To a certain extent, everyone can agree that video games have become the saving grace of 2020 and possibly 2021. Friends will hop on a Discord call and ask for the code to join a couple rounds of Among Us or join someone’s Minecraft server to blow up each other’s hard made houses. This phenomenon has of course existed before Covid-19, but now it has become even more prevalent and has become a deeper factor of bonding. Sadly no one can go out to eat, go catch a movie together, go bowling, or any of the many activities we get to normally enjoy.
The safest and smartest option is to stay home and Facetime your friends, so of course naturally online multiplayer games have become more popular. Multiple communities across UMD have even created servers in several games to bring a sense of togetherness. The servers range from being on Discord to Minecraft and some had existed prior to the pandemic, now only further utilized as time went on. These games help not only people bond but gives them an escape from the world right now, to mentally throw themselves into a world that is different from our own. For example, friends can go on raids and fight monsters with a group of friends, or build towns and villages from scratch, or they can even play classic board games together online like Monopoly or Scrabble. Friends can customize characters to be whatever they like or help each other grind for rare items together that might take hours to get.
There are endless genres to pick from as well, such as MOBAS (multiplayer online battle arenas), battle royals where it’s a game centered around the last person standing wins, and dungeon crawlers where people have to fight their way through dungeons to find treasures. Of course there are many more to pick from, giving everyone infinite choices on “where” to go and what to do. Not only have these games become a saving grace from boredom, but have also helped with mental health, bonding with others, and becoming an outlet for de-stressing during these tough times.
There’s nothing like putting on a headset, calling friends on Discord, and loading up a game that everyone has been wanting to escape to all day. The laughter that can ensue, the excitement and adrenaline, all of this can be provided in a time where it seems these concepts can be hard to get a hand on. It creates a sense of community and company that is currently severely lacking and that everyone deserves to have a boost in. Even if someone isn’t into gaming, just encourage them to give some games a chance, and maybe they will find a hobby that they never expected to have. Everyone has created coping mechanisms for the ongoing pandemic, and if people can find one that brings them closer to others while still at a distance, that would be a win in anyone’s book.