Today is Valentine’s Day, but you probably realised that thanks to all the animated Facebook posts and the merchandise in the supermarkets. Some choose to celebrate with gaming dates, or with Tank’s suggestions. Me, I’m single this year, so I don’t have a special player two. But I’m a strong and independent man who don’t need no woman, so here are my suggestions for playing alone.

Borderlands

Borderlands  is a near perfect escapism game. There’s danger on all sides, and a bajillion guns to sort through, so you won’t have the brain power left in reserve to contemplate that you’re playing a four-player game alone. There’s simply enough going on to distract you. And really, playing by yourself gives you a whole screen to work with, and you can take your time and really enjoy the comedic dialogue and writing. Furthermore…

Wait, wait. I just remembered. My first serious girlfriend and I bonded over Borderlands. We played it on the same PC, so we had to take turns. Now that I think of it, the association is just too damn painful. Okay, skip Borderlands, maybe the next one is better.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a near perfect escapism game. It’s a relaxing single-player game that’s all about rebuilding your life, while also managing your new farm and building social connections. There’s so much to do that the hours will simply fly by, and the mellow process of growing the perfect field of radishes will offer a great sense of reward. Also, just because your relationships may have failed, doesn’t mean your protagonist’s relationships have to. Stardew Valley has a number of well written and realised characters to form an in-game relationship with. Furthermore…

No, hang on. My most recent ex-girlfriend gave me Stardew Valley on Steam. In fact, the only reason she joined Steam was to play the game (my recommendation) and subsequently gift me a copy. Now I’ll just think of her each time I hear the intro music. Skip, let’s try the next one.

The Sims

The Sims is a near perfect series of escapism games. You can take your pick of the bunch here, but The Sims 2 was my favourite. I just found the others to be too cluttered and feature-saturated. Anyway, The Sims gives players total control over the lives of their little computer people, and learning how to properly balance their lives and relationships could even teach people how to handle their real lives. Furthermore…

Goddammit, I just remembered. Literally everyone I’ve dated has played The Sims. Wow, that was a big one to overlook, and now I’m just getting flashbacks of each of them. No, skip The Sims too.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls is a near perfect escapism game, and one that accurately mirrors the minefield of relationships. This one has you, usually alone, going up against horrible events and gruelling trials, desperately trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go. However, the hardships you encounter are just a sign that you’re going in the right way, and anything can be overcome by learning familiar patterns and not getting hurt. And if need be, there is always someone online who can help or has an answer. The other is Dark Souls. Furthermore…

Nope. Scratch this. Remember the ex who gave me Stardew Valley? I taught her how to play Dark Souls. She hardly left her gaming comfort zone beforehand, sticking to Harvest Moon and Pokémon until I stepped in. Watching a relative gaming noob improve and utterly crush the notoriously difficult game was my second proudest moment as a gamer. Now, the game just doesn’t have that same appeal.

Knitting

I just realised how much of a corner I’ve gotten myself into. Gaming is my favourite pastime, so naturally I try introduce it to the people important to me. Unfortunately, when they’re gone, this just means I have so many memories, associations, and baggage connected to these games that I can’t enjoy them fully. Injustice, Rayman Origins, Pokémon, Devil May Cry, Dragon Age, and many more are collecting dust on my shelf for this reason. So I’m just going to knit. Yep, with needles and wool. Everyone I’ve dated has made fun of my ability to knit, so I’m going to spend today making a scarf or something. Furthermore…

Wait, nevermind. I just realised that I’ve never dated anyone while seriously playing Nintendo, so I’m just going to jam Wind Waker until all the chocolates are severely marked down.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!