Game, Set, Match: How Gaming is Bringing Families Together During the Pandemic


Courtesy of Steam Powered

Games like Among Us have had an increase in popularity since quarantine began.

Faith DeSio, Photojournalist

Ever since March 13th, our lives have changed drastically. There are fewer things to do while being stuck at home. With restaurants and entertainment outlets being closed for so long, people have found a new escape during these unprecedented times. Video games, board games, and backyard games have become extremely popular over quarantine. 

Companies such as Innersloth, Devolver Digital, Riot Games, Activision, Nintendo, TheOatmeal, and Epic Games have been steadily growing in popularity during quarantine. Video games that can be played on Xbox, Playstation, PC, and Nintendo Switch are now a regular part of people’s routines all around the world. With people being stuck in their houses for so long, they have found that playing video games keeps them occupied, busy, and takes their mind off of what is going on in the world right now. These gaming outlets have helped people escape the boredom of quarantine, while still connecting with others in a safe way. 

At the start of the pandemic, when the stay at home order was announced, video games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Fortnite were a huge hit. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was in fact the top-selling game of the month, with 11.77 million units sold as of the end of March (VentureBeat)! Part of the reason why these games became even more popular is that players were able to talk and interact with each other through the online voice chat or text boxes. This lets friends and family members connect with each other without having to leave their homes. It allowed a safe option for “playing” with friends and allowed multiple people to join in digitally without the threat of COVID. 

Capitalizing on the success of online gaming, many new games emerged during this tumultuous time. In early September 2020, the game Among Us went viral. The company Innersloth launched this game on June 15th, 2018, but now the internet is raving about it. In fact, the game became so popular that the company dropped all of their other projects just to focus and work on Among Us (TheVerge).

The cross-platform game is a “murder mystery” adventure, with a maximum of ten players per lobby. Players are allowed to host games and invite friends by sending them the lobby’s six-digit code, enabling friends to play with them. One to three players can be assigned the “imposter” depending on what game mode is decided upon, and there are multiple maps to play on. The imposter’s goal is to win by eliminating other players and not having another player find out their identity. Users can report a dead body or call meetings, which then leads all the players to enter a virtual chat room where they can try and figure out who is the imposter. The lobby then has to decide what player to vote out of the game (InnerSloth). Olivia Ortiz (9), a Yorba Linda High School student who plays Among Us, says “I love to play Among Us with my siblings, it is something fun that we can all do together!” 

Although digital games have gained in popularity, board games and other family games have also been on the rise. Family games have become routine for some families during this pandemic and isolation. Families around the world have begun breaking out classic board games like Sorry, Life, Monopoly, Scrabble, Battleship, and Clue for some quality family time. Puzzles have also quickly become a family regular during quarantine. 

Backyard games including cornhole, horseshoes, ladder golf, and lawn darts are also making the rounds in home gaming. During quarantine, families have been utilizing their yards more, leading to an uptick in yard game sales. These games have families going outside more than they have in years, soaking up the sun and togetherness.

Although COVID has created many hardships and new social distancing expectations, it has also created the advantage of bringing families closer together. Bonding over games, the family dynamic has changed for the better during this time. So the next time you reach for your online gaming device or board game, remember to ask a family member to play with you; you’ll be making memories that will last a lifetime.