Which videogame makes you the happiest?


Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Whenever you’re having a rough day, there’s nothing better than sitting down and putting on a game that makes you happy just to play it. Something that makes you laugh and smile, helps to relieve stress, or gets you to stop worrying about things for a bit. For some, this might be their favorite game. For others, it’s more of a comfort game. Nevertheless, everyone has at least one game that makes them happy.

So, which video game makes you the happiest? Here’s what our staff had to say:

Ben Davis

For me, that game is Katamari Damacy. Everything about the Katamari series makes me happy. The bright, colorful graphics, the quirky, upbeat music, the crazy character designs, the fast-paced gameplay, the rainbows… so many rainbows! The King of All Cosmos literally pukes rainbows!

Simply turning on the game and watching that opening cinematic immediately brings joy to my heart. It also helps that the gameplay is so fun and simple. Rolling a ball around to pick up random junk as the ball grows larger and larger the more you pick up… it’s such a bizarre idea, yet it somehow makes total sense. And that music! How can you not be happy while listening to tracks like “Cherry Blossom Color Season” or “Lonely Rolling Star“?

There’s seriously nothing about the Katamari games that doesn’t make me smile.

Chris Carter

Very few things make me happier than a session with Jumping Flash! 2. While the little bunny robot is adorable, the rush I get while leaping in the air is pretty much unrivaled in gaming. Gameplay consists of nothing more than jumping around giant landscapes and blasting enemies, but the way the mechanic itself works is incredibly fun, mostly due to the unique first-person perspective.

Sometimes I’ll just go into the first level and jump around a bit if I need to clear my head — it’s that relaxing. While the visuals haven’t aged all that well, the gameplay still stands up. If you’re a fan of 3D platformers, be sure to check it out on the PSN.

Jason Faulkner

This is a super hard question because pretty much every game makes me happy to some extent. I complain about them just as much as anyone else, but deep down, I am happy with any game that makes it to light because that means someone, somewhere is probably enjoying it.

The game that comes to mind though, even 13 years later, is Freelancer. I’ve been a huge space opera/sci-fi buff since I was young, and 12-year-old me was super pumped when this game came out. Sure, it wasn’t as in-depth as the Elite or Freespace series, but it was palatable and easy to digest, while still being super expansive. I spent hundreds of hours in that game over LAN, exploring its universe with my then best friend.

I’ve never really gotten that feeling since then with a space-based game. The focused and nuanced universe is in stark contrast with the sprawling goals of Elite: Dangerous and the upcoming Star Citizen, and the focus on the single-player experience made it all the better for me, as I am not a huge MMO fan (my schedule is too erratic). I attempted to play the X series, but it was a little too unfocused for me, and ended up being a bit of a disappointment although I enjoyed it. I’ve got my fingers crossed for No Man’s Sky though!

Rob Morrow

When I think about which game “makes me the happiest,” it becomes impossible to select one particular title. It’s easier to perhaps pick one that I tend to return to the most, the game that I can always rely on when I can’t quite decide on what it is that I want to play.

If I reframe the question like this, Torchlight 2 would immediately spring to mind. I’ve spent hours and hours tinkering with Runic’s ARPG without ever becoming tired of it. It’s one of those “Forever Games,” or as the lovely Mike Martin has put it — a “Desert Island” title, that’s always a joy to play, no matter how tired, sick or overworked that I may feel on a given day.

Robert Summa

The game that consistently makes me happiest is the NBA 2K series. It’s not so much the game in and of itself that makes me happiest, but all the moments within it. Since I’m past my dunking prime at this point in my real life, there really is no better feeling than driving down the court and dunking on someone virtually or sitting back on defense and blocking someone’s shot into the stands. These are the moments I play this game for.

Those moments are amplified when you can actually get into a good online game with friends. Working as a team and working to dismantle a rival squad can bring some of the most satisfying experiences that any game can offer

Brittany Vincent

I don’t have a lot of time to myself these days to play what I really, really want to. Sometimes I’ll load up something out of laziness on Steam because I don’t have to jump through hoops to play it. Most of the time, I feel compelled to play Um Jammer Lammy, but I don’t have a PlayStation hooked up, an emulator configured and set up, or the desire to play through again on PlayStation 3 because of the many sound issues I’ve had with it since I purchased it via PSN. I’m not even sure if I can play it on my Vita, and I honestly don’t care enough to clear off my already-packed memory card to play it anyway. So I keep my original game pristine in its case and watch YouTube videos of it. It’s enough for me to feel like I’m playing when accessing it for real is too much trouble, but on the off chance I really want to jam on a water hose or take care of a baby caterpillar being, I’ll sneak on the PS3 and complete the entire game.

I know it’s a really hot trend to hate things because of their nostalgia factor, and that’s whatever, but that’s one reason I love this game so much. Um Jammer Lammy is one of my favorite games of all time. Nothing feels as good as tapping the PlayStation’s face buttons along with the music on-screen that I could sing along to forever. I’m instantly transported to my grandma’s basement on Christmas Eve years ago when I opened presents and knew I had the full game to look forward to. I remember staying overnight and going down to the “playroom” area in the basement to watch Pokémon VHS tapes for the rest of the day waiting to get home and try out my brand new game. I realized that, unlike in the original demo I played to death, Lammy wasn’t playing in hell anymore and was being sent to “an island.” I marveled at how catchy the music was. I knew I’d probably never see another game like it, at least with Lammy at the helm. And I was right. I guess I never will.

