Content of the article: "How Gaming During the Pandemic Kept Us Sane in 2020"
Hi everyone! I recently posted an article I wrote to my personal LinkedIn page and I wanted to share it with you all as well. I've been a big gamer since childhood and recently decided I'd like to share more insight and educate others about the world of gaming. In my first post, I discuss how gaming helped many of us make it through 2020. I focus on how games are able to captivate the player to provide an escape from reality and how games brought people together online more than ever last year.
Please take a read and let me know what you think! I plan to make similar posts monthly with a focus on knowledge sharing and education. I also invite everyone to check out my Twitch channel where I livestream games regularly, typically on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Cheers!
In a year filled with uncertainty and despair, many of us longed for a way to disconnect from reality while isolated at home. Some enjoyed the peace and quiet of reading books and found themselves captivated by the stories. Others dove into their favorite TV shows and movies to escape from work and experience new worlds. Myself? I found happiness and disconnect in a corner of my bedroom, at my computer desk, where hours upon hours were spent enjoying the latest video games of 2020.
Video games have historically had a negative social stigma associated with them. Growing up, video games were generally what nerdy boys like myself did all day and what we got scolded for wasting too much time on by our parents. Today, boys and girls of all ages are captivated by the unique experiences that video games create. Adults of all backgrounds are gaming more than ever as it becomes easier to try new games. Professional gaming, live streaming, and content creation have become full-time jobs for thousands, and it is clear now more than ever that our society has expanded beyond viewing gaming simply as a hobby. Within the last twenty years, an interest in gaming has become much more normalized as the barriers to entry decrease and accessibility to video games grows.
An Escape from Lockdown
I was certainly not alone this year indulging in video games during the pandemic lockdowns. A Nielsen article from June 2020 noted that "82% of global consumers played video games and watched video game content during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns." Another report from Deloitte showed that 43% of Millennials tried a new video gaming activity during the pandemic.
Gaming was clearly an outlet for many of us this past year and it has been amusing to see people of all backgrounds enjoy video games in their homes, with their families, and with friends online. Video games offer a type of interactivity and immersion that reading and TV truly cannot replicate. With a controller (or mouse 😊) in your hand, you alone are responsible for the actions of your character in the game’s universe. While the story is generally written for you, how you experience the story is up to you. Video games have the ability to absorb us in a way where every action we perform makes it feel like we are truly part of the game. This escape from reality is something I found myself longing for during the long days spent at home this past year.
A Way to Connect
Although face-to-face conversation with others was limited this past year, online conversations with friends old and new filled the void. While virtual happy hours and Zoom calls with friends were exciting for the first few weeks of lockdowns, I think many would agree they eventually became a chore as video chat fatigue set in.
I would say that a lot of people overlook the incredible social aspect of multiplayer video games. Of course, the general population is aware of the popular party games – Jackbox Games, Among Us, and the like. But few realize that many popular video games are best played with others. The top video games on Twitch this year, a list which includes League of Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Fall Guys, and Minecraft, are all arguably the most enjoyable when playing with friends. In a survey from The German Games Industry Association, 27% of gamers said they played with family and friends more often than usual during the pandemic (note this survey focused on those who were gamers before the pandemic and does not necessarily include those who only play games with friends and family).
Gaming during the pandemic has been invaluable in connecting me with friends that I haven't spoken to in years as we all jumped online with more free time than ever before. I've been able to stay in close contact with my old friends while also meeting new friends online through our mutual interest in video games. Thanks in large part to the popular text and voice communication app Discord, we were able to seamlessly connect online at all hours of the day, frequently hopping into voice chats to catch up while playing together. The recurring contact with friends online was a key factor in helping me maintain normalcy this year while also reconnecting me to old friends I may not have spoken to otherwise.
The world of gaming has grown exponentially in the last decade and it's been a joy to watch more of my friends and family explore and enjoy video games. I’ve watched as friends who have never touched games tried Animal Crossing on their new Nintendo Switches. I’ve invited friends to play Among Us on their mobile phones to join in on the fun. Seeing the connections that video games have helped us create and develop this past year has been heartwarming. 2020 allowed me to connect with friends old and new in a way that I never would have in a normal year and for that I am grateful. I look forward 2021 with excitement and interest in how the momentum for gaming continues through this year and beyond.
Has gaming provided an escape for you this past year? How was your experience with video games different last year than normal? Drop a comment below and let me know. Also, please let me know of any feedback you have with this type of post. I'd love to make more of these in the future, sharing my experiences and knowledge about the gaming world with others.
Want to chat more directly? Check out my Twitch live stream where I frequently stream my favorite games and chat with the community. I'm typically live Tuesday and Thursday evenings, with occasional streams on the weekends.
Until next time!
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