When the pandemic hit in 2020, and the government started directing companies to implement work-from-home arrangements, I admit that I initially got excited about it—no need to prepare for work since I could power up my laptop right after waking up. No traffic jams to worry about. It felt as though time was entirely in my hands.
Little did I know that the thrill would last for only a month. By the two-month mark, I started feeling that being cooped up at home was more stressful. I suddenly missed the pre-pandemic days to walk to a nearby coffee shop to relieve stress from the office. Or, if I wanted a more extended break, I could pack my bags, book a plane ticket, book a room accommodation and run off to a beautiful island somewhere in the Philippines.
This time, the farthest you can go sans worrying about your health is your home kitchen. Or the balcony. Or your bedroom window.
Thank God, e-numan (drinking sesh via video conference) became a thing. My family, friends, and I got to socialize with one another without getting anxious that a few of us might contract the Corona. Unfortunately, it’s not something that we would do every day, because one, too much alcohol is bad for the health and two, we’ve got individual lives bound by specific varied schedules. So, I had to search for new ways to de-stress or fight boredom. One of the tips I read from the conversation article is to do something new.
That was when I came across plays.org, a website offering web-based games that are entertaining and educational. The games are grouped into Arcade Classics, Cartoon Games, Education, Base Defense, and Simulation Games. So far, here are my five favorites.
A Base Defense web-based game wherein the objective is to fight off an alien invasion by upgrading ships. You’ll start with a small ship and wait every few minutes for gift boxes to appear. The gift boxes contain new ships that you can use. An upgrade is done by fusing two similar ships. You’ll receive power-ups once in a while. You level up when you eliminate all aliens at the current level. Here’s the thing: You don’t have control over the ships. You cannot direct them to either left or right, front or back. They automatically shoot and select from which side to fire weapons. It all boils down to your strategy of whether you will clear each level or not. Bigger ships with higher firepower don’t necessarily mean they’ll quickly eliminate aliens. Smaller ships may lack power, but they fire rapidly. A good combination of small and big ships will do the trick. Currently, I’m stuck at Level 37.
2. Pac Rat
Inspired by Pac-Man, this nostalgic Arcade Classics game has the same objective: eat all the pellets and don’t get eaten by ghosts only this time, the main character is a rat chased by cats, and there are cheeses instead of pellets. The power pellet, which is an enormous cheese, also lets the rat eat the cats. It’s a relatively easy game—not much of a challenge, sure—but it’s an effective stress reliever.
3. Guardians Defenders of Mathematica
Now, this is the part where it gets educational. This is a mathematical game with a twist. You’ll choose a character, and you will have to fight off enemies. You can only attack and cause damage to your enemy when you correctly answer each mathematical question. Now that’s a fun way for children to learn mathematics! It’s perfect for adults too who want to brush up their arithmetic skills.
4. Flight Sim
This is, by far, the most addictive game for me. As the air controller, your objective in this Simulation game is to land all aircraft—airplanes, helicopters, fighter jets, military planes, blimps—safely. Aircraft with varying speeds come from off the screen; then, you have to click on each and drag (draw) them towards the direction of the runway where they’re supposed to land. Be careful in drawing routes; you must avoid the planes crashing into each other. Once a collision happens, you’ll have to redo it. At each level, there’s a specific number of aircraft. Land them all safely, and you move on to the next level. I’m currently stuck at Level 9, where it gets tricky because (spoiler alert!) there’s only one runway, and the planes keep coming!
5. Fight Virus
If you want to relieve stress brought about by the pandemic and you want to feel like you’re fighting COVID-19, then play one of the Hospital simulation web-based games. Your objective is to help patients coming into the hospital recover. The hospital has three stages—the reception, which you need to keep virus-free. Next, the medical check-up wherein a timer appears beside each patient. You need to click on the desk to conduct a COVID-19 test before time runs out. Otherwise, positive cases would go undetected, and the virus would spread across the hospital. Finally, in the ward, you need to click on each patient to treat them. If the virus meter reaches 70%, the game is over. This is a game of speed, so your eyes must be quick enough to spot virus particles.
I can’t stress (pun unintended) enough the importance of light activities that can momentarily divert our attention from work and this pandemic. It’s easy for our moods to get swayed by negativity, so some activities like web-based games can help in keeping ourselves sane.