Mario Quarantaine

Corona has taken over the world in a whirlwind, and while it is a very interesting, relevant and serious topic, I really did not feel like writing a blog discussing the virus again as we generally cannot go an hour without hearing about it. However, we cannot deny the fact that COVID and its consequences dominate our lives massively, and it remains interesting to evaluate the consequences for the way we pass our time. 

As we are stuck inside, there rests little do but to find ways to entertain ourselves with the humble means available to us. For me personally, this is a combination of uni work, cooking food, working out, and last but not least: playing games.

With more time than ever on our hands, the beginning of the quarantine was a perfect kickstart of a successful island on Animal Crossing, a new record time for Mario kart or a foolproof plan for your next round of Monopoly. 

While many think of games as solely a form of entertainment, in these times I have noticed that different types of games can have different effects on our brains, body and social connections. 

Videogames can really trigger creativity and skills. Games like Hearthstone, Poker or Tetris can really help accustoming the mind to strategic thinking. And as for creativity, think of games like Animal crossing, Super Mario maker, or Minecraft. One designs his own world without real-life boundaries, opening up the mind in ways impossible in real life. While spending a lot of time on these types of games can be a bit tricky, it can also offer useful new perspectives applicable in real life. For example, in 2014, a boy saved his grandpa by taking over the wheel, driving with skills he had learned from the open world game Grand Theft Auto! 

Also there are tons of games focussed on physical fitness. These can be intentional such as Wii Sports or Just Dance, but also less obvious games like Mario Party can really get you to move around and be active while playing. This is, especially in these times where many lack forms of activity, a very welcome way to pass the time. 

As for social connections, many families are all of a sudden stuck at home for longer periods of time, condemned to each others company. Games can function as an incredible mood-lifter as everyone enjoys playing individually while being connected. Games like Monopoly, Risk and Party and co might seem shallow and stupid enough, however families are actually brought together due to the laughs and teamwork these games require. In the specific case of siblings, videogames are also a way of bonding without having to speak to each other a whole lot ;).

So while you might feel guilty after playing Pokémon for 6 plus hours, or finishing a game of Rummikub with your brother in stead of finishing your essay: think of the positive effects these games bring you and realize that you are actually (sort-of?) bettering yourself during these hard times of uncertainty.   


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