Keeping friendships by playing video games

Illustration by Blake Fernandez 

Video games have become mainstream in the past decade. With advancements in consoles and online servers that can support millions, it is an easy way for friends to spend time together in the safety of their bedrooms. With the gaming technology in a constant state of advancement, friends and family are now able to connect to online servers and players can use microphone headsets to communicate while streaming online games.

Game developers have enlarged the industry to a point where they appeal to all types of people. This makes it possible for anyone to find a game they enjoy and it gives them the ability to play with their friends. 

Online gaming has kept friendships alive during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people indoors, gaming has become a new regular for many.

All that’s required are a Wi-Fi connection, console or PC and a headset. Although some games are free to play, many consoles charge a fee each month to use their online service. TechRadar listed three of the most popular free games of 2020 as Fortnite Battle Royale, Dota 2 and PlanetSide 2.

Senior Nico Bohland is a  competitive gamer who has been gaming more often during the pandemic. 

“I have been gaming since 2007, playing mostly Call of Duty and FIFA,” Bohland said. “I’ve made better friends on Call of Duty than I have in real life. We ended up going on a trip together and became even closer.”

Bohland said his gaming time had increased from one to two hours a day to six or seven during the pandemic. He said he primarily uses his PC for aimbots, which make target acquisition effortless in shooter games, and his PlayStation 4 for competitive tournaments. 

Spencer Smith is a gamer who uses various consoles on the market. 

“I try to play video games with my friends more often than when I play alone,” Smith said. “Primarily, I use a PlayStation 4 due to the game variety that appeals to me. However, I can’t say that I do not use an Xbox.”

Kyle Klein is a sophomore and part-time gamer of six years. Klein said online games have kept his friendships. 

“Online games allow me to socialize with my friends who live farther away from me, and they allow me to share something in common with them,” Klein said. 

Klein said he plays online games with his friends, for the most part. He said it is more fun for him to socialize and play online where they can all catch up together about their lives. 

Video games have provided a safe alternative for socializing during the pandemic. With  advancements in the gaming industry and the release of the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 this holiday season, it will be interesting to see what technologies will step up their game in 2021.