How I’ve Used Gaming To Improve My Lockdown

Nearing the one-year mark of the COVID-19 outbreak, I am reflecting back on how I changed over that year. It was hard for someone like me to make the change from their old lives and live alone after the lockdown order was passed. This difficult period has brought many challenges to my life. To overcome them, I have made an intense effort at focusing on my mental and physical well-being.

The pandemic has allowed me to learn how to be a better cook and a better mixologist (finally nailed that old fashioned recipe), but one of my goals going into the lockdown was to relearn guitar; I was pretty okay at it back in high school, and with some extra time to myself, I figured now was as good a time as any to dust off the ol’ axe. Apps and the internet gave me mixed results so I was excited to see Rocksmith 2014 on Xbox for just $4. Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate that the cable would cost another $30 and that I’d want a ton of DLC songs, but you know what? It’s a good deal considering the benefits and what an instructor would charge for interactive guitar lessons.

Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered

Although I am still in the beginning stages of learning new skills, I have been having fun plugging an electric guitar into my Xbox to play dumbed down versions of some songs. I missed the boat on Rocksmith the first time around, but I’m glad I jumped on board with this sale, as now when combined with my workouts and a recent habit of doing digital art on my iPad, I have yet another way to healthily channel whatever I’m mentally going through at the moment.

This was just one part of my road to self-sufficiency. I have tried to recreate the things I loved in my home, despite the fact that the rest of the world is closed down. While the café in the corner of my kitchen and the two gyms in my home get used daily, I really miss being social. My favorite activity during more risky times was going to an arcade bar to get tokens and have a drink. It allowed me to revisit some childhood arcade games. Although I support local businesses, I don’t like going indoors with people who aren’t interested in touching the stuff. So I started looking for ways to bring arcade experiences home.

Arcades are no longer as popular today as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. This is due to the fact that home consoles far outperform the technology of an arcade cabinet. This was demonstrated in how I traveled to and lost myself in the various locales of console games when I wasn’t able to in real life. Getting my hands on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S further enhanced my immersion in these worlds, and I can’t overstate how important the Switch, with games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, has been during this last year. There is something to be said for the design of the arcade cabinets. That’s why I turned to Arcade1Up, which sells officially licensed arcade cabinets, to help convert part of my basement into a stay-at-home arcade.

Over the last several months, I added a Mortal Kombat and an NBA Jam cabinet. While the NBA Jam cabinet contains NBA Jam, NBA Jam Tournament Edition and NBA Hangtime, the Mortal Kombat cabinet includes Mortal Kombat II and Ultimate Mortal Kombat III. Not only that, but I’ve pre-ordered the Capcom Legacy Edition cabinet, which includes a bunch of Street Fighter games plus other Capcom classics like 1943, Strider, and Darkstalkers, to round out my home arcade with some of my favorite arcade games of all time. The upcoming X-Men Arcade Cabinet, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet with Turtles in Time and the Arcade1Up dream announcement about the Simpsons arcade cabinet are all I have to now. While I am certain I will never have them all, the Area 51 arcade game machine is all I need to get me started.

As much as they might be a panacea, I know that video games can’t solve all my problems. I have also taken steps to improve my mental health and focus on gaming. When it isn’t too cold here in Minneapolis, I have taken the time to be away from my screens by taking walks, exercising, and meditation. I’ve also begun seeing a therapist virtually to help process the current reality we’re all sharing, the seemingly constant stream of tumultuous news we’ve experienced, and the whiplash-inducing shift in my personal and professional life over the last year and a half. Gaming has helped me and shaped my life in ways I can barely express, but making sure to take proper care of your mental and emotional health in more formal ways has become much more important.

It’s still a dream of mine to be able meet up with old friends at an arcade bar for a drink and some games. But now, I have the option to hold a similar event at my home. Oh, and also some Rock Band for good measure – I’ve been building that song library for a decade and a half now with the idea that I’d eventually have some parties with that thing. If all continues to go the way it’s been, I’m trying to come out of this pandemic with new cooking and drink-mixing skills, my own personal café corner, gym, arcade, a renewed ability to play guitar, a keener focus on mental health, and a particular appreciation of the life we all led prior to the last 12 months. While it’s been a frustrating year for me, there are some things I can do to make it better.

#Ive#Gaming #Improve #3 Lockdown