Comfort In Troubling Times: Video Games To Get Lost In

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.

Final Fantasy XV [Credit: Square Enix]
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?

13 thoughts on “Comfort In Troubling Times: Video Games To Get Lost In

  1. My three go-to games are Final Fantasy X, Pokemon Yellow and Skyrim. FFX is my favourite game of all time and Pokemon Yellow is purely for nostalgic reasons- both take me back to a time when life was less complicated. As for Skyrim, to this day I can still get lost in this game and spend hours delving into ruins and working my way through the factions.

    1. Great selections! I think the Pokemon games are definitely the feel good type of video games to play when you need a break from the dismal state our world is in as of late.

  2. My go-to games are pretty much any Mario or Metroid game. I have been really enjoying spending time in Ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and a fictional Montana in Far Cry 5.

    1. I think most Nintendo games would apply here! It just makes you feel better after playing them, well, at least if you’re not trying to complete a very frustrating level. I have Odyssey, but haven’t gotten around to playing it yet. Based on some clips I’ve seen, it would be a perfect escape game to play. Love Ancient Greece!

  3. Dragon Age is definitely my go-to game series for this, but really any fantasy RPG with great characters work.
    I haven’t played Final Fantasy XV yet, but the more I hear about it, the more I think I should.

    1. I agree. A lot of RPGs do offer the escape you need from reality. It’s like taking a vacation without ever leaving your living room. I would recommend Final Fantasy XV. I found the world and characters such a joy to get lost in for hours. I was actually sad when I got to the end. Great experience by far.

  4. Dragon Age here, too. And in recent years, I’ve actually found the most comfort in Dragon Age II of all the titles. The friendships/rivalries in that game are well-written, enjoyable, and engaging. It’s almost like having your own virtual social circle with people who listen, shoulders to cry on, and plenty of venting sessions!

    1. Yeah, any of the Dragon Age games are perfect for this kind of checking out from reality. Each Dragon Age game is actually different enough that you can take your pick of which part of the world and characters you want to spend time with. It’s a great series to jump in and out of anytime!

  5. I can relate to you in this! Halo 3 is one of my favorite games because of the memories of playing with friends! Now that I’m 27, my friends have moved all over the country but we play online to keep the connection!!

    1. That’s awesome! Playing online with friends is a great way to stay connected, no matter where you are in the world! Especially now it comes in handy when you can’t meet with friends at the moment.

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