While staying at home to stop the spread of COVID-19, folks are desperate for any kind of connection these days. For some, that means turning to methods of social interaction that introverts (or extroverted introverts who need a healthy mix) have already mastered — like the video game streaming platform Twitch. If you're looking for creative ways to play with friends during quarantine, this is one of them.
I'll be real honest: Twitch isn't the best way to play video games with friends. That isn't what it was made for. It was designed for people to stream themselves playing various games, so as a platform Twitch kind of more comparable to going live on Instagram or watching a Youtube channel. There are also chat rooms connected to live streams, though, so ar bare minimum you and your friends could all meet up to watch your favourite Twitch player together and converse in the feed.
However! People have been getting very inventive in the last couple of weeks. Temporarily out of work Broadway actors have been Twitch streaming their game nights and chatting about NBC's Smash and raising money while they do it. The Phoenix Suns have been "finishing the NBA season" in digital form and streaming those games for fans to enjoy. There are ways to make Twitch work for us in quarantine times.
You Can Make Teams
It is possible to start or join a Twitch team — helpful if you already have a group that plays a multiplayer game like Dungeons and Dragons. So, for example, your guild can start a team and stream together while maintaining separate Twitch accounts/channels. If you get super popular on Twitch, you can make and share money that way. It also just seems like a good way to keep track of friends. Organisation is key.
Stream Your Squad
Another way to get your friends together on Twitch is to start on another platform like Jackbox and then have one person stream the feed so other people can watch you all play. Some established Twitch channels may even tweet or message out a Jackbox party game "room code" for their audience members to join games like Quip Lash, Drawful, or Trivia Murder Party. All you need is a smart phone or laptop for that. You don't even have to download an app! Just go to jackbox.tv, enter the code, and you're in!
Or Just Watch Others
Hey, if watching strangers play video games helps you feel connected even if you're not interacting with them... go for it! That's a completely valid way of making your quarantine world a little bigger. If you think about it, streaming gameplay is no different than watching a movie, TV series, concert, sports or live theatre with other strangers. It's all a kind of "communitas," a Latin word used to describe the spirit of community we get from shared experiences — even if that community is atypical, unstructured, or disparate. We're coming together while staying apart. It's a thing.