May 19, 2024


Feel everything

Video games that simulate summer camp activities

Colors Live

Colors Live on the Nintendo Switch lacks the versatility and technical depth of a tablet-and-stylus combo, but it makes up for that in accessibility. This surprisingly robust art app offers the ability to color, paint, share works, experiment, and hone skills through a campaign.

The Quarry

The Quarry, by Supermassive Games, is a summer camp horror story where players choose the fates of the teen counselors trying to survive a night at Hackett’s Quarry. The inventive story and fun characters make for a fun, frightful romp.


Mundaun is a hand-drawn horror story that takes place in the Swiss Alps. You arrive investigating the suspicious death of your grandfather, but soon find a deeper and more sinister mystery.


Inscryption is a deeply meta story about stories, and the early acts wonderfully evoke the kind of stories told around a campfire.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves is a rollicking adventure in a fictional realm where players control a crew of pirates out for gold and plunder. The ship mechanisms and physics headline a master class in atmosphere, and there’s a smorgasbord of adventures for players to explore.


Sailwind is a less lethal take on the sailor fantasy; it’s a sailing sim that focuses on the player’s ability to navigate the ocean and manage their shipments.


Raft is a sailing alternative in a survival game, where players start alone and adrift in the middle of a vast ocean. They have to build a floating home and then defend it from threats like natural disasters or deadly sharks.

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is a gorgeous game, generating limitless planets for the player to explore. I’ve spent endless hours roaming these alien landscapes with surreal crystalline structures or untamed ravenous flora, pausing to stare out and take tons of photos.

Umurangi Generation

Umurangi Generation puts the player in the role of a courier and photographer, judging their ability to take stylistic snaps that convey a message. The game is set in the “shitty future,” and a creative and fun photography challenge leads into a deeply compelling story.


Firewatch has a tragic narrative and affecting characters, but some of my fondest memories are just hiking through the wilderness, learning the routes, and enjoying the ambiance.


Valheim was a monster hit, and the game’s Hearth and Home update furthers the cozy Viking fantasy. While there’s some danger in this Viking sandbox, there are also chill vibes and lovely cabins to enjoy.

A Short Hike

A Short Hike’s summer camp appeal should be obvious from its name. The game offers a charming mountain full of fun characters for players to explore and enjoy in peace.