2020 was a terrible year, countries in lockdown, the world scared and unknowing of what will happen, the only freedom I could find was gaming. Now, every single one of you reading this was affected but this pandemic, and we all have something in common. Whether you went to work or you were told to work from home…we all picked up a controller and played, escaping our harsh reality.
Now, I myself had to go into work, yet knowing that my friends were going to be online that night made all the difference to me. Being able to still connect and talk was a luxury I indulged in often, even if it was only for a couple of hours a night. With the UK in a lockdown, you couldn’t really pop to the shop to choose a game or a DVD. However, thanks to Sony and Microsoft they kept us very busy with deals galore.
Sony declared their play at home initiative, giving away Uncharted 1-3 and Journey for free during the initial outbreak of the C virus (for you Resi fans out there). These games were free last April through to May 5th 2020. Sony did this as a thank you to those social distancing and keeping safe, and what an absolute treat to play as well (me being the biggest uncharted fan).
As for Microsoft they launched their own campaign, not to rival Sony, but to also thank those social distancing and also do a little more. It was Stay at home and save lives; the title may sound like a demand, but it was to the point. You could play games, and if you were a part of Microsoft rewards, you could earn the rewards to then donate to foundations to help battle COVID and Microsoft would then match the donation, this was a great effort from the company.
Unfortunately, with game developers being forced to work from home, many games got delayed releases or in the worst cases, cancelled. This year was particularly hard on the indie developers as they lack the funding of AAA studios to survive a bad year.
While skype and zoom exist to aid us and them in work and social aspects, face-to-face meetings usually make collaborative work a lot smoother. Merchandising and advertising took a hit as well, yes, the internet already replaces most of it, but nothing will ever beat the feeling of walking through a town and seeing a poster for a new game to get you hyped.
Now as a fan who’s waited 4 years for Biomutant, I could wait a bit longer for other games, like Gotham Knights and Hogwarts legacy. But even though the pandemic did alter dates and annoy us fans it gave gamers a chance to compete in the massive Esports. While I have never played in Esports because I suck at Call of Duty and other competitive games, I have to say this took off better than ever as it helped people stay at their peak.
Animal crossing: new horizons, saw explosive play through 2020 as it is an ordinary life simulator, it is a game where you can do mundane chores, such as go to the shop, visit friends, and go fishing. Alternatively, you have Fall Guys and Among Us, which are fun and unique games which both saw more uptake because they both feature social aspects. What’s more fun than to accuse your friend of being sus and booting them into space during a global catastrophe!
I played Realm Royale, AKA chicken run, as it was known to my friends and me. A group of 4 dudes sitting at home playing a battle royale, hunting people and most importantly, just getting to play with friends.
Now i did dabble with the PS store every so often, as they had sales galore, I couldn’t believe the sales I was getting, £2.50 games? Don’t mind if i do!
2020 did really suck as a year but it didn’t stop the release of the Xbox series X and the Seto Kaiba looking PS5, now 9/10 months later they are still rarer than seeing the ghost of Stan Lee!
Overall, it looks like things are looking up! With cities looking less like Raccoon city and more like Empire Bay, hopefully this year will be the year. Unfortunately, we do have to wait a while longer for most games, but 2021 has enough to whet our whistle with the current line-up.
Some of the games we did get this pandemic, check them out.
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