action puzzler, Dr. Mario would drop different colored pills down the screen for the player to match and stack at the bottom in an effort to eliminate some cute yet menacing cartoon depicted viruses. Align similar colored pills and BAM! virus destroyed! A deceptively simple game, but also highly addictive. You should probably be bored enough by now to attempt to recreate the dances that the little virus dudes do. I definitely did that as a kid!
The plague-time themed action role-player Bloodborne — an offshoot of the Dark Souls series — is the perfect game for COVID quarantine. In it, the Gothic city of Yharnam is on lockdown while the streets have been overrun with plague-maddened murderers and terrible monsters, some of which will scare the absolute shit out of you. It's your mission to traverse the boarded-up city and rid the streets of the afflicted while searching for the origin of this unprecedented outbreak. Like the other entries in the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne is a highly challenging game that will see you dying A LOT. There is a real feeling of accomplishment when new ground is broken that is hard to match anywhere else.
Bio-Hazard Battle (Genesis/Steam)
Enemy forces have released a powerful retrovirus on planet Avalon that has introduced a slew of dangerous new lifeforms to their ecosystem. It is your job, as one of the last remaining humans, to return to Avalon via one of four bio-ships in an attempt to destroy the outbreak of creatures and make the place habitable once more. Bio-Hazard Battle is a 16-bit Shoot Em Up — or Shmup, for those of you in the know — that features some pretty slick graphics, cool power-ups and great music. I have fallen in love with the Shmup genre in recent years, and this is a fine entry indeed.
That's all for now folks! Dust off your old systems or fire up those emulators and do your part of ridding the world of rampant sickness!