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NoBo Nerds: Social Distance Gaming

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So, you have friends in NoBo that you see for game nights and guess what, now you and the friends you’ve made are stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is fine, online gaming has been a mainstay of social distancing for years. As many of you, I grew up playing video games, and continue to play them to this day. More recently, I’ve gotten into tabletop gaming.

Hiding Out

Back in the day, LAN parties ruled the day, but no more (I see you, GoldenEye). Gaming has gone online. No matter your preference, I’ve got you covered.

If you plan on chatting with your friends, investing in proper gaming headset is a must. Check here for some recommendations.

Need a place to chat in groups? Download Discord. This platform allows you to create or join rooms, chats and even live video chat!

But, when a troll or someone way younger that you is beating the pants off of you in a competitive match, practice self-care; turn off the audio. Trolls are everywhere, but most systems allow restricting your contacts to private or friends. That’s also important for privacy purposes for adult and especially children.


Online Video Gaming

Consoles

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch offer remote streaming for a fee. I’m in the PlayStation camp. Tell me there’s a better controller design out there than their DualShock. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I’ve been playing Borderlands 3, but I’m super excited about DOOM Eternal that released on Friday, 03-17-2020 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Both games are for mature audiences only.

Right now, PSPlus for Playstation 4 has a 14-day free trial and Nintendo Switch has a 7-day free trial.

Nintendo flexed their muscle and pushed DOOM Eternal a week due to Animal Crossing: New Horizons was also released Friday for the Switch and the kids are very excited about it from what I hear. If you need a laugh, do yourself a favor and check out the shared release day Animal Crossing / DOOM cartoon.

PROTIP: Combine console and mobile gaming with Jackbox! You need to download a game pack on your console, and then everyone in the room plays against each other using their mobile devices. You can even give out a code so people anywhere can watch and laugh along.

Computers

Steam is where it’s at. If you’ve not hear of it, Steam is the ultimate destination for playing, discussing, and creating games.

Steam provides compatibility for version of Windows, macOS, and Linux (SteamOS) but game selection will vary.

Gaming PC

Borderlands 3 (for mature audience only) just came out on Steam, and if you’re looking to occupy hours of your time, this is how. It’s also on sale for a limited time. How convenient.

Apparently, PlayStation has added PS gaming to PC, check out their PlayStation.Now for hundreds of PS4, PS3 and PS2 games. You will need a DualShock controller (ahem, the best).

Mobile Devices

Mobile devices these days are more powerful than the computer I used growing up. If you have IoS or Android, check their app stores for the latest games.

You would be surprised by the games offered now for your phone or tablet. One of my favorites is the Card Game, Hearthstone, based in the World of Warcraft.

You can even play one of the best RPG’s on mobile: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic!

There are also popular games like Mobile Legends, Lineage II: Revolution and Summoner’s War that you can play from your mobile device, or take that mobile experience to your computer using an emulator like Bluestacks.


Virtual Tabletop Gaming

Dungeons and Dragons (and their ilk)

Gaming Engine

Check out the Roll20 platform, that’s what I use. This free platform allows you to take your table top games to cyberspace. The engine is free to use for basic features. They also have subscription plans for additional content. The platform contains many virtual table top games running, not just DnD.

You can also use the audio within the platform to talk to your fellow players. Roll20 works best using Google Chrome. There are other competitors to Roll20, but I haven’t tested them myself.


Dice
Rules and Resources for DnD

Wizards of the Coast’s DnDBeyond has online source books, character sheets, campaigns and more. Basic accounts are free, but there are subscriptions that give access to additional content. Sign up with Google or Twitch. If you (or your Dungeon Master) has a subscription, your whole party can access their resources when you join their campaign.


Headset
Go Live

If you don’t use Roll20’s audio/chat functionality, there are a variety of options. I’ve also used Google Chat from Gmail or Google Meet. Other platforms include Discord, Skype and Slack.


Social Distancing while Gaming is Normal

Clock

Keeping up a routine while practicing social distancing is key. No matter what your routine is stick to it. And if that routine includes hours of gaming to keep boredom away, I’m all for it. Stay safe my friends.

Now it’s your turn! I know there are many, many more gaming options out there, tell me your favorites, and what games you’re looking forward to now that you have more time on your hands.

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Natalie @thelotuspeople

Natalie Roberson has been living in Bellevue, PA for over a decade and has seen the neighborhood evolve in the best ways. She is a Yoga Alliance registered instructor and credits her yoga practice with adding balance to her life in the tech industry. When not teaching or practicing yoga, you can find her working with data, knitting, reading, gaming, writing for the NoBo Neighbor or just hanging out her family which includes three small dogs. Natalie Roberson, E-RYT 200, RPYT, YACEP - https://thelotuspeople.com

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