J’cans entertain themselves at home - ‘ABC Fast or Slow’, scavenger hunts and Netflix Party among activities
Despite all the bars, theatres, and cinemas being closed and parties postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future, Jamaicans have still found ways to stay communal and connected – while still keeping their distance. Online gaming has long existed, but the local ‘quarantine and isolate’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired creative Caribbean games in social-media communities, like ‘ABC Fast or Slow’, offering a small break from the worry or boredom caused by shutting in.
Gamemaster Marlon ‘Musique’ Campbell kicked things off soon after Prime Minister Andrew Holness requested that all non-essential workers stay home. Campbell noticed some social-media activity that teetered too close to depressing. So in an effort to lift spirits, especially for those who thrive on social interaction, he decided it was time to play games.
“It was an old idea I brought back. I’d done it already years ago. We used to have this big community between 2009 and 2011, and Twitter was a lot like that, where you made friends and you could play things remotely. So I thought, ‘You know what, the whole a we stuck a we yaad. Might as well!’” he told The Sunday Gleaner.
Campbell continued through the thought process, concluding with, “Even if for an hour, let’s take our mind off the fact that there’s this pandemic happening. Everybody knows ‘ABC Fast or Slow’, or ‘Boy, Girl, Animal, Place, Thing’. Everybody can play it.”
After scheduling a start time and finding a random letter generator, the gamemaster was back in form. Campbell claims that the response was overwhelming, hinting that over 200 people may have participated.
“It was way more than I could have anticipated. It was fun!” he exclaimed.
Following that game, Campbell came up with a household scavenger hunt – Caribbean-style. “I just listed things that every normal Caribbean household should have,” he said. And participants weren’t limited to the islands. “Even if they weren’t Caribbean, they were of Caribbean descent.”
To spice things up, Campbell listed a few distinct items. “Things I would consider super Caribbean, like the ‘Home Sweet Home’ (kerosene) lamp, nutmeg, ginger, and pimento. And the Danish butter cookies tin. Even if you don’t have one there now, one passed through, and that tin is always reconditioned for something else.”
At the end of each game, Campbell took more time out to record and post a video expressing resilience and support for all those who weren’t at home. “I did the video message saying, ‘Just be hopeful, and big up the nurses, doctors, and the rest of the medical staff’.”
Social-media user Maray McKoy found another way to stay entertained and connected with her friends during the COVID-19 lockdown: Netflix Party. The Chrome browser extension allows users to chat with each other while watching the same film at the same time. “I like it a lot. It doesn’t work if the people are spread too far, so my friends in the US can’t join in watching, even though they can see the chat,” McKoy shared.