According to Regan Mandryk, a University of Saskatchewan computer scientist, playing video games can improve your mental health during the pandemic since it connects people over a distance, and provides a sense of community. These factors are essential as it helps people recover from stress and anxiety brought about by the coronavirus.

Through the funding from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Mandryk studies the use of video games to assess, prevent, and treat anxiety and depression. Her team has discovered that gamers with social anxiety showed mental health benefits from playing a social genre of game as they connect more easily with others, and they feel more socially competent.

We have no control over what is going on in the world right now, and that’s causing people stress,” says Mandryk, “Right now as people are socially isolated, they are turning to games to self-manage their need for social contact. It’s about taking back control of our own well-being.”

“We know that socialization through games is really good for you. It can be quite meaningful for people,” she adds.

University of Saskatchewan computer scientist Regan Mandryk

For parents of kids — and I have two myself, an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old — allowing them to socialize through video games is a really good option.”, she further states. “If your kid is healthy and they’re not using games as a way to avoid all other types of leisure activities (like refusing to go outside), then you shouldn’t feel bad for letting them play games, even for a number of hours a day right now. If they’re playing them as part of a range of leisure activities that can be really healthy for them.”

Mandryk says social isolation is detrimental for everyone, and kids are missing out on authentic interactions with classmates and friends. So in this time of quarantine and isolation, playing games online is one solution to keep up both social interaction and one’s spirit. Check out the list below of current and upcoming titles that can enjoyed by both beginners or veteran gamers. 

  1. Minecraft– The game allows groups of eight players to meet online, explore vast blocky worlds and construct amazing buildings together. Just like playing with a digital Lego set, you can have your own fantasy adventure. 
  • Fortnite: Battle Royal– A favorite of teens, the game thrusts players on to an island and then lets them fight it out to see who survives to the end. But it’s not just about fighting, as you can have fun with your teammates by building forts, boats- and you can build your own levels.
  • Pokémon Go– This game entails walking outdoors, but at a time when we are required to stay home, the developers made sure you can still enjoy even if you’re stuck at home. There’s also the “go battle league” wherein you battle your Pokémon against others around the world. 
  • My Crypto Heroes– This dApp is an HTML5 game featuring blockchain technology. It is a quick and casual worker-placement RPG where players can collect and train historical heroes of the world, get special legendary items, compose unbeatable team formations, and challenge epic battles to conquer the crypto world.
  • CryptoKitties– Another dApp to checkout because the game is centered on breedable, collectible, and oh-so-adorable creatures called CryptoKitties! Each cat is one-of-a-kind and is 100 % owned by the player, hence it cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed.
  • The Sandbox– Entitled as such, it allows the user the freedom to create whatever they wish- commonly referred to in video games as “sandbox mode”. The player takes the role of “deity apprentice” where he can craft his own universe through resources such as water, soil, sand, and many more. Players encounter tasks like using water and dirt to make mud, but most importantly, players can save the worlds they have created and upload them to a public gallery.
  • COBA– This up and coming dApp has a lot of gamers excited because players are paid to win. It is a reward based 5v5 MOBA- just like League of Legends and DOTA. Some of the main heroes are already for sale at Opensea, and the developers are regularly providing updates on the progress which makes it more thrilling.  


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