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Games that help you stay social during quarantine

Right now, most of the world is holed up in their respective houses. Unsurprisingly, online gameplay is more popular than ever, making it a good time to try some new games that emphasize the more social aspects of gameplay. Being cooped up and all alone isn't the best for anyone's mental health, so consider reaching out to some buddies and playing a few of these games that are all about chatting, teamwork, and cooperative play. 

Just because you're practicing social distancing, doesn't mean you can't be social. That's the power of the internet.

VRChat opens up a whole new world

Remember VRChat? The game spawned countless memes after its launch in 2017, and streamers galore flocked to play this take on Ready Player One's Oasis. In VRChat, players assume an avatar of their choice — from anime girls to tiny, poorly-rendered versions of Knuckles the Echidna — and are then able to interact with other players via their mic and motion controls. While the game's title suggests chatting is the main focus, there are plenty of opportunities to play games like laser tag, hide-and-go-seek, and other callbacks to childhood. 

As exemplified by the VRChat streams that took over Twitch for several months, this game is an excellent opportunity to meet unlikely friends and hang out in public spaces that aren't truly public. No worries about spreading disease here. The only thing that goes around in VRChat are ridiculous memes.

TableTop Simulator keeps the boredom away

You might think you can't play any classic, tabletop games thanks to this quarantine, but that's where you'd be wrong. There's an app for that, or rather, there's a game on Steam that will support most of your favorite board games and more online. 

TableTop Simulator is exactly what it sounds like: you and your friends can load up this virtual tabletop and play chess, checkers, go, and dominoes to your hearts' content. TableTop Simulator also plays host to a number of newer board games like Wingspan, Scuttle!, and Scythe, among others. Many others. There's something for everyone in TableTop Simulator. This might be the perfect chance to launch that Dungeons & Dragons campaign you've been dreaming about.

Minecraft offers endless entertainment

Minecraft is a great game to play solo, but imagine the possibilities with friends: you'd have someone to watch your back when battling through the dangerous Nether, someone to help build massive creations that tower above the trees. You'd have the chance to invent your own games within the game. If you need some ideas, just check out the multi-year spanning Let's Play Minecraft videos that groups like Achievement Hunter have released.

The great thing about Minecraft is that it's a sandbox: you're only limited by your imagination. The hit game offers you the chance to sink in hundreds of hours via gameplay that never really gets old. You and some friends can explore the world, shape it in your image, and then totally destroy it if you like. The sky's the limit.