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It's all in the grip. Human society has progressed to the point of placing every aspect of modern life — friendship, finance, politics, health, sex, restaurant-quality cuisine, prestige television, astral feedback — into the literal palms of our hands. You know exactly what I am talking about, because the odds are two out of three that you're reading this on your phone right now! The bad news is that, nowadays, you can do anything with the right hand. The good news is, nowadays, you can do anything with the right hand. Or with the left.
All you need is a good controller. The Nintendo Switch's candy-colored Joy-Cons snap on and off a portable console like Legos, and are capable of transporting a user to galaxies unknown and dimensions uncharted. For something slightly more terrestrial, there's the Oculus Quest 2, which comprises a headset and twin Touch controllers. Current game options allow players to transport themselves to Pompeii, Chernobyl, the parks of Washington State, or the blanched-sand beaches of your mind's eye. Maybe you just want to drive a four-wheeler around the jungles of Mexico? You can do that on Xbox's Series S, and you can also watch movies.
It's difficult to explain how one appendage became the nexus of human life, and it's certainly too complicated for a short introduction to a photo story pairing manicures with the latest and greatest controllers that technology has to offer. Did our intelligent designer realize that, sooner or later, it would all come down to the fleshy palms of our hands? Impossible to say for sure, but thank God(s) they included an escape key.
Oculus Quest 2 and Touch controller
The latest console from Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus is its sleekest option yet:
The Quest 2 drops players into stunning and super-immersive gaming environments.
Oculus Quest 2 Headset
Game recommendations, from least to most physically taxing:
- Wander allows players to visit almost any location, whether their own block or the bustling streets of nearly anywhere in the world, using "the magic of VR."
- In Beat Saber, slice flying cubes with a lightsaber to the electronic hits of today. (Music by Panic at the Disco, BTS, or Green Day will incur an added cost.)
- The Climb 2 provides mesas and mountains to scale and breathtaking virtual vistas to witness.
- Dance Central is the most fun you will ever have dancing alone in your home alongside a customizable avatar.
- The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners plucks players from their living rooms and drops them into a postapocalyptic, zombie-infested New Orleans, wishing them the best of luck on survival.
XBOX Series X/S and wireless controller
As the gaming population ballooned amid the pandemic — one report estimates that over half of the United States population could identify as "digital gamers" by the end of 2021 — Microsoft unveiled its newest consoles, the Xbox Series X (with souped-up storage and performance) and its less-fussy sister, the Series S (small, sleek, slightly less expensive, and a perfect introduction to the platform).
Xbox Series S
Game recommendations, from least to most cerebral:
- Forza Horizon 5 is a racing game that takes place in the photo-realistic towns and wilds of Mexico.
- FIFA 22, the latest installment in the long-running soccer franchise, will be the first to incorporate Electronic Arts' brand-new animation technology (read: smarter, more responsive players whose sweat-soaked pores you can actually see).
- In Life Is Strange: True Colors, the player-character uses her supernatural ability to unravel the mysteries of a sleepy town.
- Resident Evil Village is the most terrifying movie you will ever experience as a video game, complete with a mid-plot twist.
Nintento Switch and Joy-Con controllers
Game anywhere. A set of controllers snap on to either side of a portable screen or snap apart to form a set of two for spontaneous multiplayer action.
Game recommendations, from most to least whimsical:
- In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players arrive on an uncharted island and are tasked with turning it into a destination, with adorable animal neighbors to help out.
- Mario Party Superstars reimagines Super Mario as a multiplayer board game and is stocked with mini games from Mario Parties past.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set in a bucolic, open world that begs exploration. There are dangers, there are treasures, and there is Zelda, the princess awaiting your rescue. (The game's long-awaited sequel is slated to come out next year, which means you have a few months to get acquainted.)
- Metroid Dread is the newest chapter in a classic series. Players take on the role of intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran as she tries to escape an unknown, hostile world.
Sittings Editors: Tascha Berkowitz and Charlotte Diamond. Prop Stylist: Sharon Ryan. Manicure: Honey. Models: Avisha, Tabia at Part Models.
A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Allure. Learn how to subscribe here.