If you’ve gotten into video gaming over the past year, you’re not the only one. The Covid-19 Pandemic kept a lot of us indoors, and many turned to new (and safe) hobbies to maintain proper social distance. Families, friends and new acquaintances have spent the past year connecting over new missions, exciting adventures and explorations of new worlds—and by the looks of it, the gaming industry is only growing.
The Modern Gamer
While you might think that only teenagers are hoping online to play, the data shows differently. In a recent survey, roughly 37 percent of gamers fall into the Gen X age range, followed by Millennials and Boomers, at 30 percent and 14 percent respectively. Surprised? Preconceived notions of who is and could be gaming are often inaccurate and can sometimes create a barrier to entry. If you’ve held back from playing online because of your age, let the data give you a little confidence that there are plenty of people out there like you (and they might even join you for a team game).
Gaming and Covid-19
In the United States alone, the Pandemic played a large role in the overall 45 percent increase in gaming. With the combination of new console and title releases, gaming became the perfect tool to connect with friends and stay inside. Over time, it’s become somewhat of a social lifeline—many of the recent popular releases offer co-op modes, where friends can work together to complete missions or compete in the same open arena. Gaming became the perfect social event that you could attend without leaving your house.
Top Video Games in 2020
Over the course of the year, a lot of old titles were re-released, and new games came onto the scene. Of those, ten titles stood out above the rest:
- Hades: In an attempt by Zeus to escape the Underworld, players wander through an artistically crafted and complex journey, moving from fight to fight, gaining support from the Pantheon.
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales: Taking inspiration from the movie, this game boasts incredible graphics, action-packed challenges and a storyline that will have your spider senses tingling.
- Last of Us Part II: In the second installment of the series, players act as the character “Ellie,” navigating a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies.
- Among Us: A crowd favorite from (seemingly) left field, Among Us became an instant “Murder Mystery” classic game. It even attracted some of the top global streamers and a couple United States congressmen!
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons: The release of Nintendo’s newest Animal Crossing came at the perfect time. As we all settled into our new Covid routines in 2020, many picked up their Nintendo Switch to build custom islands and welcome new villagers to their world.
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps: As the sequel to Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest, players embark on a touching and thrilling reunification quest between Ori and his little owl.
- Call of Duty: Warzone: This version of Call of Duty was made for everyone. How do we know? It didn’t have a price tag. As a free companion to the larger Call of Duty release, entered into the Battle Royale space to compete with other titles like Apex Legends or Fortnite.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator: Ever wondered what it’s like to fly an airplane? With over 40 years of use, the Microsoft Flight Simulator has been a favorite of pilots and non-pilots alike to see what’s really above the clouds.
- Fall Guys: At the crossroads of party games and battle royale comes an energetic, fast-paced title that gamers of all ages can enjoy.
- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2: As the ultimate throwback, this remake brought back fond memories for those who grew up on video games (and were big Tony Hawk fans).
If nothing else, 2020 proved that not just everyone can game, but that there’s a game for everyone out there! This diversity in game styles and types will help continue to build momentum for a growing audience.
Tips for New Gamers
If you’re brand new to gaming and aren’t sure how to get started, it’s okay. Especially if you have a couple seasoned professionals in your life, it can be intimidating to start. Here are a few quick tips that can help you out:
- Explore different consoles: If you’re not comfortable on an Xbox or PS4 console, have you considered trying a Nintendo Switch? The portable and simplified nature of the gaming system might be the perfect fit. If you’re better on a computer, start with PC game titles.
- Test a variety of game genres: Just because a game is popular, doesn’t mean it’s right for you! If first-person shooter games give you anxiety, try a brain-games or puzzle-solving video game series instead.
- Invest in the right equipment early: While you don’t need to have a full gamer setup, make sure that you’re gaming in a place where you’re not straining your body or eyes when playing. Take care of yourself as you pick up this new hobby; just like with any other sport or activity, too much of a good thing can wear you out!
- Play with friends you trust: If you’re scared to dive in on your own, why not run a few games with your friends? Many games offer free play or unranked modes that are perfect for practice.
- Play games you already know in a virtual space: Okay, so maybe you’ve never played Fortnite. That’s okay! Take what you know and find that game in the virtual universe. For example, if you love playing poker, try a round of online poker to start. Once you feel comfortable in that area, try something new. In no time, you’ll be a gaming professional!
Just remember, gaming is for everyone, and it’s here to stay! If you’re new to the scene (like many others from this past year), it’s okay to not feel completely comfortable at first. Take your time and game with people you enjoy hanging out with, even if it’s just virtually. No matter the outcome, you’ll have great memories to rely on and a new hobby to keep up.