As the country begins to come out of lockdown there seems to be no better time to discuss the effect it had on us and how gaming was an escape and a lifeline for many. Isolated, many people turned to gaming for the first time, while others of us played even more frequently than before.

During full lockdown we were entirely unable to meet up with friends or family for such a long time, and yet we managed to keep socialising through apps and games. Of course we had apps such as Skype, Zoom, and Snapchat to keep us visually connected to our friends, but we still couldn’t actually do anything with them through those asides from chat. That’s where some of the latest games came in. There are many ways that games were helpful to our mental wellbeing, such as helping us to connect with friends even when we couldn’t in person, giving us another world to escape to, and generally just providing a fun distraction to all the doom and gloom.

Latest Games and How They’ve Helped

A lot of the latest games have been an absolute blessing when it comes to helping us keep things together during lockdown. Take Animal Crossing: New Horizonsfor example. This game came out right when lockdown started, and it was perfect. You could completely escape from reality to your own little island, and even have your friends join you so you could all play together. Personally, I spent an awful lot of time on this game due to its ability to make me almost forget about everything negative going on around me.

It’s not only the latest games that have been valuable for mental wellbeing, however. I often found myself revisiting games I hadn’t played in years, partially because I had the time but mostly for the nostalgic comfort. Games such as Dragon Age: Origins and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword have a strange way of making me feel cosy, and I’m certain this is common for a lot of people (but with different games). The sense of safety that some of our favourite games can provide us with is easy to come back to, especially during uncertain times such as these. It’s like having that one book you always read when you feel sad, or that TV show that always gives you a smile even on the worst days.

Coming Out of Lockdown

We’re all extremely aware of the current mental health crisis at least partially caused by multiple lockdowns and social isolation, and there are very few things that have been able to help. With any luck, things will start to look up now that we’re taking the slow steps to come out of this lockdown. Hopefully we won’t end up going back into one, but at least if we do there will still always be a way to connect and have fun with friends.