Gaming in Lockdown… my take (I guess)

I started out writing about video games while at university, after years spent trawling gaming forums, importing Japanese games and consuming numerous video games magazines I began writing games reviews around late 2004 early 2005ish. Throughout the rest of my university years, I wrote for a number of gaming sites (most of which are long obsolete). But I didn’t stop there, a bit of a career (around other roles) in the industry followed from working in PR, where I worked with the likes of Square Enix on Final Fantasy XIII, Tomb Raider and more to as a News Writer and then to one of the best magazines of its time, GamesTM. After that I moved into marketing, or rather back to before coming to The Star late last year.

Lockdown changed everything for so many of us, personally I was just rediscovering a city I had left 16 years prior and then all of a sudden I wasn’t. Video games and daily running became a mainstay in my life as lockdown living commenced, specifically Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (after a brief flirtation with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, recommended escape fodder by the way). Six of us used to squad up (sic) daily, as we worked together to work our way through the Battle Pass tiers. I clocked up a fairly rudimentary (in comparison to others) 140+ hours in a couple of months, alongside brief forays into other games. State of Decay 2 was also a laugh, incredibly buggy, but a laugh. But everything seemed to be a palette cleanser (of sorts) until the inevitable return to COD.

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One of the many times my team lost... but it's just a game, so what the hey *shrug emoji*
One of the many times my team lost… but it’s just a game, so what the hey *shrug emoji*

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came out later in the year and some of us switched to that but it was short-lived and the collective sessions swiftly died out, and then the Xbox Series X came out. I was one of those fortunate enough to get my hands on one, one of the guys went over to the PS5 (heathen) and we had one last go on Black Ops before ditching it and shifting over to Destiny 2.

Four of us have recently shifted over to The Division 2 after its next-gen (or rather ‘current-gen’) update, and we’re enjoying that quite a bit. Sure pubs, clubs and restaurants are closed, which is a shame (understatement of the year, I know), but when it’s safe we’ll go back out there and meet up once again in the real world… as well as online.

It’s easy to give video games a bad rap because of perceived addiction (which comes with any form of entertainment activity or drink/drugs related proclivity), lack of social interaction, and the preconception that games are just a kids domain. It’s clear that it isn’t, it hasn’t been for the longest time and long after this godforsaken pandemic shuffles off this mortal coil, we’ll still be gaming, enjoying ourselves and harming nobody. Squad up!

One more thing before I go though… let’s talk about ‘scalpers’

Modern Warfare

The release of the new consoles particularly in the midst of Covid has taken on a completely different guise this time around, as with every release you have people bulk buying all of the consoles that they can to charge a higher price to desperate people. We call these folks scalpers and a few other words besides. I get it, supply and demand etc. But we’re in the strangest of times whereby people are trying their best to balance both their dwindling or non-existent incomes (in many cases) and their mental health at the same time as being forced to socially isolate from the world.

In times like this, videogames are a great interactive portal into another world, just like movies, music and literature can provide the best of escapes depending on your choice of intake. So, when you see the stories about people running bots to buy up all the available stock, only to flip the console for two or even three times the price, it’s hard not to feel aggrandised, it’s exploitative — which is sadly evident in all walks of life. But that doesn’t make it right or fair. However, if this pandemic has taught us anything… it’s that life just doesn’t seem fair for so many right now.

In a few months these consoles will be available easily for the price they should be sold at. I’d recommend waiting, as the console you may have now is more than good enough and it’s not like there’s a dearth of games being released that justifies the latest console with all of the bells and whistles. That may seem a bit rich coming from me… but it’s about perspective. Don’t stress yourself out over what is essentially ‘stuff’. It’ll come, don’t give into the scalpers demands and just wait it out, or you’ll encourage them to keep gouging other folks further.


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