Despite its flaws, the Internet has been the best friend of anyone sequestered at their home during the many shutdowns and quarantines that have come with the pandemic. Bars, concerts, and other popular spots for public interaction have all been boarded up, trying to stem the tide of new COVID-19 cases.
As humans, we also adapt. And the Internet gaming platforms have given us a medium for literally any gathering, to have visual contact with the people we care about without bringing a potentially deadly virus into their houses.
Being Social During a Quarantine
Options like Call of Duty and MMO games like World of Warcraft have been played on the Internet for years, but now, live-action gaming through Zoom and Skype, such as Dungeons and Dragons, is gaining speed. Most of us would still rather play these for real, but we welcome the distraction for now.
We live in an age where being social doesn’t necessarily mean being in the same room or even in the same country. Playing with people of other cultures and creeds under the single banner of good, clean, online fun has been commonplace for as long as Internet gaming has been around.
Here are some great options for those stuck in the quarantine:
- Fortnite – Very popular Internet-compatible game
- Call of Duty – Warzone (although, any will do)
- World of Warcraft – The ultimate MMO
- Minecraft – An online game geared more toward kids
- Words with Friends – Most often played as a phone app, this scrabble variant is pure fun
- Elder Scrolls – A more complex MMO
- Jackbox Games – These are great family-friendly games.
Playing Online Games With People You Know
Online games against friends can be entertaining, especially if you have a relationship where everyone knows that bad behavior and language are appropriate. However, it can be different from playing online games during quarantine with family. Set some ground rules that will stem any hurt feelings that arise through fierce competition.
If you want to play with a cousin from another state, make sure they know how online games work. For the beginner to Internet gaming, it can be frustrating at times. Pick online games best suited for playing with relatives. Fun options without too much language and carnage will do, just in case you end up combating a grandparent or younger child.
If you prefer to stay away from competing with family, there is a much larger list of online games to play with friends. The upside of playing on the net, you can always walk away if you aren’t having any fun. Just log off and do something else. However, that might limit your online games during lockdown, so this is a good time to grow some thicker skin.
Have you ever had a bad day? Of course, you have. We all have. Now, do you have an outlet for the frustrations and rage of your bad day? Well, that is one aspect of Internet gaming that can be useful. They make your mind focused, distract you, and if you need to destroy things but don’t want to get arrested or break a tangible object, then there are games just for that, and it is cathartic.
Another reason why online games are good is that it allows you to talk out those bad days with another person while doing something else, so you can reason out your issues in an environment that keeps the mind occupied. Play a game with a friend, unburden yourself, and work on your hand-eye coordination simultaneously.
Talk therapy works. Video game therapy works. Put them together, and you will never need to pay for a shrink again. And you don’t have to go on a shooting rampage in a fictional environment or attack zombies with chainsaws to get out your issues. Often, playing a sports game can do a better job than more violent alternatives.
Other Internet Social Options
Your Internet social experiences aren’t limited to gaming. Alcoholics Anonymous has meetings over certain platforms that operate for free, usually Zoom. Many people have started book clubs on Skype. Concerts are being shown on YouTube with a paid entry. And as this new normal continues, we will see a tremendous rise in other necessary services done on social platforms that allow us to stay safe and connected.
The important message is that you are not alone. Even if you are in your home by yourself, so are millions of others, and we all want to interact. If you have a hobby, there is probably an Internet group with video conferences to share or help. If you love to play a sport in a competitive field, ghost games are getting more and more common, where the player combats an invisible opponent or challenges a competitor online in a battle of skill. You have options. Have you explored yours?
Ellen Royce is a video game blogger. She loves helping beginner gamers develop their skills and build a career in professional gaming. Ellen started participating in tournaments four years ago and now runs a small eSports team of her own. In her free time, Ellen likes to escape from work and play the so-called Book of Ra.