Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The virtual world for coping and socializing

The virtual realm has always been a part of my gaming life, ever since I basically discovered the bigger world of board games beyond Monopoly and war games. But it has gotten even bigger over the last few months of lockdowns and other restrictions.

Not because my online habits have changed. I have been steady in my Yucata habits for years. No, it is because some of my friends have either become much more active or active at all on Yucata. I’ve interacted with some folks more than I have in years. (They do live in other states so we have geography as an excuse for being out of touch)

And I have other friends who have started online game nights, facilitated by zoom. I have had some games facilitated by zoom as well, for that matter. The options that are open to us are vast compared to when I first logged on to BSW fifteen or more years ago.

That said, it took some time for my circle to start reforming into online patterns. Part of it was all of us just realizing that the world had turned upside down, that it was actually happening. And then, I think we needed to realize the need for it.

Online gaming as an alternative to face-to-face gaming is not the same and, quite frankly, not as good. In addition to losing the tactile element of physical gaming, you also lose a lot of the unspoken communication. And what remains is distorted. Studies have shown that digital conferencing with people’s faces effectively in your face is unsettling on a subconscious level.

Still, it definitely beats having no connections with each other, not to mention no gaming. And I do think it helps us adjust as the rest of the world keeps changing.

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