Going back to gaming has helped many

Going back to gaming has helped many

By Alec Stone, Staff Writer

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, people across the world have resorted to living their lives in the structures of their homes with as many limitations to the outside world as possible. Work, education, and play are all essential activities that, over the course of a year, have grown to be productive current and pastimes inside the average household. Like millions of people across the world, I have spent much of my time inside my house than more I would have expected.

However, one of these activities has reconnected me to an essential part of my life that has been limited over the years, due to work and education: playing video games. I never would have thought that my favorite pastime — I spent countless hours dedicated to in the early growing stages of my life — would triumphantly make a pleasant, but surprising return.

Where do I begin? In early 2020, when lockdowns were first being implemented across the country, I was not able to visit or see many of my closest friends. At the time, our society did not know the effects of this foreign virus and to what extent it would impact the general public. Of course I was optimistic that maybe all of this would come to an end soon, but I was wrong.

The most expletive words in my vocabulary could not even begin to describe my resentment feeling imprisoned in the place I call home through statewide lockdowns. Something in my life needed to change to help me adapt to this “new normal” and it needed to come quick.

Coming home from a frantic shopping spree of resourcing paper towels, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer led me to jump into my bed and contemplate what my next move would be. An errand so simple and frequent turned exhausting and chaotic. I missed communicating with my friends and I knew texting and optional phone calls would not make the cut for my new daily routine.

What happened next, I consider as a revival of my personal commitment to re-engage with what I loved most growing up. All it took was one look across my room at my gaming consoles in the corner connected to my television and one nice dust wipe to reboot my greatest memories growing up as a gamer. It felt as if I traveled back in time and my soul was in a place of an energetic tranquility. The best part? All of this was the closest way to return spending quality time with my friends in a world that felt closed from the outside in.

It has been over a year since I gamed online with my friends. To my surprise the subscription to my online account was still active, waiting for my inevitable return. I booted up “Call of Duty” with an update that was awaiting installation. Moments later, I got in right on the action and teamed up with some friends from high school. Countless days and nights beyond, I am growing my gaming library and expanding my horizons in various video game genres. Leveling up became a challenge again and one that seemed more rewarding than ever before.

I have been planning on seeing my friends before the Coronavirus became a constraint over our lives, but the ability to plug in a headset and chat honestly felt like a reunion. As cliché as this sounds, I cherish and value the time I spend with my friends as I have a busy school and work schedule. Getting my schedule aligned with my friends to all get online at the same time can be challenging, but very rewarding in the end. Being able to speak and game online with friends created the scenario as if all of them were present at my house at the same time. I knew I was not the only one having this experience. It turns out, other gamers across the world have been getting attached more to their controllers in recent months.

According to MarketWatch, the video game industry made tremendous progress in sales during the existence of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The video game industry had outperformed the sports and movie industry in terms of sales. According to writer Wallace Witkowski, “the rise of digital-copy game sales, mobile games, in-app purchase freemium games, cross-platform games that aren’t limited to a specific console” are the driving forces behind this economic trend for the video game industry. In 2021, it is predicted that this trend will still remain intact, with the recent releases of the newest next generation video game consoles.

Nathaniel McArthur of Crystal Lake shared his experience getting back into the world of video games. “The odd thing I noticed about COVID is that by being at home more, I am more attached to the values I own and greatly appreciate them more as the days go by. I know that it’s difficult for gamers to buy the next-gen systems as they are constantly sold out, but for me, I’m still rocking the same hardware I bought back in 2015,” he said. “I know it’s outdated, but this is the best I got for now. Working at an auto shop and adding school to the equation absolutely takes up my time during the week, but when I have some free time, I can’t go wrong with sitting down, picking up a controller, and having a good time with my friends online.”

In my opinion, it has been much more enjoyable to play video games during the era of the Coronavirus while each of us do our part and try to help keep others healthy and safe. Although many of us struggle to be in the presence of our friends, the alternatives exist for the time being. With an unpredictable end to lockdowns in states across the country, gamers like myself have been recently reconnected with engaging with more video games in the comfort of our own home during these times. Being able to connect and play video games with friends for countless hours online can be a remarkable experience. My experience is one that many gamers across the world can relate to. While we are stuck inside our homes, why not try to make the best of it? Picking up a controller with your friends can lead to some memorable and enjoyable adventures.