Stress is often called a disease of civilization of the 21st century. Permanent lack of time for oneself has a negative impact on our health and lifestyle. Everyone needs a getaway these days.
Can we find it in front of a computer screen?
We live in times of increasing pressure; we constantly need to kick into high gear to keep things under control. Everyday chores require us to be continuously active, and the pace of life is becoming more and more frantic. Most of us have a feeling that 24 hours in a day is too short to fit all our activities in. We feel like we don’t have enough time to sleep, to fulfill our everyday duties at home, to learn or to work on our self-development.
This way we accumulate stress, and to let it go, we need time to rest; to get engrossed in something we enjoy doing. But because we have no time to do that, anxiety feeds back, and the thought about the need to rest becomes a stressor itself…
There are thousands of relaxation techniques, and everyone can find something suitable for themselves. Some experts suggest changing your surroundings, lifestyle or work will do the trick. Others claim it’s better to keep a distance, make to-do lists, establish priorities, take up a diet, go to the seaside, workout regularly and spend as much time as you can outdoors.
Luckily for us, recent research has shown that… video games can reduce stress, too. Scientists have debunked the myth about their harmfulness and tendency to increase aggression levels, and the suspicious attitude towards video games is slowly changing. Even casual games like Angry Birds can boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety (‘EEG, HRV and Psychological Correlates while Playing Bejeweled II: A Randomized Controlled Study,’ Russoniello CV, O’Brien K, Parks JM – https://www.ecu.edu/cs-hhp/biofeedback/upload/EEG-HRV-and-Psychological-Correlates-while-Playing-Bejeweled-II-A-Randomized-Controlled-Study.pdf).
But what should we play?
Does that mean a game will help us reduce stress whenever we have a spare moment? Is it enough to buy a random game on Steam to feel relaxed?
Of course not – different people will enjoy playing different games, that’s quite obvious. However, let us present you with some game titles that you should give a try. All these games are characterized by calm, peaceful gameplay that does not require players to push forward or complete one mission after another. This way you can play them when you get back home after a tiring day at work, and during a short break at work.
In the beginning, we learn about the past of the main protagonist. The bittersweet story helps us take on the role of Henry with whom we will spend several hours of gameplay. Henry has some issues and a difficult past behind him. He runs away from his daily routine to take a job as a fire lookout in the American state of Wyoming. Firewatch is an exploration game that allows players to move around certain locations. There is a certain mystery hidden in the plot – soon strange things begin happening to Henry, but the pace of the gameplay does not force us to hurry, and most emotions are expressed with Henry’s tone of voice. Henry is alone most of the time, and his only means of communication is a walkie-talkie connecting him to another person.
Firewatch is a perfect game for those fatigued by everyday tasks and longing for a bit of solitude. Whenever your wallet or professional duties don’t allow you to buy a ticket for the next flight to some secluded place, you can try to get immersed in the world created in Firewatch. Moreover, if you turn off tracking mode and simply start off into the forest, you will quickly find yourself amidst the wilderness of Wyoming landscapes. Only you, your compass and breathtaking views.
source: author’s own
Is there anyone who has never dreamed about playing hooky from work? About leaving all the paperwork, telephone calls and overtime behind? About giving up a managerial position and starting a life in the country, away from everyday city hustle?
Stardew Valley is perfect for audience hungry for such experiences. In one moment, you can forget about the useless and unappreciated work you are required to perform every day, just to become a farmer in another. Don’t worry, there’s no space for real-life problems here. You wake up, feed livestock, furnish your house, talk to your friends and earn in-game money making fruit jam. All in-game mechanics are solid and simple enough for a beginner to understand. Life goes by slowly and repeatedly – no pressure, no hustle: just you, your livestock and your fields.
Stardew Valley is characterized by repeated and exceedingly short day/night cycle. Idyllic farmer lifestyle offered by the game brings players peace, and the fact that it does not impose any clear ultimate purpose make players uninterested in competing or increasing the pace of the game.
The Witness does not offer players game attributes typical for popular games, such as opponents, weapons, death or racing. Number None game developer has created a game perfect for logical puzzles aficionados. Players are expected to solve puzzles and look for hints hidden within the environment. The game also involves the exploration of an open world island. In this world, there are no threats and no need to hurry. There are only sounds, lights, landscapes, colors and overwhelming tranquility. Players are free to unravel the mysteries of the unpopulated island, but the gameplay itself does not force the player to do anything. We are free to explore the land and make progress in our own pace.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
ETS2 is an engrossing vehicle simulation game allowing players to drive one of a choice of articulated trucks across a depiction of Europe. Unlike in real life, there are no major unpleasant surprises or threats. Our task is to make a successful hired driver delivery between certain locations. If you ever feel an urge to get into a car after a long day’s work and just drive ahead… That’s a game for you. There’s no intricate plot or demanding tasks. You can simply relax by listening to raindrops falling on the rooftop and windshield of your truck, and look at wipers moving back and forth…
Games provide us with myriad of options
These are only several games you can try, but there are hundreds of others to choose from. Luckily, today the gaming market is so enormous that you are not limited to a mere list of recommended titles. One person will find a shooter relaxing, while the other will enjoy a simple browser game. Just find something that suits you, and give it a try.
Then, find the time to play it.
The list is not exhaustive – can you tell us what game helps you relax? What do you play after a long day?