Tetris Effect and Mental Wellbeing
Posted by x2e
13th Jan 2019

I originally wrote this Blog after realising how after receiving Tetris Effect as a christmas gift that i had refrained from self harming during the period that i had been playing the game. In the blog i mention briefly my various Mental Health issues but as the original blog was aimed more towards gamers i omitted the full details. However as i feel the benefit to my own mental wellbeing has been so positive it would be remiss of me to not share this post with a wider audience.

I have been diagnosed with BPD and as those who have the same condition you will be aware of the name change it has recently been given to EUD, I also struggle with self-harm and self-destructive behaviours. Prior to my 30s i refused to acknowledge i had any issues at all but like so many that refuse to seek help it caused misory to those closest to me, Yet getting help may seem a struggle it is out there if you ask, yes even for a male over 40 true it is sadly a post code lottery and the waiting times can be rather long but help is available.Butt that does not mean that there is not ways in which we can help ourselves. Gaming has always been one coping strategy that has worked for me and Tetris Effect is the latest game that has given me much needed realise. If you would like to know in more detail how it has helped me or the benefits feel free to drop me an email. Also likewise regrading BPD self-Harm or just being a bloke with mental health conditions and need to vent

What do you get if you cross the most addictive video game the world has ever seen with a VR experience exclusive to the PS4 well exclusive? For now, anyway, as this is far more than just a game I would be surprised if it does not make its way to other VR platforms. But as for onto the Switch or Xbox a really wouldn’t bother as in its Flat form it does not have the same impact, but I digress from the opening question and the answer is obvious you get a masterpiece in VR gaming and so much more, so much more in fact I have decided to write this Blog as I could not explain how much this game has benefited me in tweets alone.

Those of you who know me in the real world will know about my various mental Health conditions and those of you that don’t a brief explanation I have various mental health conditions as well as recently being diagnosed with Autism so there you go brief but to the point, Feel free to ask me on twitter if you really need to know more but I will say I am no expert am just an old bloke whom manages these various conditions in various ways and some work some not so much.

OK now its all out in the open I will tell you why for me and I stress this is my own onion and written based on my own experiences with the game and how it has benefited me, I do have a background working with older children with similar conditions to myself both with in PRUs and specialist schools however even though I have this background and have been educated accordingly my account of Tetris Effect is my own I will share it only with the hope that others like myself may benefit as I have done.

Tetris Effect is a game for most and as a game it is nothing new its Tetris for Chris’s Sake it’s been around almost as long as I have and for those as old as me, we have had seen many variations of the game on multiple formats. Almost all of them have been worth playing yes even the phone ones and the dodgy versions found on the handhelds that you can buy at the Male Airport, all expect when EA got their grubby cash filled fingers on it how they managed to take Tetris and milk like a new mum on the seventh night feed I will never know but that’s another Blog entirely. But as I say as a game its Tetris its fun its as addictive as Tattoos and with VR you really do get transported into various worlds that will amaze as much as the entertain. It is perhaps no surprise that it has won some well-deserved awards and praise from gamers around the globe. As a VR show piece it is more than just your standard oh lets make our latest game VR compatible and towards the end of development just add VR on to the standard game, PSVR has its fair share of these games sure Skyrim and Resi 7 play well in VR but the game was never really focused on VR being a deciding factor they are examples of a nice little extra but without VR they still great games and VR add on is not really improved them. Others try and fail with their VR add on content am looking at you GT sport the VR adds nothing more to the game other than showing what it is lacking GT sport VR is like that super model picture you had on your wall during your teenage years sure you can look and admire it but that’s as far as you getting and just like those teenage years you will be left unfulfilled after about 5min, playing GT sport in VR yep it has the wow factor yes it looks fantastic yet after those 5 minutes you will be left a little flaccid.
Tetris Effect is the opposite it was never really meant to be played without VR sure you can but it really does not do it justice in fact after trying it flat if I did not have VR I would not be playing it as much nor would I rate it as one of the best Tetris games since the Gameboy. You can tell that the game was made for VR and all involved in bringing it to the PS4 should be proud of what they have achieved. As I have found after many hours playing it as a game that they have understood what VR can and should do. It is much more than a VR experience it is a VR master class so far from my perspective only two games have managed to pull this off the first being Wipeout as like Tetris Effect you can play it without VR but you really shouldn’t . Both these games stand head and shoulders above other VR tittles and set the precedent of how VR should be done and how it can move forward within the current generation of consoles. For those reasons I believe that Tetris Effect may never make it to the Switch or Xbox One as if it did appear on those platforms it would not be the same game and certainly not have the same impact. Sorry Switch dudes your fancy handheld with delusions of grandeur just aint made for such a game. Plus side though there plenty of other Tetris games available and without Nintendo Tetris would not be as huge as it is. Am sure I will be left eating those words as one day Tetris Effect may well get on the Switch after all Money talks and fair play with a game this good it should be available to all just don’t expect it soon and if it does happen try not to judge it by the same standards as the version that has won all those awards as your experience will not be same obviously.

