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Get your holiday shopping retail therapy on with these shopping games

Get your holiday shopping retail therapy on with these shopping games

Celebrate Cyber Monday with these video games about shopping that let you enjoy the thrill of snagging deals in your favorite store without having to leave your home.

Get your holiday shopping retail therapy on with these shopping games

We just ended one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, and now we're right in the middle of Cyber Monday. Picking up some of the best deals on video games and all those other "must-have" items is par for the course for this time this season, but with COVID-19 in the wild, it's not exactly safe to go out and shop 'til you drop.

You could just go online and shop, waiting for your shiny new purchases to arrive at your home, or even order via online retailer and opt for curbside pickup at the store. Both are certainly viable (and much safer) options, although they take the thrill out of actually sorting through items, taking them to the register, and swiping that card.

That's where video games come in. You may not have realized this, but there are actually several titles based on shopping for goodies and either putting them to use or just collecting them. If you're missing out on the shopping experience this year, these games should scratch that itch nicely.

Credit: Tomorrow Corporation - Millenium
Credit: Tomorrow Corporation

Little Inferno

Little Inferno is developer Tomorrow Corporation's look at a bleak future, where citizens remain in their homes, look into their fireplace, and burn everything they own. The sandbox-oriented game encourages you to purchase all the items you can from a variety of catalogs, then when your items arrive, you burn them one at a time or together to see what kind of combos you can come up with.

As your items burn, you'll be left with coins you can use to purchase new ones. Everything, from popcorn to appliances, must be burned. Even the shiny new items you think you don't need to get rid of. Even though the narrative is as dystopian as they come, it gives you that thrill of shopping for a few moments, even if you're going to just burn everything.

Credit: Nintendo - Millenium
Credit: Nintendo

Style Savvy: Styling Star

The Style Savvy series is all about fashion, and as such your character inherits a fashion boutique that they must stock with the best clothing they can find to fit a variety of customers. Players must then fill customer requests as they come through for certain types of outfits, down to hair, makeup, clothing, and more. But to do any of this successfully, you've got to do a little shopping yourself.

Style Savvy: Styling Star is the latest game in the series, and you get to stock up on plenty of pieces from your favorite in-game designers. That means poring through clothing for both men and women to decide what will resonate with your customers when they come in looking for the best possible fits. There's plenty of shopping both ways, and you'll get your fill of looking through outfits and enjoying your time at the outlet stores as you populate the boutique with the hottest pieces.

Credit: Agetec - Millenium
Credit: Agetec

Board Game Top Shop

Similar to that of Monopoly, Board Game Top Shop (Tenant Wars in Japan) tasks players with buying up stores in a mall. The objective is to, of course, be the richest player and to own the most properties possible. But while you're doing all this and setting up prices for your wares, you also have to purchase several different items from your competitors. Sure, you have to pay when you land on hotels in Monopoly, but the items up for compulsory purchase in Board Game Top Shop can end up helping you out in the long run.

Some goods can help you move quicker, while others replenish stamina. This causes the owner to have to restock their items, which is a strategic bid to either replace with cheaper or more expensive ones to force visitors to buy higher-ticket items. It perfectly encapsulates a visit to the mall, where you tend to stop at one store for a purchase, then head to another and buy something different. You just happen to own your own few stores in this game, too.

Credit: Hofmeier - Millenium
Credit: Hofmeier

Cart Life

This indie game is a critical darling that explores the lives of three street vendors with very different circumstances. While focusing on the people behind the sales instead of shopping for the most part, it's an important game to play to understand others' lives and hardships even if it seems as though they're simply there to sell you goods and services -- a selfish mindset, especially during a pandemic.

While you'll be able to purchase and sell items to keep your cart afloat, it's a good game to remind you that retail isn't always the panacea it seems, and that others may be risking their lives to make sure you have the privilege of going shopping. So when you miss being able to go to the mall on a whim or shopping without being masked, you might want to stop and think. No reason not to enjoy the act of stocking up, though, and Cart Life does that exceptionally well, too.

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Brittany Vincent
Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over a decade for publications like G4, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, Kotaku, Maxim, GameSpot, and more. When she's not writing or gaming, she's watching anime or reading manga.

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