No matter what part of the world you’re living in we can all collectively agree that the times we’re in now are filled with uncertainty, upheaval, and malcontent. It’s a constant struggle to stay hopeful and optimistic when the barrage of breaking news stories serve to make us even more cynical about the direction humanity is headed in. While it’s easier to sit back and continue to watch the world burn all around us, I take comfort in knowing that there are still some safe spaces left to retreat to when everything gets too overwhelming. In times like these I go back to the video games that offer me some escape.
When I became a gamer I naturally built a collection of video games I know I can revisit any time I need to see old friends and retread familiar ground. These are the games that can easily put my mind at ease and make me forget the awful reality that’s currently unfolding right now. Among the games I can easily return to for a great escape are the Dragon Age series, Mass Effect series, and Final Fantasy XV. Why these three games in particular? Because they’re set in fantasy worlds with characters you want to spend several hours traveling with.
The worlds of Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy XV are so far removed from my own world that it’s easy to get wrapped up in the joys and troubles presented in each of them. Magic exists, travel to exotic new locales is all but guaranteed, and goodness will always prevail over evil. Not that Thedas, the galaxy, or Insomnia are perfect worlds. Each one in their respective games have their own set of problems and issues that need to be dealt with, but taking on those challenges feel much more manageable and doable compared to figuring out how to fix climate change or corrupt government systems. Regardless of whether or not I actually do finish a second playthrough of any of these games, the one thing I know for certain is how it ends.
My memories of these games are tied to the good feelings and experiences I had with them. Even as I go back and play one side quest or replay one chapter of the game, I feel better knowing that there are some constants in your life that won’t ever change or make you feel miserable. Life is uncertain, but at least your video games don’t have to be.
When times are tough and unpredictable fantasy is the salve to soothe an anxious mind. It’s the genre I’ve always had an affinity towards and is my soft place to land when reality becomes increasingly difficult to handle. If we can all teleport to a place that’s more exciting and less scary than our own world we’d probably do it. For me, playing these video games are the comfort food I’ll keep coming back to while the world continues to be a little unsteady. It also serves as a reminder to keep dreaming and hoping for a reality where justice, compassion, and love will still find a way through in the end.
What are your go-to video games to play during troubled times?