As people over the world practice self-quarantine and stay inside their homes to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, studies find that an increasing amount of these people are also turning to “life simulation” games to kill the time. How come?
Why People Are Playing Life Simulation Games
One such example is “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which is Nintendo’s newest offering and the latest addition to the franchise. Heralded as a game that couldn’t have come at a better time, AC encourages its players to build their dream getaway island, go fishing and make friends with the other inhabitants of the island, as well as do other mundane things like look for seashells, craft tools and even open an island museum. Another game that people are rediscovering because of the pandemic is “The Sims,” which is an open-ended video game that allows you to make a world and decide the fates of people in it, called as “sims.”
And as it turns out, there’s a good reason why people are turning to these games during times like this, and it goes beyond their relaxing and entertainment factor.
“We have difficulty getting [certain] needs met in real life, so we turn to virtual worlds,” said Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor at Stetson University that is currently researching the impact of video games on people’s lives, said.
According to him, these are the three reasons why:
They help keep us social
Besides communicating with in-game characters, most games today have online features that lets players communicate and interact with other players all over the world. One such example is the new “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” game, where up to eight players can “visit” the island, even live on it.
They help you be in control
Because things today feel like they’re in chaos, people take to video games in order to feel control and structure because what happens in a video game is up to the person playing it. Furthermore, the games also have rules that you can easily grasp and understand.
They’re an escape
Perhaps the best reason as to why people take to video games is because they’re an escape from reality, which truth be told, isn’t going all that great at the moment. When you play a game, for a few hours you’re no longer in quarantine, but a monster hunter for hire in a fantasy world, or a blue hedgehog speeding through the land, or an insect knight tasked to unravel the mystery of why this ancient kingdom fell, or in the case of AC, literally just a person on a permanent vacation on an island that an entrepreneur raccoon gave to you.