Gamers or Self-Isolation Experts?

12:22 March 23, 2020
By: Kim Ranjbar

Interested in learning how to cope with being stuck inside all day, every day? Take a cue from gamers who can easily burn through entire weekends glued to their consoles or computers, only stepping away for "bio-breaks" or "family aggro." This is not to disparage the life of a gamer, I am one myself after all, and there are many benefits to be gained from that world, perks that can be a boon in these times of self-isolation and social distancing.

First and foremost, gaming offers a way to virtually hang out or socialize with large groups of people, especially if you're playing an MMORPG, ie. Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game for the noobs out there. There are dozens to choose from like the ever-popular World of Warcraft (both classic and current), Neverwinter, Runescape, Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade & Soul and more. These games provide a platform where groups of people remotely, yet united, strategize ways to defeat the enemy, and even though these are virtual scenarios, the gratification of coming together to conquer a common foe is greater than you realize. I can't tell you the number of times I've raided with groups of ten or more people from my guild, struggling to defeat one boss, failed attempt after failed attempt, when at last there's this moment when all of the pieces fall into place, everyone is focused and doing their part, and we succeed! It's a feeling I never thought I'd ever experience from a video game.

Secondly, and likely one of the biggest reasons people like to play games in general, video games offer and escape. For one hour or ten, you can build a castle or even a whole civilization, fight and defeat monsters, grow virtual fruits and vegetables for sale at a virtual market or take on a dance challenge and see if your feet can keep up with the beat. When you're playing, you become fully immersed in a fantasy world of your making, allowing reality to fade into the background … at least for a while. There are numerous studies over the years, especially in cooperative gaming like MMORPGs, that show how games can be surprisingly effective coping tools to deal with real-life stress (ahem, coronavirus). Couldn't we all use a little relief right now?

Finally, gaming is an incredibly fun and exciting way to burn time. Over the past week, I have seen hundreds of articles talking about what you can do while stuck in a vacuum, like clean the house, do 1000-piece puzzles, take up arts and crafts, etc. Just last night I built a new house in Sims4 and just started to decorate it before I realized that four hours had flew by. If my eyes weren't starting to close on their own accord, I likely would've stayed up for many hours more trying to complete it.

While many games are pay-to-play, there are also many sources like Steam and Gog which regularly offer free games to download and play from your PC. You never know until you try. You just might discover the gamer in you!

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