ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / DANTE SRILAPA – SENIOR EDITOR / DECEMBER 21, 2020 /
It’s been a rough year for us all. COVID-19 took the entire world by storm, and nothing has been the same since. On the surface level: businesses took a hit, personal lives got annihilated, and the entertainment biz nearly died. However, a lot of changes were brewing below the surface, and those changes manifested in strange but incredible ways.
First of all, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streamed herself playing Among Us with Corpse Husband, Disguised Toast, Valkyrae and co. When in history would you have ever seen politicians playing video games with internet personalities before this year? Never.
But 2020 made it happen. And in addition to AOC, there were many more non-gaming celebrities who breached the community and made themselves present. Logic, Jae Park of Day6, and Halsey (who broke Twitter by conversing with Corpse Husband) are included. But, why am I even talking about this? Because not only is it unprecedented, but it’s kinda important for the esports and gaming communities.
Let’s face it, video games have been marked as one of the lesser evils of society throughout the years. Violent video games have been blamed for the existence of troubled kids who act out violently, while video games in general have been blamed for poor educational performances from students for quite some time. Probably since their very first inception. In addition, esports have been taken more and more seriously as of late, but they weren’t always observed with any level of respect. Most esports communities were small and isolated from one another, even when those communities played the same games. Tournaments were played on a local basis, and only top players ended up playing at national tournaments, if they existed at all.
The existence of League of Legends, Call of Duty, CS:GO, Overwatch, and fighting games changed that. The evolution of the internet and the increased capacity to play games online attributed to the increasing observance and participation in said games. Esports became profitable. Rich folks started pooling millions into forming teams, and official esports team players started to actually look forward to making a living off of their skills. FaZe clan members specifically live lavishly at young ages, all by playing video games and promoting gaming related merchandise.
Though video games had already garnered their fair share of popularity, all lucrative businesses evolve to fit the needs of the populace. And the truth of the matter is, people don’t always want to play video games. Sometimes, they just want to watch someone else play. Whether this be for educational purposes, to become background noise, or to be a form of main entertainment in and of itself, video game streaming took off. And this is where we get to my point of this article.
COVID and 2020 have worked hand in hand to create a modern gaming environment where anyone and everyone can actually feel welcome. Nintendo has always pushed the idea that their video games were made for everyone, but most of their main titles were the same. Local Mario Kart, local Wii Sports, maybe the occasional Cooking Mama title. And on other consoles and platforms, you could play CoD or other multiplayer games. But for the most part, outsiders who looked in hardly ever took a second look. Gaming seemed niche, and kinda toxic to be honest. I’ll be the first to admit it. If someone’s first introduction to Call of Duty was watching me play, they would never want to play the game themselves. I scream my ass off and throw every profanity in the dictionary around like it’s my job. It’s daunting and definitely doesn’t feel welcoming to the average person.
But this is where the celebrities come in. Celebrities are famous for a reason. People love their work, and they love to observe their lives. Celebrities are constantly at the forefront of fashion and trend-setting. Activities that celebrities are seen doing suddenly boom in popularity soon after. So who better to get people comfortable than celebrities? Especially when we’re all stuck at home, looking for something to pass the time. With community friendly games like Among Us (which is also free to play on mobile), people are more inclined to give gaming a shot. When you hear that AOC is playing it with a bunch of popular streamers, it’s bound to grab your attention.
Additionally, studies have begun to show that video games may actually be more beneficial than previously believed. Studies have shown that video games can help improve social skills, team building, and problem solving starting at a young age. You can read a bit about that here.
When mental health is at risk and socializing has been murdered by a plague, it’s important to find ways to keep yourself happy and involved. The implications of social gaming have never been more important.
To sum this all up, video games aren’t something to be feared or deterred from. Of course you should play in moderation, but don’t shy away from playing either. Do what makes you happy, and maybe try doing it from the safety of your computer and a voice chat with some friends. If you’re not a gamer at all and still ended up reading this article somehow, drop your reservations. It’s not so bad being Among Us.
Yeah that was a horrible pun, I’m ending the article.
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