Gaming During Covid

Ronald Myers

Covid has had widespread effects on the world, including gaming. In my personal life I’ve noticed a great deal more time on my hands to play games I desire. Between myself and my partner, who lives down in Arizona, we’ve found that covid has actually been a blessing, spurring us to try new games that we wouldn’t have before such as the “We Were Here” series.


Games have reached new heights across the spectrum with games such as “Cyberpunk 2077” has reached record numbers of sales. Meanwhile on the opposite end of gaming “The Last of Us 2” received massive backlash for its portrayal of trans people. The controversy went so far as to garner widespread coverage months before the release when the scene in question had been leaked and bipartisan condemnations on social media. Needless to say that COVID has greatly changed the gaming landscape.


“I’m able to play more time consuming games if you will,” said Aaron Olson, a senior at LOHS, “I started playing “Minecraft” again, I didn’t think I’d do that. Like ‘Red Dead Redemption’. For example, I’ve been playing for this just by myself just building up because it’s passive and I have time.”


Minecraft is a widely popular sandbox game that originally peaked in popularity during the 2010s. However, between the new updates that have introduced a great deal of new content and groups of minecraft content creators such as the members of “Hermitcraft” and “Dream Survival Multiplayer.”


Lakeridge Senior Max Taylor, who describes himself as an avid gamer, commented on the physical barrier to entry.


 “I’ve been affected less than average, as I had a PC that was decent that I was looking to replace before the pandemic, but I’ll have to wait since the graphics card I was going to buy is now the price of all the other parts combined,” said Taylor.

When questioned as to if Covid has changed the genre of games they enjoy they both commented stating they enjoyed first person shooters. 


When talking about his favorite game, “Rainbow Six Siege,” a tactical first person shooter, Taylor said, “Gaming pre-COVID was normal and it’s kinda stayed that way. I think it’s one of those things that hasn’t changed much for me and it kinda acts like a reminder of what normal is.”


“My favorite video game is ‘Valorant,’” said Mathew Bedolla, a freshman at LHS, when questioned about his favorite first person shooter. He went on to comment about the community saying that it had grown and that while some people could be toxic most people were chill. Additionally the game does have a feature where you can friend other players in order to play with them again. 


When talking about “Valorant” he commented that the game is free and can be gotten off the Riot Games website. He also said “it’s quiet fun and I recommend it to anyone who’s into first person shooters”


However it should be noted though that this widespread change has had some drawbacks. Since gaming is more in demand a questionably legal profession known as scalping has risen. Scalping is the process by which a person uses computer programs to continuously refresh a website page, waiting for a game, console, or piece of hardware to be released and then instantly buying the item. After this the scalper will immediately turn around and resell the item with large markups.


A rather infamous example of this was when Nintendo first released its collectable figures known as Amiibo’s. In American markets they were rare, with most being bought up off the shelves quickly. After this people selling Amiibos from overseas and within the states began appearing all over ebay and amazon. In one case a pair of Amiibos from the popular third person shooter “Splatoon” who were sold together had an initial price of $25, however current listings show them with a selling price of $200 to $300.


Personally from a pre-COVID perspective I found myself playing mostly single player games. However, since then due to having a vulnerable family member and having friends in other countries and time zones, I have certainly found myself sitting at my desk with a headset on calls and planning out strategies or bases. 


In my opinion the greatest change Covid has brought us is a tightening of bonds. Perhaps because people are separated by screens people have found solace in online communities. There are many great stories from before Covid of people finding life long friends, lovers, healing, and even people who saved them from supposedly terminal diseases.


Hopefully, if one good thing comes out of this pandemic, it’s the detoxifying of game communities and the creation of friends. Perhaps with the rise of VR technology we may soon see a VRMMO published by a triple A studio, though one currently named Neverdawn. Given the rapid growth in gaming and the content being generated by triple A game developers and independent developers alike, perhaps from all of this change, the best is yet to come.