Back to School Edition: Four Games That Prove Your Back To School Experience Isn’t So Bad

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Back to School Edition: Four Games That Prove Your Back To School Experience Isn’t So Bad

Few games encapsulate the “school is a nightmare you can’t escape” trope like the Danganronpa series. The first game opens with protagonist Makoto Naegi looking up at Hope’s Peak Academy all starry-eyed and full of wonder, excited to begin his new school life in one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Unfortunately, Makoto soon finds out that his time at Hope’s Peak won’t be spent nurturing a hopeful future for him and his classmates. Instead, a death game of despair awaits, hosted by an animatronic, black-and-white teddy bear named Monokuma. Makoto, along with 14 of his classmates, must either live out their lives trapped within the walls of Hope’s Peak Academy, or take part in a killing game where the only way to win is to get away with murder. Now, these kids must investigate the murders of their friends and then essentially sentence another friend to execution at the hands of Monokuma. Makoto had to watch his friends kill each other, so you can probably finish your history reading for class tomorrow.

Back to School Edition: Four Games That Prove Your Back To School Experience Isn’t So Bad
Persona 3

Each of the Persona games deals with balancing high school by day and demon hunting by night, but Persona 3 in particular makes all the fighting and death defying into a school-funded extracurricular activity called The Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (S.E.E.S). In doing the government mandated thing all teenagers do, our protagonist gets dragged into a year-long battle of the supernatural, which ultimately leads to his death. If the Persona 3 protagonist can start at Gekkoukan High planning to just have a regular high school life, going to high school things, and meeting high school kids, and then eventually sacrifice himself for the greater good, you can probably deal with the group of strangers you got sorted into to give a presentation on the concept of Social Penetration Theory.

Back to School Edition: Four Games That Prove Your Back To School Experience Isn’t So Bad
Doki Doki Literature Club

In school we often make commitments to extracurricular activities like clubs and student government, and sometimes you just don’t feel like going that day and feel like blowing it off. Or, maybe you could be grateful that your responsibilities don’t put you in the line of sight of a self- aware video game character hell bent on gaining your affection. Doki Doki Literature Club starts out simple enough, with a group of kids coming together to form a club to share and discuss each other’s writing, only for things to quickly take a dark turn as the girls in the club all quickly devolve into morbid versions of themselves. It’s revealed this is all so one girl named Monika can have you all to herself. Not “you” as in the main character, but you, the one playing the game. The person on the other side of the screen. The fourth-wall breaking visual novel presents itself as a run-of-the-mill dating sim about a group of teenagers passionate about poetry, only to reveal its true colors as a psychological horror game full of violence rooted in one’s possessive nature. If you could join a literature club to discuss poetry with your friends only to find yourself in an elaborate scheme by a self-aware club president to find real love, you can probably finish studying those flashcards for your midterm tomorrow.

Back to School Edition: Four Games That Prove Your Back To School Experience Isn’t So Bad
Life Is Strange

For Max Caulfield, her senior year at Blackwell Academy was meant to be a year of perfecting her craft as a photographer, reacquainting herself with her old hometown, and maybe reconnecting with her old best friend Chloe Price. But what she didn't realize is that she would be caught up in a school-wide mystery and missing person's case that delved into the darkest sides of the school. On top of all of this, she finds out she has the ability to rewind time, which puts pressure on her to not only handle all her schoolwork while also maintaining the relationships she's been nurturing since returning to the school, but now it's on her to user her powers to make sure every little instance of her investigation goes exactly right, or else there could be dire consequences. If Max can have her senior year uprooted and replaced by a supernatural crime drama, you can take an hour to figure out how to operate your Math teacher's proprietary online coursework.

Back to School Edition: Four Games That Prove Your Back To School Experience Isn’t So Bad
It's tough

School can and will be tough. Some days you're going to want to put off homework until the last minute, play a video game instead, or just quit so you can do anything other than focus on school. But if all the games set in school have proven over the years, it could always be worse. So get out of bed, do your homework on time, and get that degree glad you didn’t have to take part in a murder game with your classmates instead.

There’s a saying when one vents about their circumstances that one shouldn’t complain
because someone probably has it worse. While usually this is a dismissive move on the
perpetrator’s part, when it comes to complaining about the various tasks you have to do and responsibilities you have while in school, whether it’s grade school or higher learning, there are most certainly people having a rougher time in school than you are. In fact, video games have shown that school can be a nightmare for some people, and perhaps these scenarios are worth considering when the worst of your school experience is having to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to make sure you get to class on time.

Someone else has it worse.

It may be a cliché at this point. It may even be unnecessarily
dismissive. In the case of your time in school—be it grade school or post-secondary—there are most certainly people having a rougher go of it than you are. Video games have shown that school can be a nightmare for some people. Perhaps, then, these scenarios are worth remembering when your worst school experience is having to wake up at 6:30 am to make it to class on time.

Kenneth Shepherd

Kenneth Shepard is a Georgia-based writer who cries about video games in public places and on Twitter @shepardcdr. He also co-hosts a Mass Effect retrospective called Normandy FM, streaming on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.

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