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The Holidays Can Be Stressful: Take A Game Prescription

Look, just ditch the meds. We're a critically over-medicated country already. If you've got the holiday blues, there are things you can do to relieve accumulated stress and tension.

Although it may sound simple and even cliched to "escape," that is very often what the body requires most. So if you're one of the Black Friday maniacs or holiday shopping in general just gets you all frazzled, or your family or friends or coworkers (or all three) are just driving you nuts, there are some games that can help. You just have to know where to look.

First on my list is Flower. The gem from Thatgamecompany is simple, accessible, and oh so relaxing. You just press a button and off you fly; you become the wind, guiding an ever-increasing tendril of petals, opening closed buds and restoring life to an expansive landscape. Green and blue supplants brown and gray. The carefully selected musical pieces act like an invisible masseuse, massaging away little pockets of stored tension. It's not complex enough to really think about, which is precisely what we very often desire. We're not sitting and staring; we are doing something, and that something is having a surprisingly profound effect on our well-being. Of that, I am absolutely certain.

You really can't go wrong with Thatgamecompany's more recent masterpiece, either: Journey. That demands a bit more attention and is slightly more intricate, but the accessibility remains high and the primary goal remains very much the same: An oddly surreal, haunting, ultimately relaxing adventure, almost a spiritual trek of sorts. Now, if you want to get your brain a little more involved, my third recommendation would be echochrome, which is a puzzle game with a rapturous score and a wickedly unique puzzle perspective. Essentially, what you see becomes reality...seems straightforward but good Lord, it really isn't in later levels. Still, it focuses your mental energy and as such, causes nerves to dissipate.

What games would you recommend as therapy?

Tags: gaming, video games, gaming culture, holidays, gamers

11/22/2012 10:16:25 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

Dirt
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 10:43:16 PM
Reply

Splatterhouse. Good old therapeutic, gut-strangling fun. :P

In all seriousness, TGC's games really know how to calm me down. Flower after a really hectic day is actually very therapeutic.

I also like to play some Spider-Man games when I'm feeling rushed. Web-swinging through NYC helps me out for some reason. Maybe it's the feeling of freedom.

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Nas Is Like
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 11:57:09 PM

What's your favourite Spiderman game?

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Dirt
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 2:07:32 AM

I like Ultimate Spider-Man, for its free-flowing web mechanics and simple gameplay. Web of Shadows is really fun to play, too.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 11:33:58 PM
Reply

DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball on Xbox1. It's a bouncy little vacation with great relaxing tunes and a strangely satisfying smoothness to every subtle nicety.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 1:41:23 AM

Ah yes, that would've been a pick of mine as well.

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cLoudou
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 11:34:13 PM
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how about a game that just came out a few weeks ago : The Unfinished Swan.

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Temjin001
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 12:24:22 AM
Reply

I've been playing Xenogears. It's relaxing. It's very story driven and has great music. I can't say its as relaxing as Lost Odyssey which nearly puts me asleep, because Xeno's camera just drives me nuts pretty often. Lost Odyssey also has written short stories littered throughout which often include soothing background sounds. As for Xenogears camera and fov orientation, I think I'm getting almost used to it. I have to say I nearly had it with the game early on when I exited out the entrance of the forest two or three times because I couldn't see where the crap I was going.

Great stuff besides that!

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Drake_RB3
Saturday, November 24, 2012 @ 11:22:36 AM

Glad to hear you're enjoying it. It's a great game. I always loved the battle system and the characters voice attacks.

I actually think Ellie sounds a lot like Lei Fang from DOA (at least for 2 on PS2).

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BikerSaint
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 1:20:46 AM
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I'd suggest some relaxing self-indulgence in the artistic color palette that's called "Okami".

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___________
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 3:07:47 AM
Reply

nothings more therapeutic than splatterhouse!
just the sadistic style of the game, and its raw oldschool style and mechanics just harkens you back to the days where hey i finished a game actually meant something!
not these days where a freaking 5 year old could plat whatever they wanted!
wish they would do a new splatterhouse, something a little different with it.
they just dont make games the way they use to!

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Snaaaake
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 4:18:16 AM
Reply

If you.....
Wanna let out some steam, play God of War.
Wanna feel like a pro driver, play Gran Turismo.
Wanna be in awe throughout a gaming experience, play MGS4.
Wanna be like Mike and Kobe, play NBA 2K.
Wanna feel badass shooting alien races, play Gears Of War.
Wanna feel like a master swordsman, play DMC.
Wanna feel like a stealthy guy, play Splinter Cell.

I can go on forever, but anyway, Flower would be the best game to calm ones mind or..........bore the crap out of one.

Last edited by Snaaaake on 11/23/2012 4:18:27 AM

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Drake_RB3
Saturday, November 24, 2012 @ 11:25:01 AM

Put your glasses on,
Nothing will be wrong.
There's no blame, there's no fame, it's up to you.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 8:13:38 AM
Reply

Actually, the Fallout games are a great stress reliever to me. I love to just wander around and enjoy the view (I *love* this setting) and almost guaranteed to stumble across something, big or small, that I've not seen before.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 9:27:39 AM

Me too, the setting is excellent. Wandering the wastes is a treat.

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bigrailer19
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 2:32:48 PM
Reply

CoD zombies, RE6, Dead Island, RDR: Undead Nightmate, The Walking Dead.

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