In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, or “flatten the curve,” many are participating in self-isolation during this time of quarantine. Those who can afford to stay home have been doing so as much as possible in order to reduce the risk for those who are still called to work.
However, humans, at heart, are social creatures. While the chance to take it easy for a week or two may be a respite for many, several weeks and potentially months of relative isolation in the same house can start to actually have the opposite effect of a well needed vacation. Restlessness, boredom, stress, loneliness, lethargy, and listlessness are all possible side effects of prolonged periods of isolation with so few excursions out into the world.
For this reason, many have turned to technology to find some sort of socialization even if it is not face to face. Many are finding that during this time that video games can provide both socialization and entertainment.
Unlike watching Netflix or scrolling through social media, video games require the engagement of the player and provide a multitude of environments that simulate outings into the world.
Right now, the most popular video game is “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” It was released on March 20. The reason for its popularity is obvious. Players venture out into the world, scavenge the land filled with beaches, rivers, and trees and converse with their neighbors as they continue to develop their town.
The game provides a mimicry of what people crave most right now. Because of its lack of main story line, the game play is effectively endless. Its aesthetic is cute, colorful, and uplifting, which may also lift spirits during this time.
Video games also offer a way for friends to interact and pass time together without being in the same space. There are many multiplayer games that can connect people from all over the world in the form of MMORPGs such as “League of Legends” and “Call of Duty.”
On the other hand, Jackbox games have a multitude of party video games that allow a small group of friends to play even if they are not together, or a group of friends can run a group video chat over a platform like Discord or Zoom. This way, they can talk to each other face to face while they play. In fact, many YouTubers have used this exact method in order to keep producing videos even during quarantine.
There are even video games that allow the player to stay active. Any video game that utilizes motion controls has the potential to get the player up and moving.
One of the best games to utilize this method is the “Just Dance” franchise. Their latest release, “Just Dance 2020,” is available on the Nintendo Switch, Wii, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It can be played as a single player or multiplayer game, so it allows players to get the rest of their household involved as well. The high energy dances are a great way to have fun and stay active.
Video games are just one of the many ways people are passing the time, and they are one of the most versatile of pastimes. Even those who do not usually have the time or interest to play video games are giving them a chance in order to find a new and more engaging activity that allows them to connect with others.