The past year in isolation has been a difficult adjustment for many, with restrictions banning everything that used to be commonplace. As face-to-face interactions were outlawed, society turned to new methods of communication, such as zoom classes, family group calls, and even multiplayer gaming. Here are five cool ways gaming brought people together during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Rise of Animal Crossing: The Hunt for The Nintendo Switch
As announcements rolled in commencing the end of life as we knew it, people were desperate to get their hands on consoles to keep their minds occupied. Nintendo Switches became notoriously difficult to get a hold of due to the highly anticipated release of Animal Crossing New Horizons, the latest instalment in the much-loved Animal Crossing franchise. Twitter was inundated with hilarious tweets and screenshots about the game, with many people hanging out with their friends and loved ones on their virtual islands. There was a surge in communities on Discord, Reddit, and Tumblr, connecting players all over the globe. Over a year later, the game continues to play a major role in pandemic life, with millions of players preparing to celebrate their first year on their islands.
- Multiplayer Games and Family Feuds
Despite not being allowed back home for your weekly board game, online multiplayer games such as Mario Party allowed competitive family fun to continue. With console games such as Trivial Pursuit following the same arrangement as already established board games, even grandparents who had never picked up a controller before could join in on the fun!
The Popularity Explosion That Was ‘Among Us’
You might have heard about Among Us even if you’re not an avid gamer (or Twitter user). Among Us became a pandemic sensation seemingly overnight, attracting over one hundred million users since release. With the ability to play with friends in a party or with complete strangers, this fast-paced investigation game provided plenty of late-night fun for those wanting to create lasting memories to get them through quarantine.
- Even WHO Got in On The Fun: #PlayApartTogether
That’s right! The World Health Organisation launched a hashtag aptly named ‘play apart together’ to encourage people to follow WHO guidelines and enjoy time with their family and friends virtually to prevent the spread of covid-19. Many top brands within the gaming industry took part, including Activision Blizzard, Youtube Gaming, and Twitch. Many popular streamers raised money via Tiltify to help fight the virus with over 83 million dollars being raised in 2020.
- The Importance of Mental Health
It had previously been argued that spending too much time staring at a screen was bad for your brain, but new research conducted during the pandemic says otherwise. Analysts at Oxford University studied data collected on the mental health of avid gamers in Britain and North America, measuring their well-being with surveys on positive and negative emotions. The study concluded that on average, those who played games for longer periods of time felt better than those who barely played any games at all. Other studies have even begun to see evidence of psychological and social benefits of gaming across generations, proving years-old theories about video games being detrimental to our health inaccurate.
A recent google survey indicated that 40% of people who picked up gaming as a hobby during the pandemic planned to continue playing even when restrictions start to lift. With the industry continuing to thrive, the outlook for the future of gaming is bright and prosperous.