The Games People Play (Because They’re Stuck at Home)

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down outside activity, confining people to their homes in self-isolation. Luckily, theater groups, performing artists, and movie outfits gave them something to do to ease the boredom by streaming past shows for free. But it looks like the champions of home entertainment during the lockdown are the game developers.

According to Statista, like-for-like video game sales and activity increased by 44% in March, when most countries were starting to implement shelter-at-home rules. Global sales volume of video games reached 4.3 million in the third week of March, garnering a 63% overall sales jump from the previous week-but experts are quick to note that this may have been triggered by a major game release. All these suggest a rise in video and mobile gaming during the pandemic.

Popular Games During the Pandemic

March was a chaotic month. It saw lots of changes in countries and cities in response to the pandemic. Americans were forced to stay home and find things to do to maximize their time, such as playing games. So, what reigned supreme in the gaming world? Here are the top three.

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – March was the month this game launched for Nintendo Switch. Since the Switch had been garnering high sales in the months leading up to the quarantine regulations, it’s no surprise that the game got the top spot in the most-played list of March to April, based on a report. This version is all about a “customizable character” who moved to a deserted island after buying a package from the Animal Crossing series’ popular tanuki mainstay, Tom Nook.
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – This art-mimicking-reality game features a CIA agent and a member of the British SAS forces working together to fight Russian forces that invaded a fictional country called Urzikstan. The game was released in October last year, but it continues to gain praise for its storyline, gameplay, and multiplayer missions. Its multiplatform design also allows you to play it on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
  3. MLB The Show 20 – The game was released in mid-March as well. This game is playable only on PS4 but, surprisingly, it was touted “the best sports video game of the year” in 2019 by contributing game reviewer Brian Mazique. For the 2020 release, Sony focused on improving character facial renders, textures, lighting, outdoor graphics, uniforms, equipment, and roster imports from previous versions.

Games People Continue to Love

Apart from these popular new releases, avid gamers of all ages continue to enjoy the older game products developed with the Unity game engine. Unity is a mobile game development platform that makes 2D and 3D images stand out. It’s cost-efficient and allows developers to create the game in multiple playing platforms. These games don’t cease to amaze and entertain:

  1. Hearthstone – This free-to-play digital card game was released by Blizzard with Unity development outsourcing, giving players optimal multiplatform experience. Play the game on PC, Mac, and Android and iOS devices. You may build a deck that will hold its own to Legend level or fun standard or off-meta decks. It’s one of the best games made with the Unity engine, opening up creative avenues for the newbie or veteran developer.
  2. Subnautica – Released in 2018 by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, this underwater adventure game still has a solid following from content creators and players. Explore the mysterious world of the depth with your own submarine in Xbox One, PS3, Windows, and MacOS.
  3. Cities: Skylines – Do you want to build the city you’ve always wanted to live in? What’s stopping you? With this game by Colossal Order, you can have great city-building graphics since SimCity 4. You can put your local political dreams in motion with complete control over your city’s infrastructure. Cities: Skylines continues to get updates and expansions today.
  4. Rust – One of the first multiplayer survival games, Rust has set the trend for subsequent survival games of its caliber. This intense, post-apocalyptic game from Facepunch Studios starts you with nothing but gets you to interact with other players to build your survival base. Beware of other groups of players who might be out to destroy you. Available on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One.
  5. Untitled Goose Game – Tired of being human (even in a game)? This stealth and puzzle game by House House sets you loose to be a pestering animal-a goose! This is fairly recent, released in September last year, but it hasn’t failed to bring fun to players. Imagine a goose, walking around a farm freely, fulfilling game objectives to annoy humans. You get the point? Get the kick you need by playing it on any platform you want.

Gaming is a fun way to spend time at home while you remain vigilant about the coronavirus situation. If you have family members or other household companions to play with, let game time be your bonding time. Try these games and more.

Isa Lillo


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