Games, of course, are not just individual experiences. While I’m a huge fan of single player games, and Early gaming memories Dominated by the single player experience (thank you, slow internet), the Social side Games add another dimension to our experiences and memories of them. Whether it’s a shooter competition (I have fond memories of nights Unreal Championship 2003 in the dorm), a cooperative puzzle game, or just chatting with friends in a shared world across many miles, we enhance gaming memories by sharing them with others.
This is something I have especially appreciated over the past year of playing during the pandemic. Looking back a year ago – through anxiety, uncertainty, and fear of early closures – it’s a powerful, upbeat, and exhilarating gaming memory.
Play time once a week with friends from graduate school on the other side of the country, which was dominated by loud matches Rocket League, turned into an epic RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2. We are so fortunate to all work remotely, and safely indoors, that we suddenly have more time than ever to play together. A game that I thought might easily take us over a year started flying.
In the game, we can be heroes (often stutterers and inadvertently dangerous to innocent city dwellers), control our own destiny, save the world and take action. We had a whole world to explore and learn history, magic, fight to learn and perfect, and many new characters to talk to. Time passed, visits canceled, but we still had game sessions a few times a week.
original sin 2 Forever in my memory with a tragic and deadly pandemic. Thinking about it will remind me of being inside, learning about my Rt values, worrying about my parents, and counting my blessings to be safe. But it will also remind me of everything constantly exploding in the game world, laughing at my character’s complete failure in any persuasive conversations, turning enemies into unlucky chickens, planning elaborate battle tactics, and (ultimately) success.
Through the magic of the shared game, we can stay connected, away from our desks and sofas, but tossing spells side by side. Games have always been a means of communication, and this has been highlighted during a pandemic, when physical distance and social closeness are required. Over time, there was a clear benefit in being able to Feeling Not alone while you are safe alone. We can make good memories to help weather the long storm.
Recently, my escape from gaming has turned into Virtual Reality. I thought it would be years before I could play games in VR; It always looked like the future. After spending almost all of my time indoors, other than basic things like grocery shopping, it was a revelation to wear a VR headset. I was transported to an open world, my roof gone and replaced by a clear sky far away. I’m no longer in my small living room, and the sense of the new space immediately made me a tech believer.
Once again, there is this strange contrast between the novel, the pleasurable experience, and the horrors of the world’s largest conditions. And perhaps nothing better embodies the privileges I have at this time. I’ll never forget my first (literal) steps into VR, just as I’ll never forget why that suddenly became so appealing. While virtual reality is a haven, perhaps as much as anything else can be, it does not erase other memories.
Instead, it weaves them together in a new way. This memory doesn’t make all the time I spent indoors during the pandemic just a blur, nor does it let it be meticulously packaged in an effort to forget. Instead, it gave me unexpected joys in a dark time. Games have helped me stay healthy and present, in a way that seems like the complete opposite of trying to use them to escape. Games don’t make me forget, they help me remember.
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