5 Games to Play on a Desert Island

The age old question and scenario, what 5 [insert topic here] would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

This question usually only works with books, as let’s face it, if it’s a desert island there’s not likely going to be electricity or a TV, but for the sake of this post, let’s just pretend that this island does have the required necessities to allow you to play videogames. Let’s say you’re going to be stranded on this island for a year. Survival is guaranteed as there is plentiful food, drink, shelter & comfort, but you are only allowed 5 video games to play. What would you pick? I think I’ve got my ideal 5 games, and one of these games is one of the latest games I’ve picked up. Here’s what I think would see me through:

Stardew Valley

I’ve only just bought this game halfway through July. I hesitated buying it on PC as it was confirmed to be heading to consoles, and when it did arrive to consoles, once again hesitated buying it digitally as it was confirmed to be getting a physical release, and that’s much more appealing to me. I’d read that this game is initially challenging and somewhat confusing, so while I was looking forward to buying and playing it, there was a part of me slightly perhaps intimidated by what I’d read of peoples initial impressions of the start of the game. No idea why I was worried as it’s actually really quite simple to pick up. Granted I did have a sneaky peak at some posts online for hints and tips, so had a little idea of what’s best to do first when starting.

This game is an essential desert island game. Time in real life goes so damn quickly playing this game. On day one of playing it, I made a start at 6pm after eating, the next thing my wife is coming to bed telling me it’s midnight. How? How did that time pass so quickly, with all I’ve got to show for it in my farm is a 3×3 plot of parsnips growing and only around level 10 of the mine? The daily tasks in game would become second nature and you’d just keep going all day in the real world till you felt tired, or at least I could anyways. Some people reporting that they’re farm play time is pushing past 400 hours and they’re complete. The thing about this game is that while it’s a mix of Harvest Moon meets Animal Crossing, there are paths to take in the game that cannot be reversed once you make them. Such as choosing to restore the town’s community centre or simply having it taken over by a megacorporation. And your characters progression when reaching level 5 on each trait means that you’re career and specialties will only ever go one route when you make your choice. The possibilities for multiple saves with multiple choices is there to explore, so while you might happily ‘finish’ the game in 400 hours, you could do it all again with different choices. While the majority of it would be the same, it’s still something that you might fancy giving ago being stuck on an island for a year.

7 Days to Die

This game is not everyone’s cup of tea. And it might be somewhat of a shock to people to see this on a list of desert island games over the likes of say Minecraft. Well basically I’ve never played Minecraft so never got into the addiction of it, so can’t have that on my list really. And simply put I actually quite enjoy 7 Days to Die despite the reports of it being a buggy unfinished mess. And yes I would mean playing it on PS4 rather than PC as I’m very much console player fan boy. I think that there are enough ways to play this game that could eat up a good chunk of people’s time. You could play the survivor route and start up a game with no Zombies, just animals and play purely to survive on your own hunting animals and building up bases carefree and without the fear of zombies. Or of course play the game the way it was intended by trying to make a base tough enough to withstand hordes of zombies that attack every 7 days. While that mode I guess would be more ideal to play online with friends helping, I’ve actually got a saved game solo player with no zombies, and treat it purely as a survival game and honestly thoroughly enjoy it. Experimenting creating different bases, growing crops to survive, exploring the multiple biomes. And the fact that once you become too familiar with a world or map, you can simply start again with a new randomly created world and try to master that. As said perhaps not everyone’s first or second choice game, but I’d certainly include it.

Grand Theft Auto 5

Because, why not right? Completing the game 100% will take a long time, and it helps that the game’s story is actually pretty fun. When first getting the game back in 2013 and completing it on my Xbox360, I kid you not, the minute the credits finished rolling, I started the game again, as in the whole game to play through the story again. I loved it. I completed it twice in launch week. Albeit not 100% completed it, but the story. I double dipped and picked it up for PS4 a year later, and again have completed the main story, but I can say that this is the only game I have installed on my PS4 that has NEVER been uninstalled. It’s remained on the console since the day I bought it. It’s also the game that currently has the largest folder size of video game captures as I recorded so many videos and took so many screenshots of the game. I still to this day just hop onto it every now and again just to drive around Los Santos and Blaine County, not with any real purpose, but just aimlessly driving around waiting for things to happen which they certainly do. Random police chases that I follow, or highway accidents resulting in paramedics coming out, just taking a helicopter and flying around admiring the incredible job that Rockstar have done on this game. It’s got plenty to explore to keep you entertained for ages.


