The Positive Benefits of Video Games
Posted by flowerstar
19th Jan 2021

Just like mental health, there is a stigma surrounding video games. Considering the whole world is currently in a worldwide pandemic, everyone needs video games more than ever to keep us connected and to take our minds off what’s going on in the world. I don’t know what I’d do without video games. They are my rock and what kept me sane throughout the years. They helped me take my mind off my disabilities, insecurities, mental illness, anxiety, and depression.

Video games allow me to be myself but it’s annoying when my family rains on my parade and keeps telling me I’m too old for video games or they ask me if I ever get bored of video games, especially Nintendo games back then. All my family cared about is me finding and getting a job or me doing well in education. This is all well and good but what about other things such as my hobbies and interests, disabilities, and achievements? They’re controlling my life as well as pressuring me to find a job quickly. They’re ignorant to the fact there is still a worldwide pandemic and it’s very hard/impossible to find and get a job, especially in this current climate. It’s apparent my family doesn’t support me in any of these things, let alone care about me. Because of their actions, I’m afraid to tell them anything because I’m worried about how they will react. They tend to explode with rage at the slightest mistake.

When my sister caused me to explode into an outburst (she still denies she has anger issues) and blurt about my mental health issues last year, she and my parents didn’t take the news lightly. She had the gall to turn off the television at the mains while I was playing Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. She then proceeded to physically assault me and as usual, my mum didn’t put in the effort to stop her from hitting me. My younger sister’s physical abuse carried on until I nearly fell off the chair. If my PlayStation 4 broke, she needs to pay me back £199.99. It’s a shame Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair will be remembered by this harrowing incident. Since then, they dared to treat me even worse than before. To make matters worse, my younger sister threatened to kick me out of the house from time to time and she disconnected me from the internet twice. The arguments worsened to the point where we had the police involved. The police were so useless, they didn’t believe me and assumed my family didn’t abuse me. When the police left, they continued to shout at me. Their constant abusive ways made me question my judgement and sanity. To add salt to the wound, my little sister accused me of lying, writing “hitpieces” coupled with inserting real people’s names in said articles and causing trouble.

It’s pathetic my family is trying to take the one thing I have left to defend myself away from me which is writing. As a certain video game character once said, “Sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword”. Since I can no longer physically defend myself due to my baby sister already taking up kung fu, I resorted to writing articles to make me feel better. However, my younger sister is using kung fu for all of the wrong reasons.

On an unrelated note, a so-called “artist” stole one of my screenshots and re-uploaded it to her Twitter account without giving me credit or asking me permission. This current situation is almost similar to the incident with someone else who stole my photograph and re-uploaded it to her Twitter account without giving me credit or asking for permission. I still recall slamming (“slamming”, “slammed” or “slam” mean to criticise someone/something harshly without showing any mercy) her in a Skylar & Plux: Adventure On Clover Island article years ago. In my opinion, it isn’t fair to judge a game before it’s released or before you play it. Comparing a game with an existing franchise that had similar gameplay is like comparing apples to oranges. Judging by her daft logic, Iconoclasts is abysmal due to having almost the identical gameplay to Ratchet & Clank. When I called out the screenshot thief, she blocked me and refused to take it down. She then proceeded to send her “artist” followers and non-artist followers after me. This resulted in me being bombarded with malicious comments which they left on my recent blog post. Months later, I had no choice but to do a DMCA takedown. Since then, they kept on posting verbally abusive comments behind my back on Twitter. This provides me enough evidence that they are cowardly, hiding behind computer screens. This isn’t the first time this happened. An unprofessional “YouTuber” sends his fans after me just because I had a different opinion than the consensus. This goes to show how immature he and his followers are.

Due to COVID-19 taking everything from me, my other hobbies such as cosplay were put on hold and I turned to video games as a coping mechanism and as a hobby. It also showed the true colours of not only my family but also people who I thought were my friends or acquaintances. Despite the coronavirus still running rampant in the world, this year is productive compared to the previous four years in terms of freelance journalism.

Similar to all forms of entertainment, video games serve as portals to fictional, virtual worlds we couldn’t visit in the real world. If I become lost in the video game world positively or if a character resonates with me, then the video game is doing its job correctly. Not to mention, video games are another form of storytelling.

Player characters act as vessels for gamers to control. Once we play as a character, we become that person, experiencing his/her achievements and hardships, meeting and befriending allies, strangers and enemies, and so forth. The protagonists of every video game help us to become immersed in the game worlds.

