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Illustration by Lauren Adams | Assistant Art Director

Published August 15, 2022

Let’s Play: How video games help you build bonds with new friends in college

By Eli Feazell | For The Post

Everyone knows that making new friends is one of the most daunting tasks a college student faces. In an era where COVID-19 has affected how students interact with their peers in-person, finding companions in college is even more complicated than it was before.

Gaming is an ever-popular hobby in this day and age, and the rage does not appear to be going anywhere. With video games continuing to trend in news, entertainment and everyday lives, they serve as an excellent way to help you connect with new friends.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch is a classic example of how to spend your time with people you’ve just met in college

Let’s say that you, your roommate and a decent group of students in your residence hall all agree to hang out one night but don’t feel like going out. If just one person has access to a Switch and Ultimate, there’s your answer. Ultimate is easy to have fun with, even for those who rarely touch video games, and the fast-pacing and unpredictability of its many modes can make for exciting memories with your friends.

Of course, your availability of multiplayer games isn’t limited to Switch titles. Older consoles such as the Nintendo Wii have exclusive options such as Wii Sportsor Mario Party 8. Depending on what current systems you own and how many people are in your group, titles such Halo Infinite or Rocket League also provide split-screen options for in-person fun.

What’s so handy about multiplayer games is that if someone is unavailable to appear in person whether it be due to illness, travel or any reason at all, there are options to connect with their friends online for gaming sessions. Want to play Smite with your pals, but you’re all the way back in your home town for a weekend? Just join an online lobby with your friends, hop in a voice call via Discord or another voice over software to talk and play together like you’re in the same room. Not all consoles, games and services have the same fees and policies, but options exist regardless of how you prefer to play.

Multiplayer games are not the only way to build bonds with new friends. Playing through a video game’s campaign, whether it be through co-op where you work together with one or multiple fellow players against in-game enemies, or taking turns in a single player experience, can be just as fun as working with or against a friend in a multiplayer setting. Elden Ring is a recent example of how friends can play together to strategize and take down tricky artificial opponents together. Or, you and a group of friends can go through a game with a fascinating story together, such as Xenoblade Chronicleson the Wii and Switch, theorizing and reacting to the most remarkable narrative moments along the way.

Whether it be through multiplayer, co-op or watching a single person play, video games are an effective and memorable way to build relationships that start in college and hopefully last beyond your years here.

Eli Feazell is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Eli by tweeting them at @elifeaz

AUTHOR: Eli Feazell
EDITOR: Tate Raub
COPY EDITOR: Lauren Serge