Bethesda are determined to release Skyrim as many times as they can with the game now featuring on last gen consoles, this gen consoles, a VR specific game and a port for the Nintendo Switch. It’s also a game that I could quite happily sink absolutely hours into, and have done on numerous occasions. I’ve got 3 saves on my Xbox 360. One completed, a second one completely changing my character choices and different type of character, and a throw away save from my completed game save that I use to just cause havoc. And you can bet that I bought the remaster for PS4 last winter. I like to have the week off before Christmas as well as the week of Christmas, to me Skyrim is the perfect game to play in the winter. So perhaps in that respect it’s not the best for a desert island as you know, i’d assume it’d be warm on there rather than winter, but still given how easy it is to get lost and distracted in Skyrim, it’d make a perfect game to include on a list of desert island games. You’d lose hours into the game if you were to try and complete every single side quest and offshoot mission. Not to mention you could try and complete collections of weapons and armour and items if you so wished. I think a majority of people might have opted to go for Fallout over Skyrim, but I was never really keen on the setting and world of Fallout, whereas Oblivion and Skyrim’s bright and colorful worlds were much more appealing to me. Definitely a game that would assist in passing time away if stranded on an island.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

I was torn about adding this game to the list as it’s so much like Stardew Valley. But then again, it’s also got enough distinct qualities to it to be different. Also it’s a game that runs on real time clock, so specific events or fish or bugs are available at specific times and dates of the real world. So that in mind it’d make for a very decent time killing game. When I was playing this a few years back I’d be taking my 3DS into work, and on my lunch break would spend the hour travelling to the island to capture bugs, and do general maintenance like fishing or weed pulling. Some conversations that I had with Will and Mike from our Book it Vince segment on this site revolved around comparing playing Animal Crossing to like having a second job. It got to the point where playing it was more a routine on a daily basis to ensure I’d done the things needed to be done rather than playing it for fun. But it really is fun. I enjoyed the villagers coming and going, and found myself frustrated if specific villagers did up and move. I enjoyed trading and visiting other towns from friends, and enjoyed it even more if villagers I liked from their town moved to my village of Hyrule.

The urge to complete the museum and dig up every fossil, find every bug and fish would definitely aid in making that year on the desert island go by. And as it’s a portable game, you could take it with you to the other side of the island if you fancied a change of scenario or were on a little trip collecting supplies. Always useful to mix the day up a bit so you don’t end up talking to and making friends with a rock right?

Honorable Mention: Shenmue 1

I was juggling between Animal Crossing & Shenmue for my 5th game, and despite Animal Crossing being so similar to a game already on my list in Stardew Valley, I still opted for it because Shenmue while incredible, with plenty to do and collect, does eventually end. Shenmue would certainly keep you entertained for a few days, and if you really wanted to ( I did ) you can replay the same day over and over again while working as a forklift driver at the warehouse. You get the bus to work, partake in the daily forklift truck race, do your daily job. Once the work day comes to an end, you’re not allowed to take the bus back to Dobuita straight away as the game wants you to go exploring looking for Chai in the docks. Well I always neglected this and went to the docks staff room partaking in games of darts, spending money on the toy capsule machines until you are eventually allowed to take the bus back. From there you’ve got an hour to explore Dobuita and the arcade and tomato convenience store is still open to spend more money. Or you could just go straight back home and play the Saturn for a while. And you still get money every morning from Ine-San. But it could get boring. Still Shenmue even if you didn’t do this is an incredible game with plenty to do and would certainly pass plenty of time on the island. But given the time restrictions on the day, and not completely open world, it could result in you wishing you’d selected a different 5th game to have with you.

What would you pick?

So that’s my 5 games and an honourable mention that I think could tide me over on a desert island for a year. Would you include any of my 5? Do you think I’m an idiot for liking 7 Days to Die? What games would you pick?

– Murr

6 thoughts on “5 Games to Play on a Desert Island

  1. Great post! 7 days to die is a great pick because you are literally trying to survive lol. I’ve answered a question like this before, I would bring oblivion, civilization revolution, gears of war, modern warfare 2 and Mario party. This way is have a mix of different genre’s. Grand theft auto 5 is an excellent choice thought and my honorable mentions would be bejeweled or saints row 2.

    -Luna 🎮

    • Modern Warfare 2 and Gears of war are quite intriguing picks. Would that be more so for the multiplayer aspect of it? Great games don’t get me wrong, but if it were single player stuff only, the likes of MW2 campaign especially would be beaten reasonably quickly even on Veteran difficulty?

      Great choice with Civ too. That game can certainly make you lose hours!

      • Yea multiplayer, but also in modern warfare 2 the spec ops missions were so amazing. I could play them over and over. For Gears of war, horde mode is very time consuming and you can play it differently each time! I also enjoy the story mode and making my own challenges like chainsaw only would keep me occupied.

  2. I’m going to go for…

    Football Manager
    Grand Theft Auto 5
    Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    Dark Souls

    Notable mention:

    Forza Horizon 3

    All are games which you can lose massive amounts of hours in, cover a good range of genres and I think i’d actually be annoyed about being rescued after just a year!

    Forza Horizon 3 was so close but at the end of the day I was just unwilling to lose any of the existing 5.

  3. Anytime immediately came to mind. I imagine many people might be inclined towards Minecraft. I’d like to have a Total War installment, or maybe even Starcraft. So much replayability.

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