Gaming During the Pandemic Is Starting to Feel Like Work
On March 15, just days before Chicago would issue a shelter-in-place order in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Max Plenke decided to get really into Counter-Strike.
Recognizing that he was about to spend a lot of time stuck in his apartment, Plenke, a branded content editor, realized that there was probably no better time than now for him to jump back into one of the most competitive online shooters after nearly two decades of not playing. Over the past two months, he’s logged over 200 hours.
“There’s something weirdly comforting about it,” he tells me. “I can’t think about how desperately bad things are when there are teenagers who are about to ruin me.”
The Future of Movie Theaters Might Look a Lot Like an Apple Store
From the people who brought you the iPhone: a whole new theatrical experience
In early April, Lia Russell, a Bay Area labor reporter, dusted off the PS4 she had bought with her dad two years ago and started exploring a fading Wild West in Red Dead Redemption 2.
“If there’s a time in my life where I can justifiably sit on my butt and play games, it’s now,” Russell tells me.
We’re not playing video games to escape the daily grind anymore, we’re playing to recreate it.
Plenke and Russell are part of a surge of millions who are either returning or getting into video games as the world around them shuts down. And like other trendy quarantine-inspired activities — like baking sourdough or learning how to skateboard — gaming has taken on a small importance: providing a sense of productivity and routine that the pandemic, and economic recession, has thrown out.
After a day of struggling to get anything done at work, the ability to jump into a game and knock out some side quests, or rack up some wins isn’t so much a dopamine fix as it is a necessary salve. We’re not playing video games to escape the daily grind anymore, we’re playing to recreate it.