8 Great Back-to-School Video Games To Wrap Up Summer

Barring the drying of the leaves and the increase in yellow school buses in late August, the sign that a new semester was beginning, for me, was the way the air began to smell. After graduation, she let the seasons change without fanfare. But I usually find that in summer, a gust of warm wind smells sweet and sunny, like coconut-infused lotion (unless you’re in New York City, where summer wind smells like baked dog shit). In the fall, the air gets colder and smells fresher, crisper, like fresh dirt (or, if you’re in New York, it smells like cold dog shit).

Though it doesn’t mean as much to me anymore, that fall smell still makes me nostalgic for two decades of the first days of school. But school is out forever. I reluctantly accept that I am now a working semi-adult. So for my solution, I turn to these eight video games, which are either set in schools or feature memorable school elements. They’ll make you feel like you’re 18 again, only armed with a gun or an axe, or chased by monsters, for whatever reason. And we have something for everyone.

the child of the theater

Screenshot: Studio PScreenshot: Studio P

person 5, the 2016 installment in the Japanese RPG series, is the game I turn to to imagine my high school experience turned upside down and shocked. It’s absurd and rife with magical realism, but it also employs the same soothing repetition that your real high school years are based on.

Between the time you spend fighting crime in a tasteful black mask, which is a very childish thing about theater, you as the protagonist Joker must attend your daily classes and answer questions correctly, just like any other child. 16 years old. ancient. Then, and only then, can you be prepared to crush the wicked hearts of adults in turn-based combat, complete burger challenges for money, and have an inappropriate relationship with your homeroom teacher. Do not try this at home.

the cheerleader

paddle chainsaw turns a high school jock and his cheerleader girlfriend, the protagonist, 18-year-old Juliet Starling, into a lean, evil zombie-stomping machine. The hack and slash game, which is getting a remake sometime in 2023, is by no means a faithful representation of high school life. However, it takes the feeling of being repressed and only understood by guitar music and turns it into something fun, bright and bloody.

But the game has a strained relationship with its popular female lead, who, despite her chainsaw wieldings, is often mocked for the vulture-eye of a would-be adult gamer, especially with an infamous “skirt up” 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 go to great lengths to woo her (and only her), while kidnapping, tortures and murders other girls at school.

There are some more relaxing and realistic aspects of the game, like being able to join school clubs and make friends, but if you’re playing this game, it’s because you want to find out what it would be like if Machiavelli was an anime girl.

The one who works at Hot Topic

FromSoftware’s Action RPG blood borne, my favorite game in the entire world until the end of time, is not explicitly a “school” game, but it reminds me of the older kids in the mall behind the Hot Topic counter I ran into in school. It’s where you imagine turning up if you were to sidestep your parents’ pride and take on the great unknown as a 14-year-old. blood borne it is indistinguishable from any suburban mall.

neither it is No a school game blood borneThe grisly plot of is fueled by the teachings and happenings at Byrgenwerth, a site for higher education turned into a shell of what was once great, now filled with slime instead of scholars.

I played and thought blood borne a lot in college. Being a young adult can be somber, you know?

The one who works at Hollister

Image: EAImage: EA

Social simulation game The Sims 4 has two expansion packs based on the school: Discover the university and, more recently, high school years. Without its community of truly depraved modders, The Sims 4 is a normie brat, which allows young adult and teen Sims in their expansion packs to do usual normie brat things like go to class, make friends, and develop something that may one day be interpreted as a skill. Still, due to its mostly sandbox nature, 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 StudiesImage: Two Point Studies

two point campus, a business simulation game where you build and run a university, is worse than the harmless class normie. He’s instead the lacrosse guy who’s also in Delta Sigma Pi and dreams of unbuttoning his pants in the Goldman Sachs office urinals.

But a business brother personality melted into game form, like Kotaku staff member Zack Zwiezen writes in his review, it’s not that insidious. In fact, “two point campus is not here to stress you out.

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

the lazy

Screenshot: lynngu1n1Screenshot: lynngu1n1

Super Cram Sesh studio!!! is a short text-based college game from that its creator, lynngu1n1 apparently made for his college class. In it, you must make a series of decisions in the 24 hours leading up to the test that you didn’t study for the next day, including staying in your bedroom to study, going to the library, or reaching into a trash can full of pasta. of dining room He tastes of desperation.

the art boy

Image: No NodImage: No Nod

the episodic game Life is strangeuses high school student Max Caulfield’s ability to rewind time to comment on friendship and fallout and the fact that, hey, life it is weird. The game reminds me of the stock character in the story, the Gossip Girl Dans of the world, the Bilbo Baggins-es, who are meant to represent us as an audience. Life it is strange, we all think.

Strange, too, is Max’s exclusive senior boarding school, Blackwell Academy, in which players can explore, gossip, and uncover secrets as part of the game. But aside from the intentional weirdness, the fictional school suffers from an unfortunate developer oversight: it’s incredibly white-focused.

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

What do you play school games for? Nostalgia, comfortingly familiar stories, or just because? Tell me, along with some of your favorite school games, in the comments.

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