As countries across the world urge their citizens to stay at home, feelings of loneliness, isolation, or just simply boredom are inevitable. A continuous pattern like this has a chance of taking a toll on someone’s mental health.
To combat this, we need to occupy ourselves with activities like exercising at home, for example. Another effective way to distract ourselves is through playing games and here are five reasons why you should be gaming during the on-going quarantine.
1. It’s a fun way to pass time
Playing video games, obviously, is a fun way to pass time. Single-player games, with its storyline and side quests, usually take from 30 to 100 hours to finish so you can imagine how that will already take up a chunk of your time while enjoying every bit of it.
If you weren’t so big on gaming before, that’s still okay since playing games doesn’t always have to be those first-person shooter types that require lightning-fast reflexes. One can also opt for more laid back and slow-paced titles like Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Apart from those, you can even just download popular games on your phone like Plants vs. Zombies as long as you’re really into it. The point is to look for a game that you enjoy and take your time playing it.
Basically, gaming becomes fun since it’s found to be a natural stress-reliever and mood-enhancer by numerous studies. For reference, the Journal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation has published a study that casual games have significant long-term mood-lifting effects. It also cuts stress hormones for individuals.
2. It transports you to an entirely new world
Depending on the game you’re playing, it can bring you to a place where you can unleash more of your creative side or improve your motor skills. It can be a place where you’re the hero and you’re slaying monsters or fighting off bad guys. And though it may sound childish for some, it’s actually important especially during these times.
Today, one can’t help but feel like being bombarded with negative reports and stories. One browsing session on your Facebook feed should back my point. This is why I try to stay away from social media pages from time to time and playing games has been a form of escape. It basically transports you to your own personal space or sanctuary where you can feel safe.
Plus, games today boast life-like graphics from character customization to the place where the story is set. Together, the environment it offers is usually so immersive that you simply can’t help but get sucked into your character’s world.
3. It brings loved ones closer
Being stuck at home with your family or a loved one is the perfect opportunity to hang out and play games with each other. Doing so, you’ll have shared experiences whether it’s frustration from dying in a boss fight or laughter when one of you commits a funny mistake. These things make the experience more memorable.
In fact, a study by Queensland University of Technology published on The Daily Telegraph states that it’s considered a social experience when you sit down with someone and play games that require lots of strategy and teamwork.
On a side note, trash-talk between siblings is common for some families and is always fun. After all, winning is great motivation and competition is just amplified by the fact that your opponent is sitting right beside you.
Fighting games like Tekken 7, especially, is a good example. There are times when the match is really close and you both launch an attack at the same time, the game will shift to slow motion to show who lands the winning hit first. It’s a very exhilarating experience usually ending with an exclamation, “That match was so epic!”
4. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends
This past month I’ve been missing the company of friends or simply socializing for that matter. Thanks to the availability of online gaming, staying in touch with friends is easier and a lot more fun.
Most online games now support voice chat so you can have a group call going on while doing your in-game quests. Not only does it allow for coordination when taking on a boss, but also allows you and your friends to ‘hang out’ in a virtual world. This way, you observe social distancing while fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.
5. Developers are making quality games more accessible
In order to encourage more people to stay home, game developers have been making their games more accessible to players. When you visit either the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Steam, and the like, you’ll see an array of titles with discounts up to 90% and some are even free. Sony Interactive Entertainment, in particular, recently announced that it made two big games free to download.
It’s good to see that game developers are stepping up in their own small ways to make this pandemic a bit easier for us.
As a gamer growing up, I often hear people saying that video games wouldn’t benefit anyone or it’s for anti-social people. While in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Gaming, for me, really helps to get through the anxieties brought by the pandemic. It takes my mind off of all the negative things I see when I browse on social media and I know for a fact that other people feel the same way.
Whenever I pick up my controller and start playing, it takes away that anxiety and helps me get through the day. So whenever you feel restless, irritable, or anxious, try sitting down for a game or two and just play.