Students turn to video games to connect with friends


Leland Culver

With more people forced to stay at home, many students connect with their friends through video games.

Nikhil Patel, Editor-In-Chief

If you polled a dozen Lab kids a couple months ago as to the best way to hang out with their friends, very few of them would probably consider video games at the top of the list. But with the new normal, students forced to spend far more time indoors and isolated from their friends are increasingly turning to video games as a way to connect with their friends. 

Senior Eleanor Skish has turned to games like Animal Crossing and Minecraft in some of her spare time to focus herself on a task. 

“I’ve just been playing Minecraft and Animal Crossing,” Eleanor said. “They help me feel both productive and relaxed during this time.”

Sophomore Benny Wild has also taken to multiplayer games like Minecraft as well to connect with his friends and found themselves reconnecting with games they played in the past. To him, the connection can be a lot more genuine through multiplayer games. 

“It’s strange — although the stigma is that video games are this strange loner activity, I’ve had more genuine and, like, entertaining times with my friends than I’ve ever had,” Benny said. “It’s opened up so many avenues where I can just interact and enjoy my friends companionship outside of the more scripted, closed off interactions at school.”

Eleanor echoed a similar sentiment, saying that conversations over games are different than the normal. 

“I’m able to ‘move around’ and interact with other people that I know or don’t know in a way that’s hard to right now,” Eleanor said. “I’ve felt like a lot of conversations these days just kinda go ‘How are you’ and ‘I’m good,’ and playing these types of games allows you to interact with people in a different way.”

Playing video games with friends not only helps to connect students, but also strengthen the bonds between them. Senior Danesh Patel, who plays first-person shooters like Counter-Strike alongside flash games like and Quiplash, says that team-based games help him talk with his friends in a different way.

“Through team-based games, you can create a permanent team with your friends, develop strategies together, and, of course, play together,” Danesh said. “I have found these games to be very helpful for connecting with friends during isolation since you can bond with your friends through playing together, filling a role similar to sports.”

Danesh also explained that video games are a very low-commitment and relaxed way to interact with friends, as opposed to the structured Zoom and Google Hangouts that make up the school day.

“I just have to go to my computer, and I’m ready to go. Even when my schedule gets busy, I can often find time for a quick gaming session with friends,” Danesh continued. “It’s a very enjoyable activity, so it’s easy to get hooked on gaming.”

From first-person shooters to survival games to social simulations, people play all kinds of games — but they all agree that their major draw is personal connection. Junior Julian Mondragon, who’s been playing two to three hours of a first-person shooter titled Valorant with friends, emphasized this as the biggest selling point. 

Julian said, “I would play any game as long as I’m having fun with friends.”