Today’s gonna be a good day
Satan’s spinach isn’t everyone’s thing, but don’t feel like you’re excluded from the stoned shenanigans just because you don’t smoke. That’s preposterous.
420 is all about bringing people together. We all get high one way or another. Some of our highs are born from the slow burn of physical herbs in a sacrificial act to achieve another perspective. Other highs come from toppling a boss in Dark Souls, completing a song in Rock Band without missing a note — a #1 Victory Royale. I don’t see much difference between a packed bowl and a chicken dinner, but, in the spirit of harmony, today’s the day to celebrate the unity of both.
This year’s 420 is especially remarkable with both God of War and Nintendo Labo dropping simultaneously. If you’re completely disinterested in both sides of the fatherhood-childhood spectrum, here’s a few suggested games to play if you want to ring in 420 proper. Every platform is covered in some capacity, and some are even free, saving you those sweet, sweet bones for even more weed.
What are you playing today? If you can’t decide, I hope this helps:
The recent PS4 reboot didn’t exactly light the world on fire, but it lit my cold heart seeing Amplitude bring together folk from around the industry. It also paired very well with lighting a bowl, and is one of the most effective forms of simplicity I’ve ever seen in a video game. You pilot a ship automatically moving forward down a track at the tempo of whatever song you’re playing. There are three nodes that will appear on the track you’re on: left, middle, and right bumper (L1, R1, and R2 respectively). Think of it like a primordial Rock Band (same developer), but it’s played by tapping your fingers instead of strumming some plastic. In this way, the PlayStation controller itself becomes an instrument all its own.
As far as flow states go, there are certain things my fingers did while playing Amplitude that I swear I watched happen. I didn’t tell my fingers to do that, but they did it. Proof of you doing it is solidified by a thunk, shake, and automatic completion of the foreseeable track ahead, allowing you to move to the next instrument track to keep up the streak. Picking which instrument to tackle next creates a uniquely altered mix of the song almost every time you play, so it’s incredibly hard to put down once it clicks.
Divinity: Original Sin II
A couple months ago, we got hit with a pretty heavy snowstorm. The captivity eventually lead one of my roommates to boot up Divinity: Original Sin II. I sat down with him, smoked a bowl, and played this game for nine hours straight. I was completely sucked into the lore we began to build. People didn’t take too kindly to him being an undead, so we had to rely on my persuasion to get us through most situations. Unfortunately, as an elf, many looked down on me for being a cannibal. So what if I eat the limbs of the dead to gain insight into their life? It’s not ideal, but it works.
We both tried to influence each other’s decisions as little as possible. We’d wander and do our thing within a radius of one another, inevitably fuck up a conversation, and end up in combat. We just dealt with whatever the other got us both into. We (somehow) skirted by enough to get to a camp some guy named Griff seemed to oversee. I wasn’t too keen on how Griff conducted business, so things eventually went sour. Before approaching him for a final confrontation, I had aimlessly stumbled upon a gal named Butter and started chatting. She seemed to enjoy my company and told me to meet her later on in some town called Arx. I kept a mental note of it, approached Griff, and the battle ensued. I thought Butter was in cahoots with Griff, but thanks to our conversation, she swapped sides and helped us instead.
It was a stressful fight at first. I thought we were going to have to kill Butter, and I refused to attack her. But seeing the fruits of my mindless exploration pay off like that was incredibly rewarding when she attacked her own allies. With weed, some levels of thoughtless stupidity can spark some seriously interesting narratives.
Five minutes goes by in a flash. There’s something about a soccer ball getting punted by a bunch of little rocket cars that just feels…right. Teaming up with friends makes the experience much better, especially if you’re being stupider than usual and inadvertently causing teammates to rage quit. But once you get a good rhythm going, there’s a ton of instant gratification to be had in Rocket League. Replays can be public displays of skill as much as they can be a reminder of your failures, but the game’s chaotic nature mixed with randomized environmental swaps is enough to keep queueing up for the next match.
