How to Stay Gaming During Coronavirus Isolation

March 20, 2020
By: Sal Rawdat

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many stresses on our society.  Businesses are closed, travelers are stranded, and people are stuck in either quarantine or self isolation.  My new wife and I just got back to Canada from our (very well timed) honeymoon only to be told we had to go into self isolation for 14 days.  

Unfortunately staying at one of our parents’ homes was not an option because her grandparents live with her and my parents are in the vulnerable sector of the population.  We really had no choice but to shack up in a cheap motel and monitor our symptoms for 14 days.  The bright side, however, was that we were permitted one brief but critical socially distant visit from each of our parents to drop off stuff to hold us over.  She naturally requested the unimportant things like soap, clean clothes, and hygienic products.  I, being the shrewd and savvy survivalist, requested only the essentials: my Nintendo Switch, PS4, and a couple of games.

I thought that once the goods had been dropped off it would be smooth sailing.  I was wrong.  Unbeknowst to me, the hotel TV did not allow for direct access to the HDMI input through the remote control and there were no buttons on the TV to select a media input.  It took a little research to find that there was a very small toggle button under the LG logo that would allow for a manual switching of the source input.  After playing around with it and realizing it didn’t work as easily as imagined, I also discovered there was a seperate box hooked up to the TV that would prevent dedicated gamers from manually switching the HDMI input.  Needless to say, that box was quickly removed.  The third, final, and most important challenge proved to be connecting the PS4 to the hotel internet.  Again hotel protocol had implemented roadblocks to stop gamers but I have already gone too far to admit defeat.  A quick work around involving accessing a site through the PS4 browser ended a grueling but successful campaign: I could now play with others online through the comfort of coronavirus quarantine.

As an avid soccer fan and player, FIFA 20 was first on the list.  Champions League play was another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic and I naturally wanted to fill the gaping void left by its absence.  I proceeded to merge my passions for soccer, gaming, and research by simulating the outstanding Champions League fixtures with different levels of computer difficulty (Legendary-Semi Pro-Beginner).  I tried to get them as close to real as possible by selecting the proper home and away teams, but EA does not have licenses for some stadiums.  Needless to say, there was a very noticeable difference between the levels not only in how the teams played but also the finer details such as ball movement, decision making, and shooting.  The concept of AI in gaming definitely warrants further research and our team looks forward to seeing Messi miss more empty netters.

As any FIFA player will tell you though, the real goal is to get playing online.  Naturally the FanBattle team was ready to rise through the ranks with our updated Pro players.  A quick look at the open competitions showed the No Rules Cup was still active.  This tournament is every anarchist's dream; anything goes.  No fouls, cards, or offsides.  We adjusted our strategy to play longball with a potent finisher up top and worked hard to get to the quarterfinals.  We soon realized, however, that there were teams out there with more experience playing dirty, ugly soccer.  Our cup dreams quickly transitioned to online league play, for which we are actively recruiting any and all players who are stuck at home during these trying times.