Paige FTW: The New Digital Era
As a global pandemic upends our entire way of life, there is one thing we can rely on in this time of social distancing and general unease: video games.
Aside from the fact that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is going to boom (as everyone stuck at home nurtures their pretty little towns and happy animal friendships, including me), we are seeing a very interesting use of the medium to supplement — or, in some cases, replace — conventional entertainment.
The most obvious example is, of course, sports.
Nearly every single professional sports league (including the NBA, NFL, MBL and many others) has canceled their season. There are no NCAA sports for the remainder of the academic year. There aren’t even prep sports. I’m pretty sure there won’t even be any AYSO or little league sports soon enough.
What has filled the void?
Well, games like NBA 2K20, where the actual NBA teams are simulating their canceled matchups. The Phoenix Suns were first to jump on the bandwagon with Twitch streams substituting for the real life matchups. It’s not the same, but it’s certainly a clever way to keep fans engaged.
Ironically, the “social isolation” that many critics despair of in gaming is now its greatest strength. Perhaps soon my boyfriend and I will be stuck at home, but he plays The Division 2 every single day for hours with his friends. He certainly has been getting his fair share of social stimulus.
Our regular Dungeons & Dragons group has been on a hiatus for non-pandemic reasons, but if we must, we can hop onto roll20.net to continue the campaign online, if comes to that.
And games like Death Stranding — a game literally and metaphorically about building connections between a bunch of people who are “social distancing” to a new extreme —take on new meaning (to say it ended up being an incredibly socially relevant title in these times is an understatement).
Sure, E3 got canceled — but most gamers get their news online anyway.
Who knew that as everything shutters around us, the video game would rise so triumphant from the ashes?