2020: it’s been a year. And it’s not even over yet.
Perhaps the only good to come from 2020 is the fact that many of us have had time to get stuck into more games – and funnily enough, some of these games have even helped us handle 2020.
It feels like everything has changed; just think back to last New Year’s Eve, how different does that feel? Bet you never imagined you’d be walking around Tesco wearing a face mask, did you? Or that you’d have to say hello to your grandma through a window. Of course these changes had to be made, and they are for the greater good, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Thankfully, however, in recent years have seen some excellent video game releases – some of which have even helped us handle the changes that 2020 has brought with it. These videogames might not be about coronavirus or living through a pandemic per se, but playing them has prepared us for what life in 2020 has been like.
Wearing a face covering
In 2019 you’d only be wearing a face covering to a store if you planned to rob it, but in 2020 it’s a necessity to help stop the spread of germs. It does feel so strange to go out wearing a mask, and seeing everyone else wearing a face covering too makes it feel like we’re in some dystopian future.
But Red Dead Redemption 2 previously taught us that wearing a face covering is not only the right thing to do, but that it’s actually vital. Of course the Wild West didn’t see a pandemic, but Arthur knew that whenever he was about to go about his business (robbing banks, stores, trains…), he should wear a face covering. And if there’s one thing we should learn from Arthur Morgan, it’s that face coverings are sometimes very important.
One way systems and directional signs
So, you’ve masked up and got into the store, but how do you get to the items you need? They may be just a few metres away, but there’s a big sticker on the floor telling you which way to go. Turns out shopping isn’t as easy as it used to be. Thankfully, you’ve trained for this before by using directional pads, and now you’re a master of following directions.
That’s right, you’ve played Pokémon Red/Blue before, or you’ve played Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee recently and you defeated that dastardly Team Rocket. Not only that, you managed to beat their leader at the Viridian City Gym, and that means you’ve explored the whole building, using directional pads. If you can beat Team Rocket and their directional pads, you can definitely follow the system in the store.
Whether you’ve been told to stay one or two metres away from other people, you know that it’s vital you follow the rules. It’s not always easy: there’s always some customer taking ages in the aisle you want to go down. Maybe you even see a friend and can’t stop to talk to them? Maybe you try to be social from a safe distance?
Humans are social beings (I’ve heard) and apparently thrive from interactions – turns out we’re actually just like Sims. And having played The Sims 4 you know it’s possible to survive while a Sim is being physically distanced. Don’t lie; you’ve trapped a Sim in a room with no door before. Yes they get lonely, but if you told them it was to protect them I’m sure they’d understand. Plus, in real life we have phones to communicate… honestly who needs to talk face to face any more?
Checking on the neighbours
So you’ve been shopping and now you want to just relax, right? But first you should probably check on your neighbours to make sure they’re okay. It may not be easy to socialise with the neighbours – this isn’t an Australian soap after all – but they may be someone in need, or someone who needs to be checked on.
Of course, you may just find out that your neighbours are actually a delight to be with. You may even form a bond with them, and build a whole community. Sure, that seems far-fetched to some, but you’ve played Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You know all about neighbourly interactions and community spirit. Speak to them daily – from a distance – and never forget their birthdays.
Why do people say that staying at home is boring? You’ve got your sofa, your bed, a TV, a console; that’s all you need. Maybe your house isn’t very big, and maybe there are more exciting places you could be, but you know you should stay home. It could be much worse: you could be in a derelict old property in Dulvey.
That’s right; you’ve played Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and you know just how scary it can be to be stuck inside with the family from hell – and you thought the in-laws were bad. But Ethan didn’t run away and leave the house: no, he stayed and did what he knew was right. And if Ethan can survive that house, you can survive staying in yours.
Making the most of meals
So you know that staying at home is the right thing to do, but it’s still pretty boring. That’s why each meal is so important: each course provides something to look forward to, meaning the food has to be perfect.
Luckily, you’ve played Overcooked 2 before and know how to prepare great food. Not only that, but you’re experienced with a variety of dishes, and know how to prepare them under pressure. Whether you’re cooking alone, or with someone else, Overcooked has prepared you for this moment, so you’re going to make the perfect meals.
Not getting a break from the kids
Meals are made, you’re happy, but the kids are still bugging you. How long has it been since they were at school? You can’t remember now; it feels like the kids have always been right next to you. Yes, the kids were always that clingy, you just didn’t realise before.
But you’ve played God of War and you’ve seen Kratos overcome huge enemies and dangers while also having to be a father to his son. But not only that, Kratos has taught Atreus to be useful: to help in fights, and even explore areas he can’t reach. Now that’s parenting. You know that if Kratos can do it while facing perilous beasts, then you can while safe at home.
The not-so-secret life of pets
The kids are happy, and now it’s time to relax, right? Nope, turns out that when you’re at home all the time pets act differently. Dogs need constant attention, and always want to play – it’s exhausting. And cats? Well, cats are just annoyed that their daily routine has been disrupted – you and me both, pal.
But you’ve played Little Friends: Dogs and Cats before and you’re an experienced pet owner. You know exactly what your little furry friend wants (usually attention), and you’re trained at how to play with them, relax with them, and ensure they’re happy. 2020 has been a big change for pets too, but you know how to make the best of it.
Building bonds at a time like this
Finally the whole household is fed, the kids are occupied, and the pets are happy. You could be forgiven for thinking things are slightly more normal again, but you know 2020 has changed everything. So now more than ever it’s important to cherish those who you are close to, even if the world is falling apart outside.
If Ellie in The Last of Us Part II can form a strong bond with Dina, then there’s no excuse for anyone else. Forget a pandemic: Ellie’s world is full of tribal warfare, violent authorities, and infected peoples ready to kill her in an instant. Despite all that, she has found a loyal partner in Dina: someone who makes everything a little better for her. Learn from Ellie (and her mistakes), and value those who care about you.