Video games set in school
These 8 games remind us of our classroom days
It’s that time of year again: back to school!
Summer is almost over and it’s time to drop that controller and hit the books. Homework may cut into your gaming time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have a little fun at school, especially if it’s a school in a game.
Love it or hate it, here are some virtual schools where you can have a blast playing around, and maybe you’ll just learn a thing or two along the way, too.
Bully Scholarship Edition
Rockstar may be best known for their open-world extravaganzas Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, but their boarding school simulator Bully is just as fun. As Jimmy Hopkins, you explore the grounds of Bullworth Academy, navigating the clique-y world of jocks, nerds, greasers, preps and *gulp* bullies, who you can take on to increase your clout with your classmates.
When you’re not socializing with fellow students and taking on rowdy ruffians with your handy slingshot and stink bombs, you can actually earn some rewards and perks in various classes that affect the gameplay, like learning how to create itching powder and firecrackers in chemistry class.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
While Skyrim doesn’t take place completely in a school, the College of Winterhold plays an important part in the game, especially if you’re a spell-using character.
The College of Winterhold is the magic academy of Skyrim, and is the location of the mages guild. If you use magic in Skyrim (and why wouldn’t you?), you probably want to join the guild, and that requires an extensive questline originating at the cold yet impressive College of Winterhold.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
As part of Class Zero, a highly-trained group of Agito Cadets from Rubrum’s Akedemeia, you have to defend the realm against the invading forces from the Militesi Empire.
Akedemeia is Rubrum’s magic academy, which means as a student, you’ll have a lot of powerful spells at your disposal, each with some impressive, over-the-top visual effects as is expected out of any Final Fantasy game.
While much of the game takes place on the Akedemeia grounds, including classrooms, labs, administrative offices and student lounge, you can also travel to an offsite chocobo ranch island where you can raise your own giant yet adorable chicken-like mounts.
LEGO Harry Potter
There have been a lot of Harry Potter games over the years, but our favorite is the LEGO Harry Potter series because you get to explore the entire breadth of Harry, Hermione and Ron’s time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Like all of the LEGO games, most of the gameplay is based around traveling to various locations, searching for items and solving puzzles. Of course, this is Hogwarts, so it’s full of fantastical creatures, mysterious rooms and, of course, lots and lots of spell casting.
What do you do when you’re one of the last humans left alive after the great human vs. bird wars of the 21st century? Make avian friends -- and find potential love interests -- at the St. PigeonNation’s Institute high school, of course.
While traditionally only birds have been allowed to attend the St. PigeonNation’s Institute, you are the first human invited to enroll in classes. Now starting your sophomore year, you’ve learned a bit about the avian culture and even made a few birdo buddies.
Now it’s time to explore the birdbath for a potential feathered, fowl-weather love interest. Yes, it’s weird, but it’s also a lot of fun, and the branching storyline and multiple endings offer a lot of replayability.
Life is Strange
Featuring one of the most compelling and human stories in video games, Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game that takes place at Blackwell Academy in Oregon. You play as senior Maxine “Max” Caulfield, a senior photography student with the ability to rewind time, which comes in handy as she and her best friend Chloe try to uncover the whereabouts of a missing student and ultimately save the town from a massive, impending storm.
While altering time is cool and all, Life is Strange is most remarkable for its portrayal of very real human emotions and feelings that begin to creep in around the high school years, including depression, questions of self worth, mental illness, love, loss and thoughts of suicide. It’s heavy. Very, very heavy.
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Who wouldn’t want to attend a school founded by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker on Yavin IV? In addition to training with one of Luke’s apprentices, the famed Kyle Katarn (who also spent a stint as an Imperial Stormtrooper), Jedi Academy allows you to create your own unique Jedi character, build your own lightsaber, choose from various Jedi fighting techniques, develop your Force powers and learn a slew of badass Jedi moves, all in the hope of becoming a full Jedi Knight.
Of course no Jedi’s training is restricted to just the classroom, and the entire universe is your training ground. You even get to meet a few familiar faces from the movies along the way as you fly around the galaxy performing various tasks and missions.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Like Skyrim, the entire game doesn’t take place at South Park Elementary (Go Cows!!!), but the school is one of the areas you’ll explore in this RPG based off the venerable animated series. Multiple missions take you through SPE, both when it’s well-kempt and later in the game after all hell has broken loose in South Park.
There are lots of little nods to the show throughout the game, and you can even find the goth kids out smoking by the dumpsters outside the school. Like in the show, South Park Elementary is also featured prominently in the game sequel, The Fractured But Whole.
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