Earlier today, Emily Grace Buck, narrative designer for the upcoming RPG Waylanders, sent a message out to the larger gaming community. In her tweet, she simply asked people to relate a gaming experience that positively impacted their mental health. There was no specific restrictions: people were just encouraged to share stories about gaming helping them.
Tell me about a gaming experience that you feel postively impacted your mental healthEmily Grace Buck (@emilybuckshot) September 27, 2019
We're extending that question to you, our wonderful USgamer community. How has gaming positively affected your life and mental health? Give us your stories big and small, about how gaming helped you through your daily life, or even through some of the harder times in your life.
I had something of a breakdown in 2003 caused by physical ailments, stress, unemployment, and general uncertainty of what to do with my life. Great cocktail, I know. Being unemployed, I didn't have any money for new games, and mobile games—or even free web-based games—were non-existent unless you wanted to play a 30-second distraction on Newgrounds. Thankfully, Toys For Bob uploaded its 3DO adaptation of the already-classic Star Control 2 as the Ur-Quan Masters, and made it free to download. Ur-Quan Masters is an enormous game that's all about space exploration, diplomacy, dogfights, and Juffo-Wup. It also has a great soundtrack, which helped me get a handle on myself again. Now excuse me, I have some bones to fondle in my trophy bone pit.
Recency bias has me wanting to say that Untitled Goose Game's titular (wait…) goose is my favorite, but my real answer has to be the dog from Super Mario Odyssey. Did I play fetch with the dog way, way more than I had to for the purpose of collecting power moons? You know it.
For me, I find that I tend to think too much, with my thoughts constantly rolling through my mind. Occasionally, I do get to play games that I'm not reviewing, meaning I don't need to record footage or keep notes on my thoughts. So I tend to like a game where I don't have to think at all.
Oddly enough, I've found that my game of choice in this respect is actually Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I actually find a degree of zen in the somewhat repetitive nature of the Ubisoft formula. In fact, when I play open world games, I tend to start on a region and clear it systematically. (I also actually like gardening, and tend to compare open world play to that.) Ghost Recon: Wildlands is an arcade-style open world shooter; I can literally just shoot the shit and not think too hard. It's fun and I can mostly clear my mind.
So yeah, I find my zen in the Wildlands. I'm as shocked as you are.