Point/Counterpoint: traditional vs. virtual games

Debating which form makes for a superior game night

Games nights can be played in-person or over the internet.

Traditional games  

There are a lot of things that we can get on the internet, but a good, hardy laugh from in-person game nights isn’t one of them. 
One of my favourite in-person games is two-person charades where the charade is performed by an unknowing ‘puppet’ and a ‘puppet master.’ One time my dad used me as his puppet for the “home run” card and almost dislocated my shoulder. You just can’t make those kinds of memories over Zoom. 
There’s something about being around people that makes everything more fun. If it’s a competitive game of euchre, you can’t stare down your rival family member over Zoom because they can’t tell if you’re looking at them. It’s also much harder to call a bluff virtually because you can’t observe someone’s telling nervous foot tap or inability to look you in the eye. 
Other games like Cards Against Humanity and Cranium intended to make you laugh don’t have the same effect virtually. There’s nothing like the bonding moments you get from having to do something awkward or embarrassing in-person. It makes you feel closer to the friends who still want to keep you around after you do something silly. 
While virtual games are better than nothing, they usually leave me feeling drained from looking at a screen rather than reenergized from laughter or intense competition. Although I’m always down for a game of Jackbox or Drawphone amidst social distancing, I’m looking forward to having game nights complete with snacks and some good music when restrictions are lifted. 
—Julia Stratton, Staff Writer 
Virtual games 
What unites families and friends while simultaneously keeping all parties separated? A spectacular virtual game night. 
Other than the fact that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, online games guarantee the safest option for gatherings, there are many advantages that come with virtual game nights. 
Virtual game nights facilitate flexibility; family and friends who live in different places or time zones have the ability to attend these events from home, no travel required. And the more the merrier—more participants create more engaging, memorable evenings. Furthermore, there exists an infinite amount of free card and board games online which means those in attendance aren’t limited to the handful of games in their possession. In-person game nights cannot compete in this category of flexibility. 
Hosting a traditional game night usually requires preparations—and can be quite time-consuming. In comparison, for virtual game nights, there’s less hosting responsibility. On Zoom, there’s no pressure to have the cleanest, nicest looking place or to provide food for your family and friends. 
Additionally, there’s no need to coordinate a designated driver or worry about how your friends are getting home. Anyone can pop open that bottle of wine they’ve been eyeing throughout the week and not have to be mindful of who’s driving who. 
It’s also easier to meet new people online. In a situation where someone brings one of their friends, it’s much easier to break the ice because the awkwardness and social pressures of meeting in-person are lessened over a call. Considering virtual game nights are conducted from the comfort of your home, they’re uniquely comfortable for everyone involved. 
The bottom line is that, when it comes to game nights, virtual games offer a glimpse into the future. This trend toward online socializing will unquestionably linger long after the pandemic is over. 
—Nicole Sobolewski, Contributor

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