On Gaming and Free Time During a Global Pandemic | Covid-19

By: Joshua Francom

Disclaimer: I’m not telling you how you should use your time. If you aren’t able to stay productive, that’s OK and it’s not always your choice. It is much more important to STAY SAFE and ISOLATED. I’m only hoping my small perspective gives some ideas and distracts you for a while. Don’t feel pressured to perform under the events and trauma of a global crisis.

With the recent global event known as Covid-19, I have a lot of time on my hands. Honestly, as an introvert, this is one of the ‘top ten best things‘ to happen to me. Since I’m one of the lucky ones who has been furloughed, but is financially stable, it has been the closest I’ll ever come to retirement as a lower-class yet privileged millennial. My unemployment check is likely weeks away, but my household and extended family will probably be OK. Having this much free time is a God-send since I’ve wanted to thrust myself into my YouTube channel and this website. If this was my only experience during the pandemic, there would be little reason to read this article or write it to begin with.

This paragraph is going to sound like an advertisement, but it serves a purpose outside shameless self-promotion. If this is your first experience with the Francom Brothers website: I extend a hearty welcome. We look to promote inclusion, education, and provide entertainment. The content found here relates closely to gaming culture in general. We try to find lessons to live by uniquely found in the gaming lifestyle. It may surprise you to find out I’ve been playing video games less during my time in quarantine; much less.

You may ask, “What have you been doing instead of playing video games?”

Content Creation

Part of our vision is providing entertainment. We fulfill this eternal quest mainly though my YouTube channel. The most common kind of video content is playing various video games and performing audio commentary over the gameplay. These are called Let’s plays.

During the three years of activity on the channel, the minimum posting schedule is once every three days. Doing some dirty math: that’s 121+ videos every year. The last time I checked, the current total amount of videos publicly visible is just above 450.

I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without Paul or my brother, Bryce. Prior to the quarantine, almost every video featured at least one of those two as a co-star. It is very hard to do let’s plays as a one-man-show; I’ve tried. I do all the editing, but to act extroverted on camera is exhausting. A good number of my removed videos are solo acts which I deemed unfit for viewing. I can be much more productive when depending on them for some of the emotional labor required for show-biz.

Due to the realities of Covid-19 social isolation, I’ve had to start doing solo let’s plays to keep up with my self-imposed schedule. However, I set the goal for myself of releasing a video every two days. Assuming I kept that pace, that’s 182+ videos per year. I’m releasing more videos which require much more emotional effort to maintain the same quality.

This is a hobby and I set my own schedule, but I feel as though I should push myself given it has been three years since I started the let’s plays. I should be able to handle this. I’m definitely not complaining about this or saying I don’t want to do this. I love making YouTube videos. This is all backstory to add to a main point.

For the record, my co-star Paul, has expressed concerns that I’ve been overworking myself. We are keeping my mental health as one of my priorities.

Polyglotism and General Education

As my 30th birthday occurred during the pandemic, I’ve noticed a change in my priorities. I value knowledge much more than I use to. Over the past few years the grand majority of my free time has been spent in acquisition of general knowledge. It has come to a head during this pandemic. I have focused on a policy of self-betterment towards myself and others. I want to learn as much as possible and help others do the same.

My latest binge has been science, history, languages, culture, and gaming history content on YouTube. If it is something generally educational then I’ve probably been watching it.

As discussed in another article I wrote, I have been sacrificing some of my gaming time for language learning purposes. One of my main passions has been learning multiple languages. For more information on my language acquisition goals I highly recommend reading that article.

Since that article, I’ve increased the frequency of my Spanish study sessions and I’ve also begun experimenting with other languages. I am now learning Latin and Spanish at the same time. This is obviously something I would never be able to do if I were working full time. The current crisis has given me a lot of free time and I am making the most of it.

Much of my study time has also been watching YouTube videos for this purpose in addition to using the Duolingo app. Admittedly, most of my designated language studying time is done with Duolingo, but YouTube is a tool used as well.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Need I say more?

What little gaming time I allow myself has largely been hijacked by Animal Crossing. The easily structured game-play loop allows for an easy start and end of the game session. When the chores are done and I feel as though I’ve done enough progress for the day, it is very easy to convince myself that continuing to play has diminishing returns. I’ll play the game for an hour or so and let it be.

After doing ‘gamified chores‘, sometimes I just don’t have the energy left to play another game and search for more passive content like documentaries.


It would seem that my priorities have shifted.
Maintaining an upload schedule appears to be a great source of personal pride for me.

2. I care more about language acquisition, gaming culture, gaming history, and general education than I do about video games.

3. YouTube, Duolingo, and Animal Crossing basically run my life right now.

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