Monday, 11 June 2018

Sometimes, Failure is an Option

My most recent gaming challenge was to play Assassin's Creed Rogue in order to test myself with games that have a small amount of stealth and see how I dealt with it.

The result of this challenge is simple. I failed.

I didn't manage to play much of the game at all, purely because I wasn't enjoying it. The beginning of the game is mostly focused on sailing, a mechanic that I was not only rubbish at, but one in which I had no interest.

I didn't complete the challenge, but that's ok. Failure can often be hard for people with anxiety and depression. The feeling that you're not good enough can be ovewhelming, no matter how big or small the defeat, but it's important to remember that you can't always be successful with everything. Sometimes, you just move on and face the next challange.

Whilst I was avoiding Assassins Creed, I found a game on the opposite side of the gaming (and stress) spectrum: Stardew Valley.

Stardew Valley is a game that I decided very early on that I wasn't going to play. Why would I play a pixelated game about farming? It turns out that the reason to play this game is that it is just so relaxing.

I finally decided to play this game after hearing a games reviewer, who speaks openly about their own mental health, talk about how it's a good game to turn to when you're feeling down and anti-social. He was completely right.

The beauty of Stardew Valley is the simplicity of the game. You plant seeds to grow crops, you mine for resources, and you raise cows for milk. You are pulled into a world where there are no big decisions, no negative impacts for your actions and no threats to your health.

It's safe to say that I've been addicted to this game over the last couple of weeks, but that's because it feels like an escape from the real world. If I'm feeling sad or anxious then I can focus on my crops to distract myself and sometimes, in that stress-filled moment, that's all you need to feel calm and safe again.

In the Eurogamer Youtube series Low Bateries, Johnny Chiodini perfectly describes how video games can help with the understanding and management of mental health.

You can find episode 1 of this series below.

The full playlist can be found here

Next Challenge: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

With Stardew Valley now at the top of my safe list, I need to set myself a new challenge. Lucky for me, this recently came through the post:

Wish me luck!

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