Well, let’s not do a usual “end of year” review, shall we? We all know what happened this year. Instead I want to focus on something that really helped me through the struggles of this year, and like many other people I turned to video games. Now, while I played too much Animal Crossing in spring, to the point that the kids were upset with me digging out all the fossils and catching all the rare fishes, Pokémon Go made me happy all year long.
For one thing, it regularly gets me out of the house. I don’t have a dog for good reasons, so there’s no wet nose that makes me get off my ass, and like for many people, “I should go on a walk because the movement in the fresh air will do me good” just isn’t enough for me. But “I should go outside to catch Pokémon” amazingly is. And since Mr plays as well, we go on walks together, spend time together on our hobby and get some mild exercise outdoors.
For another thing, it keeps me connected. The social aspects of the game are carefully crafted. There is competition, and trainer battles, but they tend to be anonymous over the internet. Real life encounters tend to focus on cooperation, as all players focus on battling the same boss together. Just last week we met a family on our walk who had mostly just started playing and the little kid of some 8 years or so was super happy to find some advanced players to play with and get the big bad monster. Those little things make me happy.
Of course it’s also something we do with our friends, as restrictions allow, so we plan whole weekends around Pokémon events, with food and drink and everything. Even when we cannot play together, we have something to talk about via video chats or messenger services, so we keep talking with each other, having some light hearted chats or rants about some thing or other that isn’t working (what, did you think the game didn’t have glitches?) without having to talk about serious matters.
And finally there’s the people we met via Pokémon Go who have become friends. Sometimes life puts somebody in your way and then you notice that it “clicks”. About a year ago we met a woman who was hoping for others to join her in a Raid, and we did, and we connected on social media, and we noticed that we actually like each other and now I’m looking forward to our Wednesday night raids and chatting for a while with her and her husband. So much for the people who say that video games make you lonely.
Oh, and as an addendum: It also provides and outlet for all the judgemental people who have nothing better to do than getting upset at other people playing some harmless game on their phones in public. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them, would I?
So, what is your favourite (video) game and why?