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Gaming over lockdown

Millie Stanley-Davy discusses how video games helped her to feel a change of scenery during lockdown

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2020 has proved to be the ultimate year to immerse yourself in video games. I find picking up the controller a brilliant reprieve from the onslaught of deadlines and gloom-ridden news. As contradictory as it may seem, I find it relaxing to hit zombies in the face and explore trap-filled ruins for treasure. For me, gaming was one of the things that made the first lockdown bearable – that and baking
bread, along with the rest of the UK.

What I love about playing video games, especially during lockdown, is that they transport you from your room to worlds filled with peril and adventure. Without them, I know I would just spend hours endlessly scrolling through Instagram and Netflix. I have just completed The Last of Us 2 – it’s games like this which provide an escape from the sometimes grim reality of 2020. I immensely enjoyed exploring the desolate yet beautiful world of the game. Even though it is set years after a deadly virus has infected swathes of the population and destroyed society as we know it, the poignant and comedic relationships more than make up for the terrifying moments of crouching behind cover while watching a clicker screech from inches away. It is a story that stays with you, long after you have put down the controller.

Many other games are as immersive and engaging: Horizon Zero Dawn and The Uncharted Series to name a few. It is particularly important at the moment to escape constantly checking the news and taking the time to relax and forget about Covid. Video games are perfect for this, as you can play whenever is convenient, and they have hours of content that you can get lost in. The Last of Us 2, in particular, is a game I played mostly in the evenings~~,~~ and easily whittled down the hours guiding Ellie through hair raising
encounters and emotional moments. To relax from the stress of trying to avoid being devoured by hordes of zombies, I have also loved playing light and fun games such as Among Us and Fortnite (yes, Fortnite) with friends, or people that I have only just virtually met at university. It is a strange time, and video games give me the perfect excuse to still meet new people and have a laugh. My terrible excuses in Among Us when I was caught out as the Imposter are particularly memorable for me.

Prior to Among Us, Mario Kart was the ultimate way to test my skills at sabotaging other players' chances of winning, whilst avoiding the inevitable storm of red shells and banana skins. We have just got our old Wii working, and Mario Kart has proven to be the highlight of my family’s lockdown gaming experience. You can let out all your frustration on the little cartoon characters in go-karts, whilst also trying to defeat your competitors by pure skill or sneaky tactics. Video games like this were also great when I was stuck inside during the first lockdown, staring at the same view each day. They open up new worlds to explore, opponents to thrash and
bewitching scenery. The landscapes of the Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn are particularly stunning and I enjoyed simply riding through the landscape on Geralt’s trusty companion Roach, admiring the light from the blood-red sunset as it filters through the trees. You can go wherever you please and explore every corner of the map. This unlimited freedom is especially apparent in Assassin's Creed Odyssey. I sailed to the Greek islands, climbed famous monuments and tried and failed to seamlessly assassinate corrupt powerful figures.

Video games are just complete escapism and endless amusement. I have gained a new respect for them since the start of Covid-19. Games can bring friends together and give some joy amidst all this difficulty, whilst also providing some distraction and entertainment, not in the form of Tik Tok or Netflix. They have really helped me get through these multiple lockdowns and constant restrictions, and I can’t recommend them enough if you are struggling with being stuck inside.

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