A Case For Video Games In A Pandemic

Recommendations and commentary on video games amidst a lonely pandemic

~Tony Sabia, Staff Writer~

In a time where our sanity is slowly slipping away from us all, we all need some familiarity of simpler times to remind us of how good we had it. During this period of our lives, where we’re all trapped inside with little to do, many are rewatching their favorite shows to get all that serotonin flowing. However I’ve decided on an alternate path. One of the best ways we’ve remained connected in the past year or to keep ourselves occupied was to hang out online.

Since we’re all looking for something to keep us busy during our free time in quarantine, and it’s way too difficult to learn an instrument out of the blue, a turn to video games seems to be in order.

Minecraft, the eternal game that will never die, is first on my list. After the most subscribed gaming Youtuber, PewDiePie, started up his own “Let’s Play” of the game in the summer of 2020, Minecraft enjoyed an even bigger boost to it’s player count as people signed back in for a world of limitless possibility. Since you might have been wondering, I’ve definitely been on my own Minecraft grind since the start of the summer. Although I hate to admit it, I’ve never actually beaten Minecraft on my own without cheating or using some commands — so that’s what I set out to do. I’m perfectly capable of beating the final boss, but I’ve never put in the work to get to that point in a cheat-free setting While I won’t document my entire journey in this paragraph, I will say that it took me a month and a half since I played at my own pace. And I was THERE for it. Now as I stare over a small town that I built, I feel a small amount of pride over what I built with my own two hands in a small and inconsequential virtual world.

Life simulation games are a way to live the life we can’t currently experience. I don’t have to worry about my Animal Crossing character wearing a mask when I send them to a friend’s island, because shocker, there is no good old ‘Rona in my perfect utopia. Add in the opportunity to interact with your friends you aren’t able (or shouldn’t be) seeing in person, and the potential for escapism with these games can really help alleviate all those feelings you get from being holed up inside all the time.

Among Us is an example of a social way to interact with your friends in a time where hugging is tantamount to a criminal felony. In a game marketed as social deception, it’s a fantastic way to prove how well you really know your friends as you try and suss out who’s the Impostor. Did someone’s voice crack? Or are they purposefully playing stupid? These decisions matter especially when life and death is at stake. After exploding into all of our news feeds and recommended apps to download, Among Us still stands as an acceptable choice to help destroy friendships compared to the big dogs (I’m looking at you Monopoly). 

And lastly, my own personal recommendations. I’ve always been a guy who enjoys a ton of action and explosions in my games, but for a long term lockdown situation with no end in sight, I’ve shifted towards longer experiences, so that I grow alongside my game. No better example of long-term games can be found like a good old fashioned open world game. I’m talking about Far Cry, The Witcher, and honestly, I’ll even throw in a good ole nod to Grand Theft Auto or Minecraft. But here’s the key — Take it slow. Don’t rush through the 20 something hours of story some of these games have and just smell the roses. Do some side quests, get those cool weapons. Show up to the final boss battle having unlocked everything and in a position to completely annihilate them by strapping some C4 to a quad bike and ramming it down their throat.

Are these all the ramblings of a biased college student who’s procrastinating actual homework? Very much so yes. Are there maybe some suggestions in here that’ll change the way you entertain yourself? If the answer is yes, it’s a miracle. But you do you, play what you want. Have fun however you can, it’s lockdown rules, and just like Fortnite, the last one surviving wins.

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