It Starts with a Square

Game Time

BY Regan Hewitt

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has shocked the world, and many parents are working from home. At the same time, their children are home too, and now, parents are being asked to simultaneously juggle remote, professional work with at-home, parenting responsibilities.

So, how are children spending their newfound free time at home? They’re playing video games. In recent weeks, Verizon has reported a 75% week-over-week increase in usage classified as “gaming.” 20 million people logged into Steam during this period – a record for the online storefront – and console manufacturers have reported several outages. Microsoft’s Xbox Live was recently down for some time, and Nintendo’s network has suffered as well.

Video games have become just as influential as movies and popular television shows. In 2018, Microsoft launched GamePass, a streaming model similar to Netflix, and Playstation is beginning to release details of the upcoming Playstation 5.

By now, you’re likely familiar with popular games like Fortnite and Call of Duty, but there are several, different, and perhaps more constructive games that your kids might enjoy playing while they’re at home. If they’ve asked you about these games, or in case you’re wondering which games are “cool” for them to play, we’ve compiled a short list.

It’s important to note that online interactions cannot be rated by us or anyone else. The games mentioned here are largely single player experiences, but if your children are playing games online, be sure to monitor how often and who they’re playing with online.

Here are some suggestions for a few video games that might afford you a break:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nintendo released Animal Crossing: New Horizons at the perfect time. Animal Crossing is a game that enables players to build and manage a town – or in this case, an island – of their own. It has become a welcome escape for many people all over the world, and if your family owns a Nintendo Switch, Animal Crossing is a great game to pass the time. There is always something to do in Animal Crossing – new villagers to meet or talk to, errands to run, and decisions to make. Some early reviews of the game shine a light on Nintendo’s latest first party title, and the company has even fast-forwarded the game’s release to accommodate demand – March 20, 2020. Animal Crossing: New Horizons does offer online functionality that cannot be rated by the ESRB, but the game is lighthearted and fun in almost any instance. You can purchase Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo’s digital storefront.

Minecraft

Minecraft was first released in 2009. A game about building a world of your own, Minecraft enables players to build whatever they want with basic shapes. Players are introduced to a world of blocks but are first tasked with mining to collect resources. As players mine for minerals and other building materials, they’ll uncover more valuable items and ways to play. Minecraft is a virtual playground. The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB and is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight is a weird name for a video game, but it’s a lot of fun. Indie Developer, Yacht Club Games, released the original Shovel Knight in 2014 to great success. Shovel Knight is a platformer, like Super Mario Bros., that tells the story of… Shovel Knight. Since the game’s original release, Yacht Club Games has released additional, follow-up content in the form of downloadable content, or DLC. The entire collection, titled Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove includes all content and is currently available on all current-generation hardware, including Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

At Christian Brothers High School, Brother Joel McGraw always taught us, “everything in moderation.” Video games are a good distraction for children during this time. They are created by artists from all over the world and stimulate original, creative ideas. Video games are a powerful medium, but they should not be the only thing that children do at home. Children should continue to learn, create, and exercise during this time!

Stay subscribed to Tour Collierville for more entertainment tips, and remember, everything in moderation!

July/August 2020 Tour Collierville Magazine