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Changing perspectives: gaming for good

There’s always a lot in the news, and social media especially, about looking after your wellbeing. Especially during the recent (and hopefully not to be repeated) lockdown, emotional wellbeing was even more important for those who were shielding or lived alone and weren’t getting the same interaction with others that they are used to.

For me, lockdown saw me moving closer to my parents, which was a good thing. I know many people weren’t so lucky. And while I lived alone, I had my mum and dad not too far away and a group of friends who helped me through. Many of these friends I know from the virtual world and while in the past spending time playing video games may have been seen in a slightly poor light, for many – including me – in lockdown, gaming was a much-needed lifeline.

I’ve always been into gaming. My love of video games started back in 1999. It was Christmas and I hoped so much that the big box under the tree was a Sega Mega Drive 2 for me and my sister. We were never a terribly wealthy family when I was a kid, so this was a HUGE surprise for us. From the moment it was plugged in, I was hooked. However, only having one TV in the house meant play time was limited and never taken for granted. That being said it wasn’t long before characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Cool Spot quickly became familiar figures in our household, with the whole family hankering for a ‘go’.

Being a 90s kid, I feel very lucky to have grown up alongside the video game industry. Seeing the different platforms evolve, as well as the franchises, stories and characters they host,

I have always compared video games to books. It may sound strange, but bear with me. When reading a book, you find yourself in the mind of the author or the character, turning each page to see how the story pans out. In a video game, you actually are the character. You make the choices that determine how your story will unfold, with each new mission developing the story further.

During lockdown I was forever grateful for my love of video games. Being young and living alone, I knew I’d find it tough not being able to see friends, finding myself a bit isolated and out of sorts like so many others. But being able to grab a controller and play online with my friends or lose myself in an open-world game kept me busy, my mind focussed and opened up the four walls of my home to near-endless possibilities.

My friendships have become stronger due to the support online during those times and I have created some great memories just from sitting in front of the TV, controller in hand, headset on, talking to people; communicating and looking after my own wellbeing.

For these reasons I hope the stigma around video gaming changes. I want people to see it as more than the stereotypical 15-year-old boy, hunched in front of a screen in his room at 4am, shouting at a game.

Nowadays, a video game is so much more than just a video game. It’s the chance to escape reality, step into the shoes of someone else and have a go at carving your own story. So be kind to people who might otherwise simply be labelled as geeks or gamers – communication comes in many forms in the 21st Century and the evolution of gaming is simply one more platform that connects people.

At Kava we’re all about communication and chatting things through on the platform or medium of our clients’ choice. If you want to speak to us, we’re on the end of the phone. If social is your thing, DMs are open. And if you prefer, you can find me in the Red Dead Redemption saloon for a chat through your communications needs.