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#PlayApartTogether: Keeping occupied in Lockdown with Alex Sobel MP

Under lockdown, more people than ever are accessing games to stay connected, maintain their wellbeing, and keep entertained. To reflect the importance of games in this period Ukie will be interviewing key policy makers and industry leaders on what games they're playing during isolation, and recommendations for responsible play time.

This week, Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games and Esports, runs through his familiy's favourite games in this period.

How are you keeping yourself (and/or your family) occupied in these times of self-isolation, physical and social distancing?

Walks, running and bike rides. Zoom Calls and House Party. Also trying to do some fun things like baking powder rockets. But there are a lot of games both board and video being played.

What games are you/your family playing in lockdown?

Minecraft (both boys – Jakob 12 and Zac 9 on multiple platforms), Dragonquest XI (me and the youngest), Roblox (youngest).

I’m playing Civilisation 6 and Elite Dangerous on the laptop and trying to finish Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PS4 before starting the Final Fantasy VII reboot.

Why these particular games?

Jakob says that Minecraft is fun and there are lots of different things to do in it. He is currently playing Java and Bedrock editions

I like Role-Playing (RPG) and Strategy Games. I've been playing Civilisation since II and it’s the best strategy game I think. Getting to grips with Civ VI as my mindset is definitely very pro Civ V.

Dragonquest reminds me of the RPGs I played as a kid on the Megadrive and I thought its a great way to get Zac into RPGs. I am a big fan of Rockstar; Red Dead Redemption 2 has such a rich story and I can’t remember the last Wild West Game I played.

Elite is definitely nostalgic and it’s a fairly gentle game with the odd space battle - it might also have something to do with getting Disney Plus and watching more Star Wars.

I am in eager anticipation of the Final Fantasy VII reboot as it was the game that got me into Square Enix and opened up a whole new world of games.

Do you play games alone or with others? If the latter, do you find they help keep you connected?

Jakob sometimes plays Minecraft Java online and the boys occasionally play splitscreen.

I prefer not to, to be honest. I see it as my time - me and the game is enough. But I play in Open Mode on Elite so other players are there!

Could you recommend any games?

The boys would both heavily recommend Minecraft. They say the best edition for serious gameplayers is Java and Bedrock is better for starters.

I’d say the best game for adults I have played in the last 5 years is Witcher 3. I would recommend Red Dead Redemption 2 and any Civilsation game edition.

What resources would you recommend to help parents and carers manage and monitor game play for their children?

I would definitely recommend PEGI. If they have a mobile implement screentime. We use parental controls on the PS4 and we don’t save our credit card details on there – that’s very dangerous!

For further information on responsible game playing:

Get Smart About P.L.A.Y.