The pandemic changed what I felt about gaming

Joshua Poh
9 min readSep 19, 2021

I got back into gaming during the pandemic.

Gaming became a means to spend quality time with my wife while sheltering in place under lockdown. We were Mario and Princess Peach in Super Mario 3D World navigating fiery lava pits, rebounding on bouncy castles and running from cute-yet-deadly turtles that shot fire at you.

We laughed, strategised at how to defeat bosses and got frustrated at each other after dying for the umpteen time after a mistimed jump. But we always persevered through.

Super Mario 3D World became a linchpin in our relationship for a good 6 months. It provided conversation topics about the world of game design and our histories with video games

It was that feeling of total immersion — being lost within the vibrant, complex world of Super Mario that comforted us during a stressful time. I marvelled at the game’s uncanny way to explore new wacky level design and mechanics like blocks appearing and disappearing in time to a 80’s themed disco beat, sneaking in the shadows, avoiding a searchlight and staying balanced on a rotating cube in lava pits. We noticed how game designers progressively introduced new puzzles and environments to teach them to the player.