How gaming can help in challenging times

If you’re an avid gamer, the chances are you pray for a reason to be locked away for hours, days, weeks on end. However, when it’s forced upon you by a nasty threat, the shine can certainly be dulled. There isn’t much we can currently do apart from be careful, sanitary and follow the ever-changing guidelines being released by the official bodies.

At the moment, we are being advised to ‘Social Distance’ in order to limit the risks the vulnerable are facing. One of the key factors of it is not going out to public places unless absolutely necessary and limiting social visits. Hence, more time at home alone.

Whilst relished by some people, this can become a challenging time for others. Boredom, isolation, inactivity – all can play a part in damaging our physical and mental well-being. So what can gaming do to help? And how can it predict the outcomes of disruptive events, such as the ones we are seeing now?

Most sociable games to play

Gaming can be a highly sociable activity, albeit in the virtual sense, if you know what you’re doing. There are certain games which actively promote your interaction with others, and sometimes those outside your social circle too. Stave off the feelings of separation by socialising with online games. Here are our top picks:

Don’t Starve Together – with the way the supermarkets are being cleared, it’s unlikely many of us will starve so this game isn’t echoing reality. In fact, this is a 4-player co-op survival game where you must survive in a hostile world by finding food, making fires and weapons and battling wildlife. Who will you be able to rely on?

GTA Online – these strange times could have us wondering about choosing a different path. Rather than a life of real crime, why not perform a virtual bank heist with your friends instead? It’s much less likely to result in prison time!

Fortnite: Battle Royale – opt for squad mode and you’ll be playing with 3 others on an island with 96 others to fight it out to the bitter end. Find a quiet spot to build your fortress before charging into battle with the others. You can also create your own levels if you want a little more to do.

Minecraft – enter a fantasy land where you can build impressive structures with the help of your teammates (groups of up to 8 can play together), learning about each other as you go. There are mini-games to compete over too!

Living in a fantasy land

If you’re looking for pure escapism from these confusing times, thankfully there are plenty of games out there where you can build a safe environment for yourself and your family, even your pets. Perhaps the most famous is that of SIMS and anyone who has played it will soon see how addictive this can be! What’s more fun than deciding the fate of your homegrown characters?

If you’re looking for alternatives to SIMS, there are plenty of others on the market too. Our top 5 are:

  1. Two Point Hospital – highly relevant right now!
  2. Cities: Skylines – manage a city, not just a family
  3. Jurassic World Evolution – build a theme park full of dinosaurs
  4. My Time At Portia – create a family, but handcraft items in your workshop too
  5. Stardew Valley – escape to the virtual countryside and be immersed in the local community

Key tips for safer gaming:

Try to ensure you don’t worsen the spread of germs in your gaming environment with these top tips:

  • Wash your hands before and after you play
  • Use disinfectant wipes regularly on your kit
  • Don’t touch your face whilst playing
  • Keep gaming nights virtual

So while the world is a little different than usual right now, gaming can have a positive effect. If you’re new to it, you can kit yourself out with a new PC, or get a better spec with a refurbished PC - there's £15 off all models at the moment to benefit from! Real connoisseurs can build a PC to their own spec too. And if you already have all the gear, then why not look at upgrading some of your peripherals? After all, you’re probably going to be spending a fair bit of time using it so treat yourself!