In the past, I’ve written about how marijuana can make a great movie or show even better than it already is, and the same is true for video games. Small wonder, too. When you play a game, you’re not just watching – you’re actively involved in what’s happening. Add a joint into the mix, and you’ll soon forget that the world you’re interacting with isn’t real.
Maybe you already have a go-to game to play while high. But if you’re looking for suggestions, High Times has you covered. Most of the games in this list feature satisfying gameplay and stunning visuals. I tried to not just include blockbusters in this list, but also some lesser-known games you may not have heard about. Indie developers need all the love they can get – and deserve.
I believe it’s an unwritten rule in the game world that everyone who talks about pretty, trippy games has to mention Journey. This game, developed by Thatgamecompany, directed by Jenova Chen and released in 2012, only takes between 2 and 3 hours to finish, meaning you could complete it in a single smoke sesh. If there’s a story here, it’s for you to piece together.
Speaking of piecing things together, go play 2022 Game of the Year-winner Elden Ring if you haven’t already. Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remake from a few years ago has better graphics, but Elden Ring is better designed. It’s honestly the closest any game has ever gotten to making you feel like a hero setting out on an adventure in a strange, colorful land – which is something 99.9% of games try to do.
Do you ever use those apps on your phone that help you unwind with relaxing music and videos of rolling waves and northern lights? Basically Becalm is those apps, but in game-form. There’s not much to it, but that’s the point. You sit in a sailboat that gently steers past colorful oceans and an even more colorful sky. I don’t think this game is on VR yet, but it really should be.
Psychonauts will blow your mind – literally and metaphorically. Inspired by those old-school platformer-collectathons from your childhood, you play as a secret agent/psychiatrist who travels into people’s minds to solve crimes and treat childhood traumas. The developer took concepts from psychology – social anxiety, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder – and turned them into gameplay mechanics.
There’s a ton of atmospheric 2D platformers out there worth playing – Limbo, Rayman Legends, Ori and the Blind Forest – but Little Nightmares takes the cake for me. This is, in part, because it’s not just a platformer but also a horror game, and a terribly effective one at that. You play as a tiny kid in a dystopian world ruled by giant, ugly, child-eating adults. Fun for the whole family.
The portal-shooting mechanic is trippy enough on its own, but when you combine it with weed you get something very special – and fun. The plot is great, too. In both games, you venture through an abandoned tech facility while getting chased by a menacing yet hilariously written robot. One of the most innovative, well-crafted games in the history of the medium in my opinion.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Unpopular opinion perhaps, but as far as Zelda games are concerned, I’d pick Wind Waker over the more recent and technically impressive Breath of the Wild any day. The game may look a bit childish at a glance, but over time the more cartoonish art style grows on you. More importantly, Wind Waker has this amazing nostalgic ambiance that I just haven’t found in any other game.
Shadow of the Colossus
Ethereal is the word I would use to describe Shadow of the Colossus. This classic, still regarded by many nerds as one of the best games ever made, is unlike anything you’ve ever played. It’s a massive open world with a dozen or so free-roaming bosses for you to find. Those bosses, the titular colossi, are also the game’s levels. To defeat them, you’ll have to climb on top of them.
Sorry to all the Kojima purists out there, but I feel like Death Stranding is a game that’s incredibly boring when you’re sober, but unbelievably captivating when you’re high. The game’s deliberately awkward and difficult movement controls have led some to label it as a walking simulator, and I’m willing to bet stoners will have the time of their lives trying to do something as simple as climbing up a hill.
Baba is You
Good luck to you as this is one challenging puzzle game, and a highly original one at that. In order to proceed to each next level, you have to literally rewrite the rules of the game itself. It’s made by a guy from Finland and has this hard-to-define Scandinavian aesthetic that I find strangely comforting, like some 90s kids shows or furniture from Ikea.
Snake Pass is a platformer where you play as – you guessed it – a snake. Pretty clever design decision that, because snakes cannot do the things that most platformers are built around, like running and jumping. To succeed at this game, you’ll have to move like a snake. And to move like a snake, you’ll have to think like a snake. If this doesn’t make any sense at this moment, it will once you start playing.
Dinner with an Owl
If this was a movie it would have been produced by A24 and plastered all over your favorite meme forum. It looks, feels, and plays like a nightmare. You have a vague idea of what’s going on, but for the life of you, you couldn’t accurately describe it to someone else. There is this owl, and he wants you to have dinner with him. Over and over and over.
There are a bunch of indie games that try to recreate the experience of taking ayahuasca, but this one won an award at the Tribeca Film Festival and Raindance. It’s not really a game so much as it’s a film, but it’s played on a VR headset and the player does appear to have a choice in what kind of person their character is and what kind of vision their life experiences would inspire.