Video games save lives, and I know this because they have saved mine repeatedly. Now granted, it’s highly unlikely I would have ever actually taken any sort of plunge, or pulled triggers, or inhaled car exhaust, BUT there’s always that moment when things can feel absolutely hopeless and grim. I am here to tell you that your games are here to help you. They are every bit as powerful as the greatest records, organized religions, and friends that you may or may not have to look to or lean on. Sometimes all it takes to coax you down from the ledge are the titles hidden in your software library. Imagine: instant, personalized therapy at the push of a power button. So recline and X, square and R1 your way back to good mental health. Here are a list of games that saved my life, and some suggestions for you to begin your own healing.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
From March 17th, 2006 to December 31st, 2012 I lived inside an emotional vacuum. Peering outside my windows each morning, I seemed to only grow happier with every passing hour. It was a constant loop, one single emotion: exaggerated and boldly highlighted on the very best of days, its color muting only slightly on the worst of them. I was removed from pain, from any sort of depression, and void of natural feeling like some programmed, mute automaton. I wasn’t complaining though, bliss comes more naturally than you would think when it’s all around you, and the only thing you see. There was a moment though that fundamentally changed everything. I detailed it all here. Rarely do things change in an instant, or overnight even, but in this instance the sea change was so quick, so degenerative and the damage so irreversible that I came away from it sputtering and utterly broken.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution met me as a nearly obliterated shell that required much more than a simple application of modeling glue. This title allowed me to freely grasp and fumble for reason. It gave voice to the most inaudible of things: the anxiety, the doubt that was crowding and populating exponentially inside my mind. It enveloped me, drew me into its bleak and hopeless world in order to bait my battered subconscious from its seclusion. I spent hours, weeks, on that couch being goaded and violently prodded to action. This game took me apart piece-by-piece, assembly line style, and tooled about my every limb refitting bone and scraping away all pockets of stripped, worn and graying cartilage.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an essential piece of the mind’s Jungian therapy, and while it sets you up to recover, to succeed, it also realizes that you are the one who has to keep walking. So, like any good practitioner, he or she is not interested in providing you with permanent crutches, instead expecting you to invest the time, work and effort needed to bring your legs back to sufficient strength. This title is the first measure of antibiotic: fortified, effective and depending on the dosage, a logical means to the final cure.
Stay tuned next week for the next game on our list…
Having fallen in love only 4 times in his life Geno counts Double Dragon as his second and truest love. He has worked in record retail since 2000 and believes David Hayter to be the one true Solid Snake. Currently, he is putting together a band which only perform songs from Street Fighter 3rd Strike.