Shack Chat: What's your favorite video game for long trips?

What are the best games to pass the time on a long flight, train, or car ride?


It's a busy travel season here at Shacknews HQ, and a series of delayed flights and canceled Ubers has us discussing our favorite video games to play while doing extended travel. 

Question: What's your favorite video game for long trips?

Marvel Snap - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Airport Correspondent

I've done a lot of traveling over the last decade. A lot of those trips are small ones between LAX and SFO and some of them have taken me as far as Taiwan and Amsterdam. I have spent a lot of time at airports, but this year has given me a lovely opportunity to take my downtime and apply it towards experimenting with Marvel Snap decks.

Latest update: I'm trying to be a jerk and mix together Thanos with the High Evolutionary and I've won my fair share of games with Cyclops zapping opposing cards into oblivion. I just unlocked the Silver Samurai, so I'm stoked to see what I can do with him this weekend.

Vampire Survivors - TJ Denzer, uses vampires to survive flights

A combat screenshot from Vampire Survivors

Source: Luca Galante

Fun story, I forgot I had Vampire Survivors on my phone up until my most recent work trip. I actually try to stay away from playing the game because it will eat hours of a day before you know it, but lo and behold I was waiting on a more than four hour flight to finish and I needed hours of a day wasted. Remembering Vampire Survivors was a lifesaver in this regard. It was like a fast-forward button on my life for that flight and helped me kill the time before I knew it had even passed me by. The progression, escalation, and built-in timer per play session is so good for moving a day along. I won’t play Vampire Survivors when I’m not traveling, but on a long flight, it’s the perfect time to bust such a dangerous game out.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Asif Khan, Shacknews CEO/EIC/EIEIO

I have flown a whole lot over my time here at Shacknews, and the game and device combo of choice for most of my long-distance flights has been BOTW since it came out for Nintendo Switch. I even bought some Anker battery banks that could charge a Switch so I could play Breath of the Wild for my entire flight from Detroit, Michigan to Nagoya, Japan. I have not traveled in many years, so I am not sure if TOTK would be as enjoyable on a long trip. For now, I will always have fond memories of flying across the world playing BOTW on my Nintendo Switch before the Death Stranding.

Baba Is You - Sam Chandler, The Thinker

When it comes to long trips, I'm usually the one driving. In the event I'm flying for some reason, I'm either reading, watching TV or a movie, or sleeping. However, on the occasions when I do play a game, it's going to be something like Baba Is You or Loop Hero.

Sure, I could go for something that usually distracts me, like Geometry Wars or Vampire Survivors, but in order to fully distract myself from the monotony of flying, I need to engage my brain. I need to be thinking about a puzzle. I need to be planning out a move and making decisions - not reacting to stimulus but actively thinking. It's why I tend to opt for Sudoku if I'm sitting in a waiting room.

At the end of each year I like to look at what unique puzzle games have come out. Hopefully this year I find something that is perfect for those moments when I need something to distract me while I'm stuck in one place for a long time.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Dennis White Jr., Community Manager

Official key art for Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Source: Nintendo

To be honest, Marvel Snap almost got my vote here but because I still have to actually play with another player in that game, it’s not always my choice in some situations. If I happen to put down my phone or hope to keep my phone battery from being drained, I’m hopping on to a Fire Emblem game. I may be late to the party on Three Houses but enjoyed Engage quite a bit. I’ve been playing bits and pieces of the game for quite some time now and it’s really impressive. Combat gameplay and story are both great.

I originally played my first Fire Emblem (Fire Emblem Awakening) on 3DS during a college trip years ago and ended up sinking tons of hours into the game so I guess the franchise has become a comfort option for me when it comes to playing fun games on the go. Since I also have a habit of getting characters I care about killed, I’ve also restarted things quite a few times thanks to that pesky permadeath. But those moments just add to the challenge!

Octopath Traveler 2 - Donovan Erskine, Solistia Correspondent

The protagonists of Octopath Traveler 2 running through a city street.

Source: Square Enix

With how insane 2023 has been for releases, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I simply won’t be able to hunker down with Octopath Traveler 2 and sink large amounts of time into it like I want, so it’s been relegated to something I play in bursts when I need to kill time while on a plane or during a long ride while out of town. It’s not necessarily designed to be played in short stints, but the Switch gives just about any video game that element. I swear I’ll roll credits on it one day!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Steve Tyminski, Music guy!

Min Min punching Little Mac in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Source: Nintendo

When I was a kid we would go on vacation to the Jersey Shore and I would bring Pokemon with me to play if there was a rainy day. I can’t play in the car because of my car sickness, so I usually opt for music to listen to on a trip. If I’m on a flight I’ll go with music or movies as well. I tried playing Mario Kart on a flight to E3 years ago but it wasn’t doing it for me. I did enjoy playing Mario Kart in the airport waiting for the flight though. That being said, I bring my Nintendo Switch and listen to all the Super Smash Bros Ultimate soundtrack since I love video game music.

Those are the games that we most enjoy playing during long bouts of travel. What about you? Let us know down in the Chatty!

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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