Can video games relieve stress? (Spoiler: Yep)

Spoiler: Video games can relieve stress!The other day I came across an article that talked about video games that relieve stress. Everyone had his or her own list of games that they turn to for comfort.

I had forgotten that games have the ability to help us feel better if we have anxiety or are going through a rough time. This got me thinking about what games I usually turn to for relief.

Spoiler alert: It’s not Grand Theft Auto!

Video games can relieve stress, but for whom?

Everyone deals with stress differently. I think it’s probably common to go hang out with friends and socialize to let off steam and relax. I enjoy socializing, but nothing helps me recharge and relieve stress quite like having time to myself. Being able to become absorbed into something like a game’s universe can have quite a calming effect.

Games I play to relieve stress

Although I read a lot of gaming news and enjoy talking about games, I don’t actually play a lot of them these days. When I do play them however, it can go a long way towards helping me get out of a blue Monday. Here are some of the games I turn to for comfort:

The Batman Arkham Series

Soaring through Gotham as Batman does wonders for my stressI’ve loved Batman since my childhood and that’s probably never going to change. The Arkham games have been some of the most amazing modern gaming experiences for me. What boy in their childhood DIDN’T want to be Batman? The developers of this game series knew exactly what they were doing and their games make you feel like a badass while playing.

Being able to become Batman and roam streets beating up thugs and using a grappling hook to shoot into the night sky is something that never fails to help me relax. It’s so therapeutic that sometimes I’ll tell my wife, “I’m going to go play Batman” and she leaves me to it. She knows how much it can soothe me and take away my stress.

Mario Kart

Let's-a-go!I’m a big fan of Nintendo’s fun racing series. The bright, colorful stages are really enjoyable to race through and it’s a kind of game that can be started and stopped without much hassle. (I have horrible flashbacks of trying to start up a quick game of anything on the PS3)

I had a chance to borrow my nephew’s Wii U a few years ago and I became obsessed with Mario Kart 8. The game is so beautiful in HD and runs at a smooth 60 frames per second. There’s nothing like hitting up online multiplayer and racing people from around the world at night. It’s a perfect way to finish a long day.

Unfortunately, I had to give the Wii U back so I can’t play it anymore. There’s no point in buying one at this point either because Nintendo’s Switch has Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The price of the Wii U in Japan is still expensive and it’s probably better to just get a Switch anyway.

Minecraft

Anyone there?There is definitely something calming about building in solitude. The soundtrack alone from Minecraft is enough to put anyone into a relaxed state. The unfortunate thing is once I start a game, it takes time to get into the zone and figure out what I want to be doing.

I don’t usually have the free time it would take to commit to building projects, so I usually mess around every few months adding to my saved land. I really suck at building anything other than a square house, though.

Honorable Mentions:

The Sims series

I fell in love with it back when the original launched in 2000. I enjoyed SimCity and SimAnt, so I was really looking forward to this unique take from developer Maxis. These sim games are so fun because there really is no way to complete them. You’re given a simulation and some tools to do things and it’s up to you to decide how you want to play. That’s probably why The Sims series is one of the most popular PC games of all time. There’s no right way to play.

Funny enough, none of my friends ever understood the appeal of this game. I can’t play this series anymore these days due to lack of time. However, I find myself enviously watching YouTuber LGR show off the latest expansion/stuff packs.

Civilization series

I first got into Civ with the release of Civ 5. Oh my god, the amount of time this game can devour from your life is staggering. While I do love to spend time playing, it takes so long to get anywhere that I’ve had to promise never to open the game if I know I don’t have a ton of time to kill.

This game could easily suck an entire day away from me which is not what I need at this point. Can it make you forget your stress? Yes. Will it cost you your life and time with your family? Absolutely. Whether that’s a glowing recommendation or a warning, I leave it to you, my friends.

Second Life

Hahaha, let’s all laugh at the guy that plays that oddly named game known for being full of weirdos and perverts. For those that don’t know, Second Life is a virtual world comprised completely of user-created content. Your avatar can be anything you want: a human, a car, etc. 

Anyway, the thing I love about Second Life is just how relaxing and chill it can be. You can find all kinds of places depending on your mood. One of my favorite things to do was to hang out at a quiet place and either enjoy the ambient music or have conversations with friends. One place I used to visit was a rainy area that had moody street lights. I often would park my character there and listen to the rain while doing something else. These days one of the many rain noise websites get the job done, though. Still, nothing quite like relaxing in a cool environment and chatting with friends.

What about you?

What video games do you play to relieve stress? What specifically about the games helps you feel better or relaxed? I’m interested in what other people are playing these days to let off steam. Are you a day gamer or a night gamer? Let me know in the comments what games you turn to for comfort.

Pull up a chair, have some coffee, share a comment!