Video Games that help ground me.

Video Games have a powerful way of transporting us to a different world, experience breath-taking situations and sometimes allowing us to be a completely different person, with a different set of problems. Many people use video games to escape, when the stress of every day gets too much, it is sometimes nice to switch off and think about problems that are not necessarily your own. But not everyone uses Video Games, people also read books, watch television or even listen to their favourite album on repeat for a few days. Future hearts by All Time Low probably owe most of their Spotify listens to me, It’s a good album!

The people that know me in person, (mainly my wife and university friends) know how I get when I am not able to manage my stress through gaming. It falls into the realm of escapism, which is the act of, well escaping. Allowing your mind to switch off for a moment before you go back to your everyday problems. Whilst escapism is an interesting form of stress management, it wasn’t was spurred this post. What interested me is that there are a group of specific games that I will play, they crop up when things are getting too heavy and I need to breathe for five. I asked my Wife Lauren, if she had noticed any of the games that I turn to and she even mentioned some of my habits (Sometimes it helps to get an outside opinion).

But here are the games that tend to pop up, when I need a break;

Stardew Valley

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I love Stardew, probably because it’s so easy to get lost in. There’re no little tricks, it’s just you, your farm and all the money you make. I don’t play Stardew Valley for an hour at a time, it eats days or weeks out of my gaming time, it really is a plague on my free time at my worst moments.

I think it could be to do with the farm, it’s a mess, it’s destroyed and quite frankly it’s in a beyond salvageable state. In real life, I’d walk away and wash my hands quickly from the farm. But especially on the Switch, you can find somewhere comfortable and resurrect the farm to glory… or a slaughterhouse…

Pokémon Emerald

This is one of those games I play for pure nostalgia reasons (Plus Generation 3 is the best), the music and the Pokémon in generation 3, just feel right. When playing these games as a kid I didn’t have the internet (Or, if I did I wouldn’t have used it much), so unless you bought a manual, you were pretty much on your own. Every discovery was your own and often the information your friend gave you to find mew and Celebi was false. Getting to the Elite Four is when this game feels at home, it took me such a long time to beat them as a kid so I always take my time and enjoy the battles.

The Binding of Isaac

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Not sure if many of you know, but The Binding of Isaac is probably my wife’s favourite game, she’s much better at it than me. Given the topic of the game, a boy whose father had left, mother has been possessed by a heavenly spirit to murder him and has to travel to his mother’s heart and kill it… you would be surprised that ANYONE plays this to escape. It’s also difficult which I think helps with a sense of self-achievement, plus with the randomised runs it becomes chaos and I don’t really have to think to much about optimal plays or the right thing to do, I pick up items that are fun or will allow me to win. Personally I believe that it’s the ability to get a messed up run, with some really bad Items and still be able to win.

Viva Pinata

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Oh, it’s been a while. I’m currently re-downloading it as I’m typing this. I LOVE Viva Pinata, what a game! If I dive deeper into it, Stardew Valley and Viva Pinata are probably on here for the same reason, you are given a garden/farm that is in a state of disrepair. Your task is to sort it out and attract the Pinatas Or in Stardew Valleys case make the farm profitable.

One thing I that I used to do was to take a picture of the before and after, I loved that as a kid and I wish I still had those pictures on my old laptop…maybe now that it’s downloading I’ll do that again and share it.

Dynasty Warriors

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Finally, the one game that has recently found its way back into my life. Now before I dive in, lets get this out of the way… number 9 was just awful… and it broke my heart. So more recently I’ve been playing Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, I’m not particularly a big fan of the game, but there is enough of the core ‘Warriors’ game there for me to pick a few of my Dynasty Warriors favourites and start winning wars. I would credit the Dynasty Warriors games as being the reason that I game so much, for me, it shows exactly how powerful a Video Game can make you feel. A tiny kid from Wales just became the greatest warrior of the Three Kingdoms, that as a kid (and still now), was what made gaming so magical. Oh… and the music is completely badass… like just over the top insanely good that it just emphasises the awesome feeling you get when you eventually defeat Cao Cao.

They are the games that I routinely go back to, some I have not touched in a few years… others have become weekly or monthly games. Does anyone else have any games they find themselves playing when life gets a little clustered? I’d love to hear what games help ground you, are any of them on this list? Or if not games are there any books or films that you tend to gravitate towards? I tend to read The Lost World by Michael Crichton if I want to read.

Anyways, a little bit of a different post, but I hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!

Dale

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