Sweet Catharsis

A friend said to me that we all get stressed out. I have to agree. Its that time of the year, the looming cloud of life, projects due, exams are coming up, and things you may not care about are going to have a profound effect on a little number that a chunk of the civilized word tends to use to judge you. I can’t think of a college kid that wouldn’t be stressed at least a little. We say that games provide a safe space to experiment and learn, but also as a form of relaxation to lose ourselves in. Like floating in an ocean without worry. I’ve got to agree.

Confession time, I haven’t actually gotten to play a “real” game in a while. April hit with exams and what not, so the PS3 got packed away, summer came around and the power bill was a worry plus more work, we get to the fall and, boom, more work. It finally got to the point where I just looked at a friend and said “I’m getting so swamped and overwhelmed with stuff I’m just going to set aside time to game. Just stop working on everything for just a bit” Up to that point all I had really played were some Facebook games if that and was wasting time on YouTube. Another buddy was at the apartment loading a game of his on my 3GS to test (It’s called Warp Tunnel go download it!) and we joked about my shelves of games. “I feel like it’s just become a status symbol at this point. ‘Look at all the games I don’t have time to play!'” I remember when a teacher said he’d gotten to the point where he had to make the choice between making a game or playing one. It’s a depressing realization.

Anyway, over Black Friday, I picked up 3 games during GameStops buy-2-get-1: Darksiders 2, Borderlands 2, and Spec Ops the Line. So, sat down, and decided to play. Just an hour a day. Saturday, Sunday, and again today I’ve been playing through Darksiders 2. I really lucked out, the game lends itself well to hoping in and out. Saves are frequent and so far a dungeon is about an hour. It provides a nice mix of exploration and combat, so I get both those frantic moments of button mashing and having to sit down and think hard about how I’m supposed to navigate things. Plus, you can get burned out running around alone in a dungeon, and that also marks a decent stopping point. The point is, I’m not letting myself get so overly consumed that that 6 hours later I’m freaking out about deadlines. That would kind of undermine things.

And I feel great! Relaxed, more ready to go get things done, oddly focused and undistracted, it’s a weird feeling.

We live in an exciting time. There’s game available for everyone, in a number of consumable sizes. So I guess the punch line is: Take some time to yourself and game a little. Just play. It’s good for you.


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