Finding a new way for social interaction during COVID-19

By Arif Gamon

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are required by the government to stay indoors at all times, thus avoiding potential social interactions with others that could lead to face to face communication. Before we could realise it, man’s important function as a social being to interact in a meaningful way, has been put to test due to the pandemic. 

Owing to the expeditious development of technology, Man has opted to utilise digital forms of interaction. We can see online classes and online meetings conducted via Zoom or Google hangouts are hitting the news as preferable alternatives to contemporary problems.

People have rightly chosen creative ways to kill their boredom and boost up their creativity through making TikTok videos, making themselves a self-proclaimed director or video calling their friends via Skype/WhatsApp etc.

But what if I were to tell you that there is another creative solution that may perk up your online interaction!

Yes, this whole article is basically about a game, but try to hear me out. In case you are new to gaming or may not be familiar with it, the Call of Duty franchise is a first-person shooting game that had several huge successes over the years (such as Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops), and it has now brought its way to the mobile platform.

Call of Duty franchise throughout the years

Initially, it was released in the U.S back in October 2019, and it has gained the attention of the public due to easy access to playing the game that was once “Pay-to-play”. In addition to that, it is specifically designed to have features that were introduced in its earlier franchises such as its fast-paced multiplayer games and Battle Royale. These features have allowed users to choose what game modes fit their playing styles. 

My experience with the game so far

Despite being released earlier, it took me a few months after its release before getting hooked up on the game itself. I was never into gaming as I grew up with a strict household and it took me 20 years of my life to finally attach myself to a game. 

It all started when I saw a friend of mine fully immersed in his game when I personally asked him what he was doing, and it led me to try out something new. I was initially sceptical about the whole concept of gaming as I was raised to believe gaming would not benefit me in anything. But it was probably one of the best decisions I had made so far.

Through my experience of playing this game, I have met, played and interacted with a lot of players. Thanks to the special built-in features of online voice chat that allow real-time interaction. It allows me to be able to interact with my team while playing. 

Along the way, it just happened some of them were actually my seniors in IIUM where we would spend sleepless nights grinding this game. The voice chat just makes things as if we are not too far away from each other.   

My senior from university goofing around when the game was tense.

If  I were to recall one of the memorable moments while playing, it was a few weeks ago during the first phase of the MCO (Movement Control Order)  that had been initially announced. I decided to explore what the game could offer me during this pandemic.

I thought it is best if I were to go for a game of Battle Royale. A 20-30 minute action-packed game mode where 100 players divided to a team of 4 fighting against each other for the number 1 spot and climbing the ranks as a legendary player.

It just happened I was randomly put into a team of Malaysian players and little did I know it was more than helping each other to win the game. Game after game, we spent hours conversing about various topics, familiarising each other with each other’s lives, cultures and stories that made it seem like we have known each other for quite a long time despite playing together for a few hours. 

I never knew a game could become more or less a bonding session between one another where we would converse about random topics like studies, life and other topics that helped us escape from the tough reality we are currently facing. 

As this month marks the 5th month since I downloaded the game, I am proud to say that making new friends across Malaysia and the rest of South-East Asia has become effortless.

My senior chilling in a helicopter before taking off.

In my humble opinion, this game is more to it than what it is known for, apart from playing and grinding your way up the ranks. This game has personally taught me that social interaction is within the snap of the finger, and there are numerous creative ways on how we can make use of something to its utmost potential. 

The game is available on Google Playstore and Apple Store. ***

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