Villaflor: Pandemic players

Noel Villaflor
·2 min read

In hindsight, getting a PS4 two years ago turned out to be a game changer in the household’s new normal.

I love gaming, particularly the “FIFA” and “Sid Meier’s Civilization” series, but there hasn’t been a console or a PC in the house for close to a decade, while our entry level laptops could only run “Minesweeper” without crashing.

The last time I bought a gaming console was in 2006, an Xbox 360 that retired five years later after our toddler dropped it.

Now that same toddler grew up without a gaming console in the house, but in the weeks leading to his 10th birthday, Cyan persuaded me to buy a PlayStation 4 and split the bill.

The youngest of three siblings, Cyan had actually saved enough money from his allowance and from selling munchkins in school.

Since the PS5 was due for release at the time, the discounted PS4 with bundles appealed to me.

Plus, I badly missed “FIFA football,” which I had played since the 1990s.

Not to brag, but I got so good with FIFA that in 2006, I won my first and only esports tournament, the Thirsty Cup FIFA 2005 title in Cebu.

Sure, we can survive without a PS4, but having one at home should be fun even for the child in me. So after a lengthy deliberation with the wife, a decision was made.

Fast forward to 2020 with the pandemic lockdowns, the PS4 is playing a key role in the household, such as keeping mental wellness in check.

Except for the wife, who mukbang marathons on koreanovelas, the three of us—Cyan, Arwen and Amber—take turns on the PS4.

While the two girls share common interests in games with engaging storylines such as “The Last of Us,” “Uncharted” and “God of War,” Cyan, deprived of his regular football practice in school, now connects with his friends online through “Minecraft” and “Fortnite.”

Amber, a student-athlete in UP Diliman who had to come home due to the lockdowns, pursues a serious “playing career” in one of the clubs of “FIFA 2020.”

When not gaming, resident artist Arwen gets her dose of Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix via the PS4.

My new normal looks pretty much the same playing “Civilization 6,” although it does bother me a bit that two nights ago I nuked two rival cities to see how a thermonuclear bomb differs from a regular one.

I should just play “FIFA” more often.