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Finding Community in Games While Social Distancing

As we all take steps to protect ourselves and loved ones from the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be very dispiriting. Cutting ourselves off from our fellow human beings through social distancing and self-isolation makes us safer, but we still need to find connection with people in order to be healthy and happy. Thankfully, we can still connect in the digital space with our friends and family for fun and comfort.

Extra Life United: Online Edition

Firstly, we hope you can join Extra Life United: Online Edition, our free virtual gaming tournament running April 7-9, 2020. Compete in seven different games to win funds from a $150,000 USD Prize Pool. Funds will go to your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, during a time when they most need our support.

You can participate in this event from home, connect with other charitable gamers, and watch our stream during the event. The first step is to set up your page today!


While we can’t gather in large groups anymore, MMOs provide an excellent way to mingle with hundreds of people at a time. Games like World of Warcraft, EVE Online, or Final Fantasy XIV have thriving communities and years of content available for the cost of a monthly subscription. Black Desert Online, Guild Wars 2, and The Elder Scrolls Online offer similar experiences without a subscription. There are dozens of long-running MMOs out there for players to dig into and keep themselves socially grounded.

Online Tabletop

There has never been a better time to start an online tabletop campaign. The internet practically overflows with digital tools to help run online games of all kinds. In particular, Dungeons & Dragons stands tall as the most supported tabletop in the digital space. All a group really needs to organize a session is a D&D Beyond account and a voice app like Skype or Discord. Roll20 adds a more coherent visual element to a game for those who can handle the extra prep work. If you are looking to branch out from D&D, many tabletop games offer free quick-start rules or adventures to introduce players to a new system and setting. Shadowrun, Exalted, and Vampire: The Masquerade all have excellent, free selections of rules and setting information.


While tensions might be high when playing with the general online community, grabbing a couple friends to dive into Apex Legends or Rust can be a blast. Many of the most popular co-op games have moved into free-to-play territory with titans like Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, or League of Legends. If you are looking for a different kind of dynamic, Steam offers a mode called Remote Play Together that allows titles normally restricted to local multiplayer to be played online with friends.


Finally, if you have some time on your hands, streaming can be an excellent way to play single-player games while fostering a sense of community with an audience. Services like OBS to get you streaming on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer are easier to use than ever before. Being able to connect with people through streaming can be valuable – and it doesn’t even need to be video games. There’s a thriving streaming community around arts and crafts or just interesting discussions. Also, if you want to continue to support Extra Life through these trying times, raising some money for local children’s hospitals via streaming can be a great way to give back to the community.

Don’t forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!