In 2023, gaming – both online and off – is one of the most popular pastimes all around the world. From board games to fantasy adventures and casinos, we love the competition and escapism games provide.
Across the United States, both computer gaming and board gaming have experienced huge booms in the 21st century. Utah is no exception, with the highest percentage of computer owners in America and the eighth-largest gaming community by state.
A string of gaming cafés has helped facilitate a board game renaissance in Provo, Salt Lake City, and across Utah. At home, access to exciting platforms like virgingames.com has made online slots some of the state’s most popular games.
Research has shown each state prefers different games with favorites changing across the U.S. New Yorkers and Floridians, for instance, love Monopoly, while people in Arkansas can’t get enough of Yahoo!
So, what are some of the most popular games played in Utah, and why?
In a recent poll, residents of Utah voted the 1995 board game Catan, or Settlers of Catan, their go-to game. A multiplayer strategy game, Catan invites players to build settlements including infrastructure for their population and armies to protect them.
At its core, Catan is about resource management and colonialism, two things close to the heart of the American nation. Using dice and cards to introduce elements of chance, players compete to build settlements by trading, building, and growing resources.
The complexities of the rules might take a few go-overs to absorb but, in general, the gameplay is quite straightforward. Catan’s appeal is incredibly wide and players aged 10 to 100 can play together and be equally entertained.
A game that straddles both the offline and online worlds is the classic wealth-building game, Monopoly. Still played by many families and friends in its original board game format, online Monopoly is also extremely popular.
At first glance, it’s a simple dice game in which players race around a board receiving opportunities and setbacks. Dig deeper, however, and you find a complex strategy game where early decisions can have a large impact later.
Players roll the dice, land on properties, and decide whether to buy so they can then collect rent. An ode to capitalism and the unrestricted accumulation of wealth, Monopoly appeals to the competitive nature in all of us.
3. Online slots
If there is one type of game that showcases the thrill of casino more succinctly than any other, it’s slots. Quick-fire games of chance, slots offer opportunities for big wins and can be played with minimal or no stake.
Built around classic three-reel fruit machines, slots don’t require lengthy instructions and new players can be fully immersed in seconds. At their most basic, you simply need to hit go, watch the symbols spin, and see if you’ve won.
More complex variations also exist for players looking for something more challenging, with bonuses, sub-games, and all kinds of additions. The appeal of slots is boosted by their use of themes to help create the best environment for every player.
Slot players can enjoy games with soundtracks of their favorite music or using symbols from their favorite movie or mythology. Incentives and bonuses are also offered by quality slot providers so every player can get the most from their experience.
4. The Last of Us
Recently adapted to television by HBO, The Last of Us is an action-adventure game with particular appeal for Utahns. Following the adventures of Joel and Ellie in post-apocalyptic America, players must help the two protagonists survive as they travel.
Heavily story based with many dramatic sequences, The Last of Us is an intense but hugely rewarding game. After a long journey across the U.S., the climax of Joel and Ellie’s adventure occurs in Salt Lake City.
Players successful enough to reach this stage will find many landmarks familiar to anyone from Utah. The Salt Lake Temple, the Wells Fargo building, and a modified version of St. Mark’s Hospital are all featured.
5. Red Dead Redemption
Another game that has earned huge appeal by featuring fictionalized versions of real-life locations is Red Dead Redemption. A Western-themed role-playing game, Red Dead Redemption asks players to become John Marston, a former outlaw turned FBI deputy.
Gamers navigate a series of familiar U.S. locations before finding themselves in the Rocky Mountain region of West Elizabeth. The landscape of West Elizabeth is easily recognizable to residents of northern Utah, making the game popular within the state.
Other games set within Utah, and therefore popular in the state, include Horizon: Zero Dawn, Resistance 2, and Homefront. Classic and new board games seem to find fresh appeal every few years while the popularity of slots is soaring. What games do you find yourself playing most when in Utah, and which is your favorite?
The game introduces the bounty system, a crime-governing mechanic inspired by Grand Theft Auto’s wanted system. When the player commits a crime, witnesses run to the nearest police station. The player can either bribe or kill them before they reach the station, negating any consequences. Once the law is alerted, the Wanted meter appears with a bounty set on the player’s head.
The bounty grows higher as the player commits more crimes, and more lawmen will be sent to hunt them. After committing enough crime, the U.S. Marshals or Mexican Army will be sent to the player’s location. To evade law enforcement in pursuit, the player must escape a circular zone or kill all lawmen in a town.
If the player escapes, bounty hunters will continue to track after them. The bounty will remain on their head until they pay it at a telegraph station or present a pardon letter.