Every day during the pandemic, three students have met up on a version of campus they constructed on Minecraft.
Freshman Ian Ching and sophomores Justin Diamond and Sebastian Loredo said they use the gaming system to feel closer to each other and campus, creating everything from GW Deli to residence halls. The trio got the help of 70 other students after posting the project on Overheard at GW, and the group uses the app Discord to communicate about construction, which they said will wrap up in about three months.
“We were just sad that we weren’t on campus anymore,” Ching said.
Minecraft is one of several games students have picked up to pass the time or feel closer to friends while in quarantine. If you’re looking for something more to do, here’s a few throwback games that students have been playing since they left campus.
Sophomore Chris Pino said he picked up Animal Crossing New Horizons, the newest version of Animal Crossing that was released March 20. Pino said playing New Horizons takes him back to when he played the game with his friends growing up.
“It’s nostalgic and blissful to be able to relive the kind of experiences that I had as a kid, playing with my best friends in our town and going fishing on the Animal Crossing beach,” Pino said.
In Animal Crossing, time is synced with the player’s time zone and players control their character’s life on the island, building, developing and trading with other characters in the game. Time in the game passes as it does in reality, so the game mimics real life.
Pino said he normally logs three to five hours a day on the game, but it’s not just the “hardcore” fans like him that are getting invested in the game. He’s noticed his friends tally more than 125 hours on the game since they began playing.
“I know that this is something that is transcending the core fan base,” Pino said. “I know that it’s something that, I’m sure, is helping a lot of people cope with these difficult times.”
Sophomore Lexi Ordakowski has reconnected with Webkinz World, a virtual world in which users can register adoption codes from their Webkinz stuffed animals to create an online version of the animal. Users can feed and dress their pets and decorate their pet’s home on the website.
Ordakowski said she has more than 20 Webkinz from when she was a child, and she started reconnecting with the childhood game after noticing it gain traction on Twitter.
Webkinz World offers several online games for users to play with their pets. Ordakowski said her favorite game is Pizza Palace, in which the player needs to act quickly to serve pizza to a line of customers. The line becomes longer and more demanding as the player advances to higher levels.
“They’re the same games that were on there when I was little, so it’s not like anything’s dramatically changed, but I’m significantly better at them as an adult,” she said.
Super Smash Bros.
At GW, sophomore Gabriel Bras said he would play Smash alone. But when he returned home after the University moved classes online, he started playing with his brother like they did as children on their Wii.
“That’s been a cool update to a routine that I think has helped me out, helped me stay sane I think a little bit in the quarantine,” Bras said.
Ultimate, the newest edition to the Super Smash Bros. video game series, is a crossover fighting game in which each player attacks and weakens their opponents until one player is left standing. He said playing the game is like an “updated version of a childhood habit.”
“When I got older, it’s like I found a new game within the game,” Bras said. “I was prioritizing different things, and I was having fun with different aspects of the game.”
Bras added that he feels more “comforted” that Smash has taken up a bigger portion of his schedule because it’s something he would still play even if he weren’t in quarantine.
“Regardless of the nostalgia or whatever gratification I may get out of it, it’s just a fun experience,” Bras said. “And at the end of the day, I think that’s something that a lot of people gravitate toward during the quarantine.”