Video Games as a Coping Mechanism

This post is a response to Dark Souls Used to Combat Depression by Link the Fire.

Video games can be art, video games can just be games, but video games can also make a difference. It is typically frowned upon to spend an entire day playing a game. There are always going to be people who feel that way. Many of these people will also spend entire days binge watching netflix, but I digress.

Video games can help people. They’ve certainly helped me, and they have helped countless others as well. The post by Link the Fire talks about two specific young men who suffer from depression. They equated their mental battle with this illness to their actual battles in Dark Souls.

When I was a kid and I would come home from a bad day at school I would turn on my nintendo 64 and play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This was a game that I had beaten at least fifty times by that point, probably more, but it helped me. It let me leave my struggles and my sadness behind and immersed me in a different world. This escapism helped me cope with bigger issues later on in life without resorting to self-destructive behavior.

Escapism in games is often seen as a bad thing. People say that it is a sign of “video game addiction,” and that it can cause people to lose touch with reality. That was not the case for me, and that was not the case for these brave souls as well.

Dark Souls is a game about moving forward. Every obstacle will try to slow you down or stop you entirely, and many of them will succeed to some degree, but ultimately it is your choice as the player to give up or to press on. It is a bleak and oppressive game rife with sadness and suffering, but there is always a light in the blackness. Dark Souls is seen as a right of passage for many gamers due to its difficulty. This competitive nature, this drive to succeed can carry over after the game is finished.

The Souls games have developed an incredible community the likes of which I myself have never seen before. Everyone is so willing to give advice and share tips. It is a community where everyone strives to improve and everyone is willing to share their knowledge, experiences, and stories. The games can be challenging, but when we all suffer through them together, we all suffer less.

Here’s a video that fits the theme of this post. Don’t go hollow-


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