When confronted by the daily challenges we face professionally, personally and emotionally, we play games. I would venture to say many of us have done this. Under varying degrees of anger or frustration, we tend to look for something more stable or familiar. I personally have been all over the board with many types of games I prefer.
As a child, I liked to jump into a game where I was invincible. A game that I could just wreak havoc across any level. All while listening to, now laughably, the Tomb Raider soundtrack. (I was not very versed in music during my young years.) My first game was Goldeneye. Specifically, Goldeneye strapped to a GameShark to get any code unlock that I so desired. It was very much a power play in a time when I had little to none.
Growing older, the games got more complex as did life. During my GameCube years, I did not have the power of the GameShark. I had to rely on my own set of skills. Thankfully I was quite good a Super Smash Bros. Melee. Naturally, I had a specific set up of levels or gameplay loops that I would go through to cool down. I would select Mewtwo, (arguably one of the most powerful Pokemon,) and three other level 9 computers and just go to town on them. I was confident in my skills enough that kicking butt on the hardest difficulty in the game helped to extinguish the fire inside.
I fell out of love with games for a very brief point in my life due to college and my 360 Red Ring of Death issue. I lost touch with my younger self. I felt like older people didn't really play games and that I was still being childish. So, I would go on long drives around my town, blare music, and smoke a cigarette. This was not really the person I wanted to become but that is who I was for a brief period. What I did realize later in life was these things had a common theme. Alone time to vent and finally approach the situation with clearer thoughts and actions. Although, that "alone time" was not always needed as much as the social bonds I was developing with others.
It took this bump in the road of my gaming career for me to realize that I don’t care what the norm is. I Just want to play video games. After not having readily available access, fixing my 360, and playing online. This is what I needed back in my life.
Now that technology has caught up, my first game online that helped relieve stress was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This was really my introduction into online play. My parents had just upgraded to DSL or some form of broadband. It was a crucial piece to the puzzle to be able to talk with friends across the United States as if we were right next to each other. Say what you will about Call of Duty, but this experience on a console for the first time was transformative.
Fast forward just a few years to Gears of War 2. Not only was this my go-to game but also talking with the people I was friends with had extra gravity to it. We were so familiar with the game that we could chat about our daily lives and struggles in a judge-free zone. Xbox party chat made that possible for us.
Jump ahead (no pun intended) to present, and I don’t have just one game I go to if I am in an unpleasant mood. I have many. Each having its own part to play during certain situations. Minecraft being the possible only exception.
With Minecraft, it didn't matter if none of my friends were on or all of them were. It was a game I could absolutely count on at any time. I love building and creating a world all my own. Especially when coupled with music that just makes you lose track of time.
But, sometimes we need a break from even our very favorite games. That's where a multitude of different online experiences come into play. Gears of War would make another appearance. Along with World of Tanks (PC and Xbox), Destiny, and the occasional new game that peaks my interest. There were also many single player games that I loved getting lost in such as Fallout, Elder Scrolls 4 & 5, and even Watch_Dogs or Assassin's Creed to a degree.
The point is, in the same way dinner and a movie is safe. A soft blanket, a warm cup of (take your pic) and book is safe. Or the newly beloved "Netflix and chill" is safe. You need to pick or do what is right for you. Don’t worry about fitting in. If we all fit in, the world would be pretty boring honestly. And, what you were doing would still be wrong for you.
So how about it? What games or things do you associate with needing to clear your head or cool down with? I would love to hear what you guys have to say. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this blog and want to chime in.
As always Thanks for reading!