Widescreen: A virtual holiday dinner is Miles Morales' most exciting adventure
Sony's video game sequel "Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales" begins with a tutorial level for the ages. You take control of the title hero as he teams up with original Spidey Peter Parker, discovers a new superpower and chases oversized villain Rhino as he rampages through a New York City mall.
When that's over, Miles -- the comic book hero who became a big-screen star in the Oscar-winning animated film "Into the Spider-Verse" -- takes off the spider suit and helps his mom get their apartment ready for another terrifying adventure: hosting a holiday party.
Even the most mundane activities become outlandish fantasies in the COVID-19 era, and a frenetic superhero action game can reduce a player to tears just by having its protagonist invite people over for dinner. I won't be leaving the house for Thanksgiving this year (truth be told, I'm working anyway), and probably not for Christmas, either. After the first wave of vaccine distribution, perhaps I'll see my mom and sisters again on my birthday in February. Perhaps.
In a time in which so many are hurting, the video game industry is thriving. According to a Nov. 6 article in the New York Post, industry revenue will go up 20 percent this year as compared to last, hitting about $175 billion in sales.
$175 billion. That's roughly equivalent to Marvel releasing 62½ "Avengers" movies in one year.
I've contributed more than my share to that number, as video games have been my ultimate escape. For most of 2020, I've worked, watched TV, talked to my wife, pet my dog, fed my cat and eaten all my meals in the same room. But when I turn on that PlayStation 4, I can travel to Harlem with Miles Morales, London with the DedSec hackers ("Watch Dogs: Legion") or 13th-century Japan with samurai Jin Sakai ("Ghost of Tsushima"). My most thrilling trip in the last few months IRL involved driving to South Elgin to run errands with my mother-in-law; to be fair, that ended with fabulous Chinese takeout from Gogoji on McLean Boulevard.
If quarantine lasts much longer, don't be surprised if some enterprising game developers try to cash in with thrilling titles such as "Super Mario Grocery Kart" and "DMV 2K21."
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor whose cat tries to grab the on-screen dog tags when he plays "Call of Duty's" Kill Confirmed mode.