Thing about videogames is that they are a medium catering to all sorts of audiences with varying emotional investments attached. Characters you cherish, stories forever embedded in heart and ofcourse the special feeling of relating to something very close. It’s probably one of the core aspects when growing up with gaming in your routine. This ofcourse likewise stretches to all other entertainment and art mediums as well, everyone has those special songs, film scenes, cartoon days and tv liners.
Recently I wondered if I ever found videogames to be “relaxing” in a broader picture. Take your pick that you end up playing all the time, probably something competitive in nature, and you’d normally feel a day’s been fulfilled if you had a good time with your gaming activity. Normally I’d equate this to passing time or avoiding skill rust – for e.g coming back to DOTA 2 after a long period is a bigger challenge than maintaining your rank. I’m sure plenty of folks into competitive shooters, sports and fighting are similarly habitual in these cycles. Basically ringing out the tune that after a tiresome day in the world of worries you need some time alone with your games with nobody to disturb or intervene. Why does this actually calm us down? People go for walks, play instruments, read books or meditate in all sorts of ways. How come playing videogames becomes one of those? Such an activity affecting our state in such a manner has been interesting to think about. I applied some of these thoughts to myself and few friends to figure out the “zen” we make up from this.
Basically take out the consistency of gaming routine from daily lives and what you are left with is sometimes frustration or a lacking comfort. To be precise about this, I’m not pointing out over gaming all the time or each and every day. A routine of whatever suits the person is good enough in the context. Case in point – over the past few months I’ve hardly played new games or become engaged in gaming publications (sorry Team UG). If it wasn’t for the Steam Summer Sale, I probably didn’t even bother to find something over the holidays. However, I was somewhat usual in my custom of playing Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and DOTA 2. A rougelike and MOBA existed as sufficient parallels without giving much serious consideration. Must add it is true here and there I did manage to play some more titles, but nothing overly adventurous. During Ramadan this was especially true, probably over not wanting to do much else also. Funny thing is though, I’m flexible in terms of time played but realistically I do try to find time to go over a single run in Binding of Isaac or a have team match in DOTA. From a popular view, features of frustration and rigid concentration are very apparent when engaged in games such as these, and it’s true to a certain degree. Be that as it may, from a player’s perspective it can be conducive to unwinding stress or so. Ofcourse it’s rationally very ridiculous to think about. My personal understanding though is that not only does it work on loosening the nerves but it substantially amounts to a form of control. Like a good friend said:
The most satisfying part is everything falling in its place … when you have expectations and little slots to fill.
Over the past few days I found a similar calmness in playing Grow Home, albeit something very different from the earlier games mentioned. The best way I can describe this peculiarity is how Grow Home’s visual serenity and its fluid pace puts me in a tranquility of sorts. Point is, even though there’s an extension of achieving the same kind of desired result I find it amusing how the approach tends to draw out a memorable solace in its own way. I think the closest analogy I can think of to explain is doing a yoga compared to going out for running. While I completed Grow Home in a couple of sittings, it still managed to encompass a definitive laid-back experience as a whole. It is noteworthy to add how a liberated movement does wonders to a limited world design, resulting in spirited exploration. This is not the same as open-world games in my opinion, since a lot about what Grow Home offers has to do with nimble controls being complemented by gorgeous looking landscapes. A further example of rendering such factors flawlessly is the critically/commercially acclaimed-hit Journey.
So when I look back over the quite times I enjoy playing games in such a restful way, it dawns on me how therapeutic these sessions actually become. Objectively the medium of videogames sometimes provokes a lot of a unwanted problems – social isolation, emotional instability, medical hazards and so on. The other side in my opinion though looks equally as promising in helping people with exercising something they can be content with when they’re feeling down or just want to ease off.