Online games are helping people relax during the pandemic
Every afternoon we see our family members annoyed by confinement start a game of Ludo King with their friends. There is some organization and planning that comes into play – who will be playing this session, and then the constant movement of the dice. That grainy, methodical sound of the dice roll has become identifiable with almost every other household.
Online gaming became a real craze with Pokemon Go a few years ago and more recently PUBG. But, the game took on a whole new attraction during the nationwide lockdown.
A recent study by Microsoft as part of the Xbox Research Accessibility community feedback program, a group of gamers with disabilities, looked at gambling and how it has helped people manage their mental health during the game. pandemic.
The study showed that nearly 84% of those surveyed had been positively impacted by gambling during the pandemic, while 71% of them said gambling helped them feel less isolated during the time.
Danish Sinha, founder of Gamestacy, a female-friendly game development company, says the game provides distraction and momentary release from pain and psychological trauma – both prevalent during the lockdown.
He says online gambling is “a way to relax, connect with others, and feel competent” at times that could have been demoralizing.
Sinha says, “The game gives a sense of power over the world as the players experience a sense of accomplishment. This is extremely helpful for teens facing depression and anxiety, as play helps them counter their self-harming narratives.
But, do psychologists agree that all is well? Does virtual play have a negative impact? Clinical psychologist Nidhi Mehta says a balanced amount of games is good. “The benefits range from improving reflexes and problem solving to fighting Alzheimer’s disease, depending on the game you play.
However, when play comes at the expense of other things, it becomes a problem – kids don’t do homework or adults neglect family or friends, Mehta explains.
“Gambling cannot be the only coping mechanism (to cope with a situation like the pandemic). One can even relax and unwind by doing other activities such as reading books, baking or gardening. The problem arises when people get addicted to gambling, ”she said.
Most professionals and experts stress the need for balance when playing online games. It has benefits when done in a healthy and moderate way. It created an online community, especially at a time when people were physically separated and couldn’t meet.
For many players in the country, in which people seek immense solace in closeness to families and family ties, the game has helped them rediscover their family to some extent. Before confinement, everyone was busy. They had no free time like they have today in a WFH situation.
Chennai-based Haku Shah didn’t want to miss the opportunity to jump on the Ludo King train during the lockdown. He started playing with his friends and then started organizing Ludo King tournaments for his family.
“There has been a huge response to my Ludo tournaments,” Shah says. “About 150-200 people participated and we were playing 2-3 games a day with the extended family in US, UK, Singapore and it was a lot of fun,” Shah said.
“They all played Ludo when they were kids. We can play either aggressive or defensive and that teaches you a lot. The beauty of Ludo King is that kids as young as 10 can play, and adults over 60 can enjoy it too. The best part is connecting with people.
Mumbai-based account manager at a PR firm Sanjay D’Souza (name changed) started performing overnight during WFH. The games he plays have taught him a lot about managing time and resources. “These are extremely useful skills in professional life,” he says. The games he played were stress relieving as well.
“I like multiplayer games. The game gives you joy, excitement and happiness. I tend to play Airlines Manager – Tycoon 2021, Sim Companies and Tycoon Business Game – Empire and Business Simulator. These games teach you if the strategy you applied was right and if it helped you make a profit, ”explains D’Souza.
Mumbai Based Workforce Planning Manager in BPO Chotu Vohra is a professional gamer and has won numerous gaming tournaments. It played games like Age of Empires and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, before it was banned in India. “The game had taken a back seat. But, it resumed during the lockdown, ”says Vohra who, like D’Souza, played the night after work.
Connecting with friends is the draw for many gamers as they can talk in chat boxes while playing.
Vohra says, “Mobile Legends was all about teaming up with your friends and beating others. The game also teaches you skills such as multitasking; it makes sharp (but not necessarily smart). It’s a great way to pass the time, especially if you are traveling and need to save time.
Those are a few happy hours of fun and competitive madness for many, as long as you don’t overdo it.
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Posted on: Sunday, August 29, 2021, 7:00 a.m. IST