There’s also a ton of visual stimulation in Rocket League fit for a high mind’s obsession. Outside of a swath of entertaining unlockables to customize your cars, each car frame has a unique hit box that collides with the ball in its own way. Cosmetic experimentation has little effect on the actual game, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make it addicting in its approachability. Physics is fun.
Speaking of physics, Snake Pass is perfect for chilling out with the most minor, manageable sense of tension. Out of all the games I have ever played in my life, I’ve never seen a traversal mechanic quite as convincing as this. Snake Pass isn’t going to make your jaw drop. Honestly, the story is pretty abysmal, but you’re a fucking snake. Pushing forward isn’t enough to move forward efficiently; you have to bob your head left and weave right in order to pick up speed. Something as simple as lifting your head to slither up a small rock face otherwise impassable is uniquely gratifying.
Snake Pass is built from the ground up for this traversal mechanic, and each environment boasts a sizeable amount of optional collectibles to obtain. They’re all there ripe for the taking — you just have to figure out how to get there. Managing your weight as a snake can be incredibly difficult when trying to reach from one pole to another. Once you get your head situated so it won’t fall, your tail’s probably slipping off. If that happens, your body weight will most likely mark the beginning of your descent into failure. Luckily, you’re not alone! With the press of a button, your little bird buddy will fly over and grab your tail. This alleviates the back weight so you can, hopefully, regain a hold on your center of gravity and keep going.
It’s this tug of war between gravity and friction that earns Snake Pass its spot. It just feels good.
Monster Hunter: World
Snake Pass and Monster Hunter: World share a similar sense of elongated achievement. There is one specific hurdle you intend to jump, and you bang your head against the wall figuring out how to do it. Whether that’s an environmental obstacle or a winged, fire-breathing dragon, you’ll figure it out. As with most games on this list, it’s better played with friends — 420 in a nutshell. Meet up on this day, at this time, and take a hit. Or two. Or five. Monster Hunter: World is the same way when explored with others.
Each expedition is limited by time, exceeding no more than fifty minutes. You meet up at the Ancient Forest, you hunt a giant dinosaur, and you progress. Keeping friends around throughout your journey certainly helps ease new players into the overwhelming amount of systems the game throws at you at first, but none of them are absolutely necessary to enjoy what Monster Hunter does best: hitting things. Spend some time in the training area to find a weapon you enjoy using, then go out and get to huntin’. The hammer has some spectacular animations that really imply impact. Insect glaive users spend most of their time in the air, using the momentum of their helicoptering to propel them back upwards and, again, towards the monster. Even if it’s the tenth time hunting something, that immediate satisfaction never wanes.
What makes it all work together is how alive World feels. If you’re mentally elevated, the nuances of a thriving ecosystem are more striking than ever. Seeing a giant lizard gobble up a smaller creature whole and retain it in its (now bulging) front-belly-chest as it waddles around is wonderfully ridiculous. Monster Hunter doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Light(en) up, and grind one out.
VR isn’t the cool kid on the block right now, and that’s okay. Eagle Flight is a small flight simulator of sorts. You play as, well, an eagle. Whodathunk. But it’s set in a version of Paris that is completely overgrown with lush, green plants and tons of wildlife to flesh it all out. The concept alone is intriguing, if not a bit boring in its execution. There’s not many controls to an eagle. You have “go faster” and “go slower” buttons, but that’s about it. Tilting your head left and right steers the bird, and the game is fairly quick to test your reaction time with its control scheme.Over time, you kind of…become the bird.
There’s a hefty amount of optional levels to complete while you fly around Paris, but some of the most fun ones are found in the sewer systems. You have to navigate tunnels filled with memorization patterns and moving obstacles that are sure to trip you up. These levels grow in intensity as a quick turn of your head instantly avoids crashing into a wall, forcing a natural level of control and agility with your sights. If you’re smoking, you may forget you’re wearing the headset altogether. Just make sure you have enough room to flail a bit. I never did get used to the crunch of my bird bones splatting against a decision made too late.
Just make sure you’ve got the proper environment to play before depriving your senses of the physical world around you. Once you’re high and fly like an eagle, you’re gone.
