I wanted to write about a favorite subject of mine, Role-playing video games. I started playing Shadow of War this week, and it reminded me how role-playing games were always a great coping mechanism for my depression.
I have played role-playing games since I was a young kid playing Dungeons and Dragons at school with my fellow role-playing friends. It was always a fun and amazing experience, and I still remember going to my friend’s house in middle school for a D & D weekend.
It was around my early middle school years that I first started playing role-playing video games. The earliest one I remember was Diablo and its sequel Diablo II. These were the typical slasher role-playing games but there was still some layer of strategy. Then I discovered a game called Wizardry 8, a turn-based RPG that really changed my life.
Turn base is layering your strategy within the characters allowed in the game. It varies from game to game, and in Wizardry 8 you start with six but can have eight. You always should have a strategy. A tank player who can take damage, a couple of range attackers, a magic attacker, a rogue, a healer, and maybe even another strong frontline strong tank character.
Over the year’s games have gotten better. One of my favorite series (in which I have played every game) is the Elder Scrolls series. This series has even launched into the MMORPG type of game (massive-multiplayer online role-playing game.) MMO’s are so amazing because they always evolving and adding new things to the games like new mounts or events. The downside is that you have to spend a lot of real money in the game. I have played other great RPG series like the Dark Souls series (which each game is one of the hardest games I have ever played) and the Dragon Age series. Just to name a few.
I have had a long history in playing RPG’s and MMO’s in my life, but this is about more than what I play. These games have always helped me cope when the real world gets too complicated.
I often talk about how depression has been in my life since I was a teenager or maybe even earlier. What appeals to me about role-playing games is that it allow me to escape the real world for hours or days at a time. That escape means the world to me because there have been so many times that I have been confined to my own residence for weeks, months, and even years at a time. (Due to depression or anxiety.)
In a role-playing game, I can be who I want to be, the hero the saves the day. I can make decisions in real time gaming that I would never do in real life. It’s an escape, even just for a moment. Role-playing games and the stories that are presented within the game always gets me. I write for the love of a good story. There so many great stories within the confines of a role-playing game. The characters all have their own story to tell.
There are times where we just want to escape from the reality of life because sometimes life is not easy to get through when you have a mental illness. I get to escape from reality within the books I read but it’s a different rush. I don’t have to do a whole lot when I play a role-playing video game. I have come up with so many levels of strategy over the years that role-playing games are like second nature to me, and I love them because escaping for a few hours is a great feeling.
I am curious about what you use to cope with depression?
While video games have worked for me over the years it is certainly not a cure-all. When I have my depression under control it’s because of varying factors, but video gaming is an important part of the process.
What role-playing games do you play? Let me know in the comments.
Photo Credit: Pawel Kadysz