As a game Tetris Effect is good and offers a decent challenge to gamers of all ages (unless under 13 Sony recommends that VR players be over the age of 13) But as I mentioned Tetris Effect is much more than a game. I would like to think that those involved in the game’s development realised the potential for this game or it was like most children a happy accident either way I am sure I am not the only one that sees the benefit to Mental wellbeing whilst playing Tetris Effect. Being on the Autistic spectrum but not knowing it all of my childhood as well as most of my adult life I have always struggled with my mental wellbeing. This has at times caused me to use some very unhealthy coping techniques over the years these have included self-harm self-abuse alongside others that have left me not only scared but broken in many ways. This is not a X Factor sob story those are just the facts and I am lucky to be still here and thankful for the support I have now.
However Recently after having a relapse with the self-harm I realised I needed to find a new more productive coping technique I turned to exercise and like everything I do I did it to the point of breaking and broke myself so no sooner had it started working I was told I had to slow down. For people like myself you will understand that being told one thing does not necessarily mean that you will follow the advice even if it is what’s best for yourself, Then shortly after being told that It was confirmed that I was indeed on the Autistic spectrum. Finally something I understood and looking back what was once described as either a Panic attack or in some cases violent behaviour it clicks into place that at those times I was just being sensory overwhelmed.

Good I understand how to help others with Autism so maybe I could help myself. That’s when playing Tetris Effect become more than a game and became my favourite coping strategy. For those with Autism or know someone on the Spectrum you will be able identify their triggers for myself I now know when am having moment and at those times well they can be difficult especially when you have three kids all under 8 but as long as I can identify these triggers I can prepare for the outcome, Sure sometimes it’s not possible to remove myself from the situation life don’t care if I have or anybody else has Autism noisy places will noisy play centres are no parents idea of a vacation but with Autism it becomes hell on earth, your weekly shop in Tesco still has to be done even though the only cashier that understands your needs is not in that day and they have changed the lay out of the store. Yep the sad truth is life is not Autism friendly but just because we have it does not mean the world has to pander to our needs as Spock once said the needs of many out way the needs of the few. It’s up to each and every one of us to find the right way to manage our conditions. If I have had a difficult day I may be lucky and be able to remove myself from that environment or use my earphones but sadly sometimes the quickest solution is to self-harm (this is not a pro self-harm blog it has worked for me in extreme cases it is not recommended and i will advise anyone that suffers with long term self-abuse to seek help from a professional. There is help available and you are not alone) I myself am trying to reduce my dependency on self-harm as a coping strategy. As of the time writing this it has been three weeks since I last used it to get through the day. Why and how? I must thank Tetris effect.
As a coping strategy tool Tetris Effect works in fact VR itself has many advantages in helping those on the spectrum manage their condition, it has been known for a while that the use of sensory rooms and soothing music including binary beats helps brings calm and relieve for those on the spectrum. VR can be the Ultimate sensory room if used correctly. As of yet I am unaware of any places that use VR for this reason alone and Tetris Effect is a game first however certain levels and modes can be used and I myself use it to get me through a difficult moment. The only disadvantage is finding the correct stage to use and as it is a game first it needs to be played and completed to achieve this. And let me tell you for all the benefits Tetris Effect has for me there was some levels that had the opposite effect, so I would advice if using it to help someone on the spectrum either play through the game yourself first or if you a non-gamer feel free to ask myself either via twitter or email.

In summary Tetris Effect is a great game but it also has soothing and mental health benefits I would recommend it and VR to help those on the Spectrum and with other mental health conditions.

Happy Gaming

Views are my own. Images have been sourced via the internet and belong to the owner I have taken them from the Tetris Effect

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