Identical to cosplay, video games allowed me to become a favourite character for numerous hours or on a day-to-day basis to venture into the virtual world and explore the likes I’ve never seen. For example, the Ratchet & Clank series let me explore outer space and encounter all kinds of aliens and sentient robots in various shapes, sizes, heights, and widths. Not to mention, it allowed me to boldly go where no person has gone before. Who needs to be me when I can be someone else daily or on most days?

Not only is video games a coping mechanism, but it’s also a hobby. These days, not only is it a pastime and a coping mechanism, but I also play them for my freelance journalism job. Without video games, there isn’t anything to do coverage on. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have a huge circle of acquaintances or colleagues from the journalism community.

Not only did video games taught me life skills, but they’ve also taught me life lessons. The Crash Bandicoot games taught me to never give up until I get what I want, the Mario Kart series taught me how to think/plan ahead of time and the Ratchet & Clank franchise taught me eye coordination, how to move on, spread my horizons and go out of my comfort zone to try out something new or different. Bosses serve as “exams” to test the gamer on what he/she learned so far whereas final bosses act as “final exams” to test the player on everything he/she learned throughout a game.

On that note, the Mario Golf series and the Everybody’s Golf franchise taught me the basics of golf, how it’s scored, and the words from the golf glossary. If it weren’t for 20+ years of golf video game experience, I wouldn’t have known anything about the sport in the first place. On the other hand, I also learned a lot of things about tennis from the Mario Tennis series. Witnessing PlayStation characters in the Everybody’s Golf series teeing off is an interesting yet weird sight to behold. Funnily enough, Everybody’s Golf 4 marks Ratchet and Clank’s first encounter with Jak and Daxter.

Throughout my gaming life, I’ve noticed the final boss is nearly always the main villain. Sometimes, one of the characters usurps the primary antagonist and becomes the final boss (for example, Dimentio from Super Paper Mario betrays Count Bleck and fuses with Luigi and the Chaos Heart until they transform into one demented monstrosity. This in turn causes the main heroes to face them in a final showdown) but rarely an ally betrays the main protagonist and becomes the final boss. For instance, Alister Azimuth betrays Ratchet and Clank and becomes the final boss in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time.
Depending on which video game I play, a video game can either relax me or stimulate the mind. Take Animal Crossing: New Leaf, for instance, it relaxes me thanks to its soothing soundtrack. No bubble baths or sleep could amount to that. The music helps me kick back, relax, and let my worries wash away with the tide. It helps me to take it easy. It also helps when there aren’t any struggles, nothing is at stake and the virtual life is almost identical to real life, minus the natural disasters and the human race not getting along or wreaking havoc. The only thing I had to worry about is paying off my mortgage to my landlord, Tom Nook, or if I saved the game correctly lest I get scolded by Mr. Ressetti. Luckily, he is mellowed out (due to the backlash Nintendo received for the game). Fortunately, he allows me to pay it off at my own pace. Sure, the Ratchet & Clank series has taught me how to move on but so did Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Animal neighbours come and go but so do mayors. In other words, animal villagers and mayors leave to move on to pastures anew and open a new chapter in this book of life or venture off to experience new locations, encounter new people, or move to a new home. There’s bound to be mayors (or rather, players) going off on their adventures in other games, never to be seen ever again or they come back after a large amount of time has gone past.

Certain people (especially on the internet) are so quick to judge because they are ignorant of what people go through mentally daily.

Besides video games, I spent the majority of the year being occupied with my freelance journalism job but I also dabble in blogging sometimes. I write mental health articles to make myself feel better and to write out my emotions. Not only are they therapeutic, but they also help me build up the courage and prepare myself to talk about my mental health problems to a therapist in the future.

I get anxious or feel guilty when I don’t do something with my life or when I didn’t work on something and spent the day doing something else. I know I shouldn’t do this to myself and the last thing I want is to overwork myself to the point where I’m burned out.

Nowadays, I’m in a much better place, at least physically. Compared to the houses I lived in throughout the years with my family, my new house is a step-up in terms of space. I now feel just like Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, Disney’s Frozen II and Kingdom Hearts III, I’m finally free and in control of my life. Once I got a taste of freedom, I can never go back to my old nightmarish, traumatic life. 31 years of mental, emotional, and physical abuse from my family, and I finally have closure.

Each video game may not be for everyone but there is something for everybody.

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