How Video Games Help Cope During Social Distancing

How+Video+Games+Help+Cope+During+Social+Distancing

Damani Boyd

Damani Boyd, Writer

As many major cities have adopted stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 and strict social distancing measures,  people have found video games to be a source of entertainment and social interaction.

Alexandra Aliviado, a senior at St. John’s University, resorts to videogames to keep herself entertained. 

“Never have I ever thought that at the age of 20, I would resort to playing video games to keep myself entertained,” Aliviado said. “When I’m not on campus, I usually spend my free time riding my bike along the boardwalk or at the mall with friends, but thanks to COVID, I can’t exactly do that anymore.”

Aliviado is one of the many people who have turned to video games for social interaction during social distancing. She has found that playing video games allows her to satisfy her social needs.

“I’ve recently downloaded Fortnite on my phone, and it allows me to play the game with people from all over the world including my friends that I can’t see in person,” Aliviado said.

Video games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty allow players to play with people from anywhere in the world. Players do not need to have the same console. All a player needs is a viable internet connection and a microphone if players wish to chat with each other.

Connecting with others through video games is not new among teenagers. 

“I’ve been using video games like Fortnite to hang out and spend time with my friends since 6th grade,” said Gabriel Castilo, an 8th grader.

Due to the closure of schools worldwide,  kids are stuck at home and are unable to hang out with their friends. In the middle of the afternoon, when the “school day” is over, Castilo and his friends come together online to play Fortnite.

Fortnite, one of the most popular video games out now, allows players to gather on different online servers and fight to be the last man standing. Players can play as individuals, duos, or squads (a team of four). Fortnite has continued to become increasingly popular during the pandemic.  

 “I can still see my friends without actually seeing them. It’s pretty cool. People thought it was stupid before, but I bet they’re finding it great now,” Castilo said. 

Single-player games such as The Sims and Animal Crossing have also kept people calm during the pandemic.

Originally released in 2000, The Sims is one of the best selling video game franchises in the world. It allows players to create characters, named Sims, and live in a simulation that mimics the world that we live in.

In the game, players can do just about anything; they can get married, have children, buy houses, have pets, and many other things. The great part about the game is that players get to create the life that they want, even if they don’t have that life in the real world.

 

“I recently bought The Sims 4, and I love it,” said Scott Amenn, a Junior at Queens College. “As someone who suffers from anxiety, it’s allowed me to escape from the craziness going on in our world and live in my fantasy world where everything is pretty much perfect.” 

During the pandemic, The Sims, like many other games right now, has seen an increase in sales and gameplay time. According to SuperData, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, has already topped the charts. The game was released on March 20th, amid the chaos of COVID-19. 

Video games have received criticism for their violent or addictive nature, but people have started to notice the benefits of playing video games.  

“There’s something in video games for everyone. Whether you’re a person who has anxiety or suffers from loneliness, video games may not cure you, but they can help you feel a bit better during this time,” Amenn said.  

 As social distancing and stay-at-home orders continue to be reinforced, people seek out video games to fill the void of human interaction.