Are Online Board Games Here to Stay?
Gaming as a whole seems to be becoming more and more popular each year. During the recent lockdowns, online gaming has become a social band-aid, with people who were previously never involved with online gaming taking to the internet to play board games online with their friends and family.
During the lockdown, I enjoyed playing Catan Online for free with my friends. It’s a great way to catch up with friends and play less intense online games with more of a social aspect to it. After playing a few games it made me realize just how much our attitude towards gaming has changed over the years.
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Gaming is a Waste of Time
When I was growing up, gaming could be seen as a ‘waste of time’ and was generally not accepted by parents. Today, for those that are willing to put in the time, gaming can actually be a viable career option. Whether you are incredibly skilled and make your money through tournaments, or even through streaming your gameplay online.
With the rise of online gaming, playing games can also help people stay in touch with friends in the same way that people talk on messaging apps. The point here is that gaming has evolved to be both a social outlet as well as a career prospect, two things that no one could have predicted 20 years ago.
Gaming to Socialise
The days of couch co-op seemed to dissolve slowly over time in the gaming industry. Although there are still games you can play together locally, there has been a huge shift towards online gaming. A personal shift also occurred since leaving university when board game nights started to become more prevalent. A night revolving around games that required strategy, but also had an element of luck to them, allowing anyone to enjoy them.
I feel like this is a key point and relates to why video games were largely dismissed by parents when I was growing up. It is easy to write something off if you don’t understand it. It’s only when you take the time to understand the rules of a game that you can make any sort of educated judgment. Games like Monopoly and even Connect 4 are loved by many, partly because of their accessibility.
If you’re like me, sometimes the thought of putting time into something such as a new Netflix show? to find out that I don’t like it makes me rarely give shows a chance. This is extremely similar to how some people perceive technology. Last year if you would have told me I would be having a video call with my parents, I wouldn’t have believed you. Now I’m having more Zoom chats with my family every few weeks.
Playing Board Games Online
So how does this relate to playing board games online? The fact is, through lockdown, we have all adapted to a new way of living out of necessity. While we wish more than anything that some of these new rules would change, I think it’s fair to say that we have learned a lot:
Working From Home is Possible
The idea of working from home seemed ridiculous to me, I thought that it would require extreme focus and was a lifestyle only viable for a select few. I will admit that it definitely took some time for me to fully adjust, but now I feel more in control, with the added benefits of working in comfort and never relying on a bus to get me to work on time ever again!
Human Interaction is Vital
While it may be nice to get away from it all for a while, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that some sort of human interaction is essential for us to grow. I eventually found myself missing my workmates and just generally being around people. I really started to feel bad for anyone that lived alone during lockdown as I would find this soul-destroying.
Video Chats are Fun, Sometimes
As much as I enjoy talking to my friends and families over video chat, I did get a sense that it was slightly forced and that the dynamics of video chat are definitely different than meeting face-to-face. One thing I definitely had to get used to was that asking “what have you been up to?” never really had many responses that were too interesting, apart from the initial period of the first lockdown when everyone seemingly had a new hobby overnight.
Playing Board Games Online is Great Fun
After trying to organize video chats with my friends, I realized that having an activity would be much more fun than just having a conversation to occupy us. Since no one else had any other plans, I managed to convince a few technophobes to join on the fun as well! This is exactly the reason why I believe playing board games online is here to stay.
Hope for Online Board Games
After we return to relative normality and the restrictions ease, I believe we won’t simply go back to normal. Many workplaces will now allow their staff to work from home and I believe video chats and meetings will be here to stay. I also believe that everyone that took the leap and started to play online games with their friends will continue to do so. I, for one, have many friends that live too far away to meet up in person and see this becoming a regular occurrence.
By forcing those who would have otherwise never used their laptops for anything other than work to dig deeper into the online gaming world, I believe that gaming as a whole will continue to increase in popularity (maybe a slight dip as restrictions initially ease). I also believe that online board games will remain to be a level playing field, where people of all ages can get together, wherever they may be.