Jonathan Holmes

A lot of people complain that Nintendo’s lower profile franchises like Pikmin and Rhythm Heaven don’t get enough love, but they ain’t got nothin’ on Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio. The Last Guy, Ape Escape, Patapon, and of course Loco Roco are just a few SCE Japan Studio franchises that have been criminally overlooked in the past ten years. Nathan Drake, Ellie, and Kratos are the faces most people associate with the PlayStation name these days, but for me, the heart of the brand still lies with Parappa, Robbit, and the Loco Roco.

Loco Roco is similar to the upcoming Kirby and the Rainbow Curse in that you take indirect control over a relatively ineffectual blob stuck in a dangerous world. Indirect controls can be a turn off for a lot of people, as they can lead the player to feel less like they have inhabited the body of someone else, and more like they are hanging out with someone else. I love hanging out, so that works for me just fine. Loco Roco seems to be aware of this. It puts constant effort into making our time spent with the Rocos as wonderful as possible.

Case in point, all the Rocos sing along to the game’s music as you play. It’s a small touch, but that’s exactly why it goes such a long way towards making them feel real. Like Luigi’s “Mario!” button in Luigi’s Mansion, it’s a small detail that doesn’t draw attention to itself, and that’s exactly why it comes off as genuine. More so, we all know what it’s like to make up our own words to a video game song, and so do the Rocos. They’re like little fat, limbless Brentalflosses, overcome with passion, improvising as they go. It’s all silly and fluffy and that’s great, until you hit the pure drama of Blue’s level. That baritone! That gravitas! It’s downright operatic, worthy of Mozart, and it only gets better from there. The key changes that hit further in, the backing vocals, the church bells… it’s making me a bit dizzy just thinking about it.

What I’m trying to tell you is, this game makes me incredibly happy.

Also see, Christmas NiGHTS, Animal Crossing andWe <3 Katamari

Josh Tolentino

It’s pretty tough to answer just “what game makes you happy” because what makes us happy can change from day to day. But if we use how much time we’ve spent with a game as something approaching an objective measure, then Star Trek Online has made me happier than any other game…ever. My Steam clock claims I’ve spent nearly 1600 hours playing STO, and that doesn’t even take into account the fact that STO went a year or two without being offered on Steam.

But with my critic hat on, it’s hard to find truly redeeming reasons for the time spent. The game’s been operating for five years, and yet sometimes feels like an Early Access title when it comes to technical stability. The balance is all over the place, and pervasive levels of monetization make a mockery of the Federation’s socialist ideals.

And yet…I’ve no desire to stop playing. I’m not even that huge a Star Trek fan! If nothing else, Star Trek Online has helped me let go of that nerdy fixation on having the things we like also be the “best” things, which tends to lead to all kinds of unfortunate attitudes.

Mike Martin

There is one game that has always brought me joy, no matter what was going on in my life. Gunstar Heroes is that game. The grabbing, the tossing, the combining of weapons has always engaged and occupied my mind. The beautiful sprite-work is icing on what (for me) is the perfect side-scrolling, action cake. Treasure has created many amazing games throughout the years, but this one helped a little guy through a lot of tough times. They gave him a chance to go on an adventure with his twin brother and save their sister and older brother. It offered a kick-ass experience and was centered on family. To say that struck a chord with me, is an understatement.

Gameplay is king though and Heroes action was (to me) unlike anything else out there. Whether I was taking down the Seven Force or fighting my way across a flying fortress, I was constantly challenged and surprised. Taking down that scumbag Colonel Red at the end was bittersweet though, as I then had to watch Green sacrifice himself to destroy Golden Silver. Sounds dark for a game that is supposed to be my happy place right? Well this game helped me have hope in family, in doing the right thing at any cost, it let me adventure with my brother and taught me the joys of combining lightning with homing. Wrap all that in beautiful colors and explosions, put a bow on it and you have something that brings me joy to this day.

Patrick Hancock

So many games make me happy! Wind Waker, Jet Set Radio, Starseed Pilgrim, Dota 2, the list goes on! But if I had to settle on one, I think I’d go with Final Fantasy VII. It was my first introduction to the series and holds a very special place in my heart.

The cast of characters feels like family to me. When I’m in that world, it feels like a second home. The battle system is still one of the best in the genre and will always hold up. Then of course there is the Golden Saucer! That location alone is why I chose FFVII for this list. Arm wrestling, snowboarding, CHOCOBO RACING?! Brings a huge grin to my face just thinking about it! AVALANCHE 4 lyfe.

Darren Nakamura

I’ve talked about it before, but Tomodachi Life makes me happier than any other game right now. Even though it’s a little shallow, there’s something about visiting old friends who I don’t get to see often in real life, hanging out with them, and watching them do absurd things that never fails to make me smile. It’s a world where my mom and Aerith Gainsborough can have a rap battle, where my college roommate can date my fictional adult daughter, and where Jim Sterling can dress up in a bear costume and spy on me while I ride a carousel.

It represents an ideal existence. Sure, there is heartbreak and infighting, but it’s nothing that can’t be solved with a favorite food or a nice bubble bath. I can think of no better life than to be on an island with all of the friends and family I have made over the course of my life. Just pretending for the few moments I play each day makes me incredibly happy.

Which games make youincredibly happy? Let us know in the comments!