Thursday, June 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Lockdown Gamer and Proud

My fondness for games dates all the way back to my 6th birthday, when my mum bought me Hungry Hungry Hippos and unleashed my inner competitive demon. It wasn’t until a few years later, when Monopoly was introduced, that my parents realised their mistake.

While I have continued to play games into my adult life, other things in my life took priority; GCSEs, then A-levels, then University. This was until, on March 11th, Boris shut down the country, I was flung back home, and told all my exams would be open book and online. Suddenly, my overly tedious revision timetable was wasted, leftover lectures in term 2 disappeared, and I was left feeling as though my life had been pulled out from underneath me.

Lockdown was a strange time. Whilst I was happy to get an extra-long holiday (especially with the godly weather we had this summer) I hated feeling as though I had nothing to do. Pubs were shut, and there is only so much day drinking you can do before you start questioning if you’re not just an alcoholic! 

Rediscovering Fallout 4 was, genuinely, the best thing to happen to me during lockdown. The nostalgia of booting up the game, running for Vault 111, and beginning my time in the sandbox wasteland was nearly overwhelming. Hours I sat in front of the TV, eagerly chasing down pointless missions, only to start even more pointless missions. Not siding with a faction until the last possible moment, so I could get as much of a completionist run as possible. And then, when I did finally finish, starting all over again, siding with a new faction and seeing how that ending would turn out. 

The biggest thing Fallout did for me, was allow me to escape what was happening out in the real world. I didn’t have to worry about the COVID-19 pandemic happening literally outside my door, instead I would spend hours trying to decide if I should kill Paladin Danse or not (little inside joke for any of you Fallout fans out there).

So, if you find yourself lost in stress, or feeling like you lack direction, sometimes escaping into a game is the best way to relax and detox. The coming year is going to be filled with lots of ups and downs, so just remember to take some time for yourself, escape life every once in a while, and always save Paladin Danse.

Ellie Matthews