Overwatch (Zenyatta only)
Listen, if you’re high and playing Overwatch, just play Zenyatta. If not for his unbelievably fun and effective support kit in-game, for his lore. He’s the most chillest of dudes, wandering about the world in search of spiritual enlightenment. Check out this bit of Zenny’s backstory from Overwatch’s official page:
“Ultimately, Zenyatta followed his own path. He chose to leave the monastery and wander the world, helping those he meets to overcome their personal struggles and find inner peace. But, when necessary, he will fight to protect the innocent, be they omnic or human.”
He’s all about bringing people together. Avoid playing Roadhog — he does nothing but split people apart. Do yourself (and your team) and favor. Play Zenny.
Elder Scrolls: Legends
Personally, I’d rather dig through our house’s massive collection of Magic the Gathering cards more than anything else, but Elder Scroll: Legends doesn’t require an entire basement full of half-baked deck ideas. It’s all neatly compact on your phone, and free to boot! Even if it’s just a high decision to get into a card game (Hearthstone fits the bill, too), it’s worth looking into. Making a deck has never been easier — all the information you could ever need is right there in-game. Birthing an idea in the form of a deck and watching it play out is fascinating sober, so smoking before diving into a digital library of card combinations hones in on the little intricacies that make a deck work. Being stoned can make for some adventurous takes on deck ideas, too, but even if you don’t stick the landing on your first deck, it always shines a light on other directions to take. And for a collectible card game, Legends has an unusually compelling single-player narrative to help onboard new players.
Since your phone is as mobile as you are, you can bring this one with you wherever you go. Even if it’s just taking a break from God of War to go cook some god awful Kraft macaroni and cheese, you can totally play a match in Legends while stirring the pot. No amount of munchies can prevent a dedicated, stoned nerd from achieving their dailies.
I think we can all agree: music is good. Music is great. Persona 5’s music, however, is downright fucking beautiful. The whole game has attitude, honestly. The high contrast in its black, white, and red motif is immediately eye-catching and incredibly hard to ignore. Menus bounce along with the soundtrack. The world is constantly moving around you at all times; everything’s so kinetic. With the right high, Persona 5 can feel like a moving piece of art. In fact, it kind of feels like that the whole time. It’s all so pretty.
Whether it’s a cat turning into a bus or trying to persuade a demon to join your ranks, Persona 5 continually keeps you on your toes. You only have so much time to spend between high school classes and saving the world, so what you decide to do with your time in-game bears weight. That weight gets heavier the higher you get, especially when you realize there’s not possibly enough time to appease everyone.
Everything from Persona 5’s user interface to its character design casts an alluring spell on those who put a little time into it. Narratively, it’s a slow start, but, seriously, listen to this shit. The whole game mixes aspects of media I never thought to combine, and it works in the weirdest way. Prepare to be stimulated to the point of dancing in a sitting position
Heroes of the Storm
Any MOBA you prefer will do. Heroes of the Stormis the one I have the most recent experience with, and even then it’s been a minute. But if you want to see time fly by while high, sit down with a MOBA. Heroes is lovely at the entry level as it focuses more on the collective team’s progress instead of an individual’s play. That removes some weight, but nothing can take the weight off a MOBA like weed can.
Smoking relieves performance anxiety and lets you play a little more freely. If you’re just jumping into Heroes, sticking with someone in your group is the best way to go, but over time (and a few bowls) you’ll gain the confidence to venture out on your own. The level of adaptation that comes with smoking weed is a bit of an enigma. You’ll start to see progress sooner than you think from a higher perspective, as you start multitasking brain processes in an attempt to conduct an ideal battle scenario.
Map awareness is key. Where’s the enemy at? Who went back to base? Why are you bot lane? Why are they bot lane? Why is everyone suddenly bot lane? These exact subjects spawn some of the worst text-based arguments I’ve ever seen in online communities, but smoking can help keep the fuse from lighting. More than that, it helps you laugh. Not at our teammates, but at ourselves. And we could all stand to laugh at ourselves a little more.