Game controller illustration

During the pandemic, people have spent a significant amount of time inside their homes, leaving only to eat or buy stuff that makes staying inside bearable.

Fortunately for those lacking some quality entertainment, gaming can make time alone sufferable by offering fantastic places to explore, unique social experiences and hours of content to fill the gaps in people’s lives opened by quarantine.

Video games are about walking in the characters' shoes and exploring new worlds. There are many ways to find exciting games like that for yourself.

First, try asking friends about the games they enjoy. They can give you examples, and you both can talk about the game as you play through it, strengthening each other's understanding of it.

You could also check top-ten lists and game storefronts like "Steam’s" Discovery queue or your favorite content creators’ favorite lists. If you follow a gaming Youtuber, watching one of their videos about an unfamiliar game could introduce you to something you might end up enjoying.

Regardless of what you do, try to keep an open mind and play in a time where you can soak in the atmosphere of the game you want to play.

From the ancient games of "Senet" and chess to "Pong" and "Fall Guys," people have played various games with one another for thousands of years; gameplay almost always featured a second player. The concept of gaming and competition has always carried an element of social interaction.

If you want to play something with some friends over Zoom, there are great browser-based party games out there. Those that emulate physical board games, like the doodle-based charades game or the fast-paced version of "Scattergories" called "Really Boring Website," are fantastic. Even official games like "Codenames" get their own versions in "Codenames Online." Most of these are free, quick to set up, and most importantly, fun.

As far as traditional videogames go, there is an abundance of free-to-play games that can be played with friends. Some of the most well-known are "Fortnite," "Team Fortress 2" and "Destiny 2." "Destiny" and "Fortnite" are more recent and experience constant updates; however, "Destiny 2" contains a plethora of content that requires a group of 3-6 friends to play. "Team Fortress 2," on the other hand, is not updated as often, but the gameplay and its intricacies offer hours of entertainment.

If you want a social experience and are willing to spend some money, you have even more options. Games like "Among Us" and "Fall Guys" are fun and affordable. People who have PlayStation Plus for PS4 can get the classic Battle Royale game "Player Unknown’s BattleGrounds" and "Street Fighter V."

For a classic online board game experience, games like "Tabletop Simulator" create a virtual tabletop for all sorts of games, such as pen and paper role-playing games, actual board games and any indie game created for the games workshop.

Games that someone could spend several hours playing are not new, but it is becoming difficult to find ones that stand out from the pile. Long gameplay options worth considering are "Persona" and "Yakuza." Both last up to 100 hours and feature fun strategies and stories every step of the way.

"Persona," a turn-based RPG, is a massive, stylish franchise. There is also talk of the whole series being ported to PC just like "Persona 4 Golden," which was re-released in July. The series’ newest release, "Persona 5 Royal," adds a whole new splash of content to the original "Persona 5" from 2016 and improves every aspect of its mechanics.

Yakuza, a "beat 'em up" brawler about Japanese crime families, started as a cult classic and is currently a popular series slated to add its eighth installment, "Yakuza: Like a Dragon." The game alternates from a serious drama about the lives of those involved in the yakuza to side stories involving club management simulators and the strangers you might meet on the streets of fictional Kamurocho.

Playing video games can help us cope and stay connected in these strange times. It involves social distancing, allows exploration and consumes time, which equates to the perfect recipe for quarantine entertainment. Regardless of what speaks to you or what you are looking for in a game, if you need something positive to do during quarantine, gaming has you covered.

- Brett Owen is a computer science junior

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