While coronavirus threatens our lives and livelihoods, social distancing, isolation, and quarantine have become the new norm. Suddenly, our nation is filled with people asked to stay home and cut off most casual interactions with the world outside. In this environment, the art, hobbies, rituals, and entertainments we love have become ever more vital to our mental wellbeing. As a new, and (hopefully) limited new series on Lewton Bus, Isolation Nation aims to give our editors and contributors space to talk about the things that are giving them a little comfort in this isolated world, for your social distancing entertainment.
Adam Bumas – Over The Garden Wall
This week I continued my journey through the last decade-plus of animation with Over The Garden Wall. I had heard good things, but it exceeded every expectation I had: The miniseries, about the length of a mid-length feature film when put together, is a modern twist on about a thousand years’ worth of folktales and ghost stories. It’s haunting, soulful, very funny when it wants to be, and features some grade-A Christopher Lloyd action – I’m not sure there are many areas for improvement.
David Hoh – Gus Johnson’s Mousetrap Casino
Gus Johnson is one of the hottest YouTubers you may not have heard of. If you’re like me, your cool friend introduced you to his videos and you were all in. He does lots of kinds of videos on his channel so there’s something for everyone, you can watch ‘em again and again, and he cultivates a vibe I would describe as ‘Midwestern Chillax.’
Just four months ago he made a video of a DIY poker game using mousetraps and it’s very funny and wholesome and shines a bit of that light of creativity that sneaks through the cracks of our isolating quarantine times.
Allen Strickland – Ghost of Tsushima
For my latest Covid distraction I’ve been diving deep into Sucker Punch Studios’ latest offering, Ghost of Tsushima. The studio’s love letter to medieval Japan is set around the events of the First Mongol Invasion of Japan and tells the story of a samurai, who after suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of the Mongols has to learn to fight like a ninja in order to take the fight to a superior foe.
Every aspect of this game is awe inspiring; from the minimalist HUD and striking visuals, to what I can only describe as one of the most exciting and engaging combat systems I’ve ever experienced. The “ghost” (read ninja) weapons plus the stance system designed around staggering different types of foes make for free-for-all frenetic chess matches as you utilize every strategy and technique at your disposal to defeat overwhelming odds. That’s not the only thing at Tsushima‘s disposal though, as it introduces a standoff mode where you can engage in a quick draw challenge that, if successful, allows you to rapidly take down multiple enemies and strike fear into your enemies at the outset of the fight, as well as some fantastic moments when it pares the mechanics down and has the player engage in one on one duels where all that matters is their mastery of the sword combat system. It adds up to one of the most exciting games of its type in recent memory, and one I can’t wait to finish.
— Allen's Game Photos (@AllenPictures) July 23, 2020
— Allen's Game Photos (@AllenPictures) July 22, 2020
Ryan Roch – Bugsnax!
In between bouts of never-ending work and meetings that multiply like rabbits, I’ve had no time to do anything remotely fun. I deeply envy Allen for all the cool stuff he’s doing in a game I’ve played for a grand total of 30 minutes. Luckily, no matter how crushing the workload, my mind is being preserved in the strawberry jelly that is Kero Kero Bonito’s theme tune for the upcoming Playstation 5 game Bugsnax!
When I watched that launch trailer, I remember being very charmed by the entire presentation, but since then this song has not been far from my brain for more than a few minutes. Now that KKB have actually released the song as a single, it’s just escalating. It’s so catchy and fun. I honestly expect my hands to turn into a burger the next time I start eating my feelings.
Don’t mind me… Just thinkin’ ’bout Bugsnax.
That’s it for this week’s edition! We hope you enjoyed it and found some new direction to point that endlessly turning cranium of yours. We also hope you’ll check back as we publish new pieces in this regular column, and give some inspiration back to us in the comments!
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay happy.