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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, video games can offer escape and connection

Michelle Jalbert, The Hartford Courant on

Published in Health & Fitness

Even as we enter a third month of COVID-19 lockdown, the pandemic seems to be all around us.

The coronavirus crisis isn't only on the TV screen or on the front page of your newspaper. It's there when you open Facebook or Twitter. It's the subject of countless texts, calls and video chats between worried family, friends and coworkers.

It's at the grocery stores, where masked customers hunt for toilet paper and hand soap, and at the hiking trails, where walkers and runners guesstimate six feet distances. It's in the empty places where we all used to go.

One place where it's not, and where I encourage you to explore, is video games.

You don't have to be an avid gamer or even own a video game console to enter these vibrant and immersive worlds.

If you're brand new to it, that's even better. Jumping into a new, challenging hobby is a great way to prevent boredom.

 

My 60-year-old mother did it, and she has never held a video game controller in her life other than to ask, "what does this remote go to?"

Together in quarantine, we ventured through my once-deserted island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, catching multicolored butterflies and scooping fish out of winding rivers.

I think she had the most fun hitting my character with a bug net and stealing the resources I needed to build furniture for my newly-crafted house.

ACNH, the new Nintendo Switch game that debuted on March 20, has quickly become a sensation -- and also a way to escape while connecting with others.

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