Let’s be honest.
As rewarding as they are, long-distance relationships can be really hard. You’ve had a long day at work, or at uni. All you want is a hug from that one specific person and they’re hundreds (or thousands) of miles away. Whether this is a significant other, a family member, or a close friend, the fact that it’s literally impossible to give that person a quick hug is an incredibly frustrating feeling. So, what can we do to help ourselves when we’re feeling hopeless? We can play video games!
Okay, so I know this doesn’t sound too helpful. However, video games can be such a good way to cheer yourself up and stay feeling connected. Also, it really helps to improve communication, as you can continue having in-depth conversations. According to a study in 2013, long-distance couples communicate more effectively as the distance means that they end up disclosing more personal information without fear of judgement. This is especially true with online gaming, as the shared experience may make you feel less scrutinised with the focus being elsewhere.
Video games are no different to board games in that they have always been a way of connecting to people and sharing a fun experience. In fact, they have been described as “the original social network.”
Even if you’re not a fan of video games, you can still get involved. There are so many online multiplayer games that require very little gaming skill, and even more multiplayer games where you can get away with nothing while you let the other person do literally all of the work. Personally, I’m a fan of making my character run around in circles and climbing as high as possible while my boyfriend tries his best to be productive.
Playing games together gives you the time to talk. If you aren’t a fan of talking on the phone for extended periods of time, then that’s okay! The game is there to distract both of you, making sure there’s always something to discuss. Like, for example, how I managed to fall down a hole and drown in a game that was made primarily for children to play.
It lets you laugh together. You can carry on making silly inside jokes even though you can’t meet up in person, and then when you do meet up in person, you already have something you can talk about.
Which games do I play?
With the multitude of choice when it comes to video games, it can be hard to find a starting point. This can be a good thing though, as there’s something out there for everyone!
Stardew Valley is an “indie farming simulation role-playing video game” first released in February 2016. Recently, they released an online multiplayer version. And sure, maybe you aren’t really keen on the idea of playing a farming simulation game. I get it. But the game really isn’t what’s important here. The fact is, social media and the internet means that you’re never truly away from your favourite person.
Not to mention the fact that online farming is weirdly adorable.
— ty baka ಥ‿‿ಥ (@heyshadylady) May 6, 2018
As shown in this tweet, you can even virtually share a bed with the person you’re playing the game with while the characters sleep. Gaming is an amazingly effective distraction. If you feel lonely and anxious, you can escape to a calm and peaceful virtual world for a while to calm yourself down. If you want a more fast-paced game, Mario Kart is a classic that everyone can enjoy.
How does this help me feel connected?
So you’ve bought a few games, now what?
Discord is a platform which allows you to create ‘parties’ of people to play games with. Not only can you stay in touch with a significant other but video games can help you to keep in touch with a group of friends. This platform has features where as well as being able to voice call while sharing a gaming experience, you can also video chat and screen share, where you’ll both be able to look at the exact same thing at the same time.
Video games often get a bad reputation for being antisocial and isolating, but I think that they can be the opposite, and are amazing for people who are feeling lonely and out of place.
What's your favourite way of keeping in contact with loved ones? ?
— First Steps to Freedom (@steps_freedom) December 18, 2018
What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!
(Also, Happy Christmas! I hope you all have a lovely couple of days.)