Gaming campaign getting people playing together while staying apart.

Video games can be social, even if you're alone. Photo by Alex Carmichael on Unsplash.
Video games can be social, even if you're alone. Photo by Alex Carmichael on Unsplash.

Video games have long suffered a poor reputation as an 'antisocial' activity.

However during social distancing, many people have turned to video games as a source of fun, and connection.

Games developer and PhD candidate at The University of Canberra Anna Tito says that video games provide goals and structure.

"Video games provide clear goals, and there are solvable even if they are challenging," she said.

"In a time where everything is melting down, you have this space where there are clear and defined goals."

"There's also an optimism in games. Even in darker horror games, no matter how difficult the game gets there is a way through."

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Video game companies and the World Health Organisation have banded together to create the #PlayingApartTogether campaign.

#PlayingApartTogether pushes for WHO's social distancing measures while also promoting virtual social activity.

The campaign endorses friends to playing games online, rather than meeting in person.

"One of the challenges with the term 'social distancing' is that it's not actually 'social' distancing that we need. We need 'physical' distancing'," Anna said.

A popular game during this crisis is Animal Crossing on Nintendo switch. The game allows players to build their own society on deserted island, and multiplayer functionality allows friends to visit each others island.

"Animal crossing is a really nice game," Anna said.

"In a world where everything is going a bit mad, and there is a lot of frustration, anger and fear going on, people are creating these spaces that are co-operative and peaceful."

"You can do productive work, you're building an island and you can share it with your friends. friends can come and visit your island."

Anna believes that this crisis might change the perception of video games.

"A whole wide range of people will get involved different aspects of games.It will become a much more a part the standard functioning of society."

"I think people will see that games are a facilitator for social interaction."

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This story Gaming campaign getting people playing together while staying apart first appeared on The Canberra Times.