Stay at home. Play PlayStation. Protect the NHS

By Adam Bull, Consultant

At 9pm this evening, Sony are holding an online event to officially launch their latest games console, the PlayStation 5. The event was due to take place last week but, due to the focus on Black Lives Matter, Sony felt it would be inappropriate to hold the showcase.

The event, being promoted as “The Future of Gaming”, has a custom “Hashflag” on Twitter, and has been trending on my feed for the last 48 hours. People (myself included) are very excited. I am, in fact, far more excited than I thought I would be. Before I explain why, let me take you back 20 years.

Video games have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Growing up with three older brothers, I would sit and watch them play when I was too young to play the games myself. When my brothers played more complex games, I would sit with the guidebook (no internet to help then!) like a video game assistant, turning the pages as they progressed. I even chose to support my football team Bolton Wanderers because I was pretty useful with them on Fifa ’98 (This is probably the worst thing a game has ever done to me).

As time went on, and the technology improved dramatically, I could play games online with my mates after school. The game of choice was one most people reading this are probably familiar with on some level: Call of Duty, a first-person shooter. 

I played *a lot* of this game.

I wasn’t particularly great at it, and I have always preferred more adventure-based games to anything war related – but the game itself was almost irrelevant. It was the socialising with all my mates after school that drew me in completely. Why would I sit texting my friends, or talk to them over MSN, when we could do that whilst playing Call of Duty at the same time?

“Was there any maths homew… THERE’S A GUY TO YOUR LEFT! LEFT! Nice one… maths homework?”

And this brings me back to why I am particularly excited for hearing what Sony are going to announce later this evening. During lockdown, gaming with my mates again has kept me sane and social. 

Everyone has been on enough Zoom quizzes to last a lifetime, and sometimes it’s a bit awkward catching up with a mate who, like you, hasn’t been up to anything exciting. 

“Any news?”

“Nah, not really… You?”

“Nope”

But playing video games together is the perfect activity for just hanging out with your friends who could be five or 500 miles away. We chat about what we had for dinner, how their parents are doing, and tactics for the next game. Anything and everything. It’s filled the void left by not being able to play football together, or go to the pub.

Video games have always been a form of escapism for me and many others. At the moment, it’s nice being able to escape somewhere with my friends.