The Transition from Digital to Real Life

Mamata Elangovan

Staff Writer

     Humans seek social interaction. During the pandemic however, we have been completely barred from doing activities physically with one another. To make up for the lack of physical interaction, we have turned to online gaming and socializing. Whether it be general PvP games or world exploration, there lies the underlying factor of communicating with others.

     Current guidelines set by quarantine require for people to wear face masks and maintain a distance of six feet when outside. This can definitely get in the way of socialization. What better way to avoid problems like these rather than playing in a virtual world. Minecraft, Roblox, Fall Guys, Animal Crossing, the list goes on and on. 

     Quarantine has caused changes to social life. For some, it is more noticeable than others. In the case of Caden Kwon (10), he stated “In most senses, I think the hardest thing for me just has been not being able to be present with certain friends, like my church group, because it really requires that we be in a really close and intimate setting. It’s really not the same as most of my other friends, of course I miss them, but that’s more bearable. If we get to like talk over messenger or over the phone.” For some, not much has changed, as Ayush Madhukar (12) says “I definitely can meet with them, not often face to face or in person, and when we do, we need to follow guidelines. And, we don’t go into each other’s houses anymore, we use more public spaces. And in general just a lot more online mediums, such as more calling and texting.”

     One such app that has taken the place of interacting with one another is Among Us. A simple game resembling Mafia developed by InnerSloth. According to Kiarra Bautista (9), “It’s been trending lately, Among Us. It’s been roaring out through everything basically and Minecraft as well but mostly among us.” A game of teamwork, betrayal, and strategy, Among Us has been strangely popular with people at American. 

The start of Among Us where you wait in the lobby of a spaceship with your friends, or even strangers if the lobby is public.

     Before quarantine, when we were all still attending school in person, if the need arose to talk to someone or enjoy a few moments chatting, all that would be required would be to get up and find them. It is a little bit more complicated nowadays. For instance, Sumha Lakhani (11) mentioned that “we have group chats. So we’ll set it up beforehand, maybe like a day or two in advance, because we are all busy with school and stuff.” Some people like to have an organized schedule, others are a lot more spontaneous. When prompted the same question, Madhukar answered that “Someone normally just sets up a game and then more people join. It’s not really anything that we plan out.” 

     But like always, there are instances when no matter how little or how in-depth your planning is, it is just not possible to meet up with one another. Kwon, for instance, recalls that “I try to schedule ahead of time like, ‘Hey. I’m free these days if you want to do something with me, we can work something out.’ But the problem is most of my friends aren’t like that. They’ll just text in a DM ‘Okay. Playing Among Us,” and conveniently, it’s whenever I have a tutoring session to do or I’m working on a project or recording something.” 

     Finally, there is the issue of what platform to use while talking. With many options out there, it is all a matter of fact to finding the one that best suits you. An example being, Madhukar prefers using Discord or Google Hangouts while Lakhani normally uses Zoom. They all have their ups and downs, while Discord is free to use in general, Zoom can only be used in groups for long periods of time if you either use your school account or own a premium one. Sometimes, depending on the friend group, you may choose to change which app you are using at the moment, for Lakhani “If it’s with my older brother’s friends, they have Discord. So I use it. With my own friends, we normally use zoom.”

     In general, there are lots of ways to interact with people even with quarantine regulations in place. It is all a matter of finding what best suits your flow and experimenting with different apps until we can get a chance to meet up again in real life.

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