×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Games You Can Play To Feel Less Alone

There are times when it's nice to be alone. Sometimes people just need space to relax without having to be "on" all the time, to throw on their PJ pants, eat some pizza right out of the box and decompress. Too much time on your own can be stressful in its own way, however. It's all too easy for people to fall into the habit of isolating themselves in order to avoid the stresses of social interaction. Then, before they know it, loneliness creeps in and they find themselves craving the very attachments they were trying to avoid.

In some situations, gaming can make the problem worse. People might use it as a crutch to distract themselves from their loneliness without really making the feeling go away. Staying up till 3 AM wandering the wastelands in a solo campaign of "Fallout 4" probably never helped anyone make friends. That doesn't have to be the case, though. The right games can actually ebb those feelings of loneliness and even serve as a platform to meet new people or reconnect with old friends. Sometimes they can even be a gateway to an entirely new social circle. Here are a few kinds of games that might help players feel less alone.

Multiplayer action games

Players looking to dip their toes into the world of social gaming should try out a few action games with MMO elements. Sure, just about every first-person shooter has an online mode these days, but some are better than others. There can be a lot of competitive animosity in some titles, and games like "Call of Duty" have been known to attract a lot of downright toxic behavior. However, there are other games that use similar mechanics while fostering a more supportive communal environment.

"Destiny 2" might not have the player base it once did, but there's a reason so many gaming companies tried to emulate its design. Both games in the series offer cooperative and competitive modes, rewarding players for joining clans and providing a social hub where they can chat, compare gear and join each other's fireteams. It's low commitment socialization, as players can drop in for a few rounds without much pressure. "Fortnite," "Grand Theft Auto 5," and "Red Dead Redemption 2" all have thriving online communities as well.

Once a player has made few friends in the community, they might even try inviting them to play a campaign in co-op mode. The "Halo," "Left 4 Dead," and "Borderlands" franchises all have excellent cooperative gameplay modes that are great for working together towards a common goal.

MMORPGs

If players want a game designed around meeting new people and going on adventures together, then they need look no further than the world of MMORPGs. These games can be high-commitment, but they're also some of the best for forming new friendships online. There are plenty of stories about gamers who have trouble making social connections in real life forming genuine and lasting friendships by joining a guild online.

"World of Warcraft" was one of the first games to really take off with this concept and there are still plenty of reasons why it's worth playing now. It constantly receives new quality of life updates and it has one of the most vibrant communities on the internet. There are plenty of other MMORPGs for gamers to try out if "WoW" isn't their cup of tea, though. "Final Fantasy 14," "Star Wars: The Old Republic" and "New World" all offer their own fresh perspective on the format while maintaining the social elements that gamers come for. Most of them have free trials or else only charge for expansions, so gamers can always try out as many of them as they want and see which one is the best fit.

Communal Sims

Some gamers might be looking for a more relaxed gaming environment. They want the social aspects of MMO titles, but aren't necessarily interested in quests and raids. There are plenty of online simulation games that allow players to partake in a fun, interactive social environment without needing to drop hundreds of hours into maxing out a character level.

"Stardew Valley" and "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" are both cozy, low-stakes games that revolve around building up a community and visiting with friends. These games are great for players who want to sit down and destress, but also don't necessarily want to play alone. "Animal Crossing" allows players to visit each other's islands and "Stardew Valley" allows 1-4 players to share resources and work together to build up a thriving farm — although it's not a cross-platform title just yet.

"TableTop Simulator" is a great option for those who want to play tabletop games like "Dungeons and Dragons" or "Gloomhaven" with friends online. It provides a virtual gaming surface with plenty of dice, cards, minis, and various playing boards that can be used to simulate virtually any tabletop game. Gamers who've invested in a VR headset might enjoy meeting in the virtual space available in "VR Chat." According to its official website, there are over 25,000 community-created virtual worlds where players can explore, play fan-created games, and meet new people. In many ways, "Minecraft" could fit this category as well. Players can even make their own "Minecraft" server and invite friends to help them build their own world.

Walk-to-play AR games

Of course, there's only so much socializing that can be done through a headset and a monitor. Spending time with people online can be great, but there's really no substitute for actual human contact. Walk-to-play AR games can be a useful excuse for going out and spending time with friends. They can also be a great way to meet new people IRL.

"Pokémon Go" is easily the most popular of these. The game took the world by storm when it launched in 2016, garnering millions of players in just a few weeks. Many can still easily recall the roaming droves of players visiting checkpoints, challenging gyms, and attempting to "catch 'em all." The game lost a good chunk of its player base within the first few months, but updates have kept it relevant and there is still a loyal fanbase of players keeping the community alive. There are even special Community Day events once a month to encourage players to get out and play together for special bonuses.

No worries if "Pokémon" isn't your speed though. Minecraft: Earth" and "Pikmin: Bloom" are both great options, too.

Social Oriented RPGs

Loneliness is a personal experience. It might seem contrary, but sometimes people don't want to be around others, even when they're feeling their most alone. Sometimes it's easier to interact with fiction. Fortunately, there are several games out there with no multiplayer components that still emulate the sensation of being part of a community.

Bioware games are good at this. Whether it's "Dragon Age," "Mass Effect" or "Knights of the Old Republic," a common theme in the developer's formula is having the player put together a team and then giving them dialogue and questlines which allow the characters to develop a degree of trust with each other. Games in the "Fire Emblem" and "Persona" series do this, as well. These games allow the protagonist to actually get stronger by getting to know people in the world and growing their relationship with them. "Persona 5: Royal" has particularly well-written characters that bond over the various ways they don't generally fit in with society.

It might not be the same as a real-world connection, but there's value in engaging with fiction, too. It shows us that we're not alone in our feelings and can help restore faith in the value of community.