Tell me about how gaming has helped you

Hm64box

I posted this on my tumblr today about how Harvest Moon 64 saved my stomach lining from being eaten away by anxiety. I’m interested if any of you have had experiences you’d be interested in divulging about how gaming has helped you through a difficult time, or a significant instance in which it made you think differently about something, or any way in which it has improved you.  If you have a personal blog you could post it there, and either reply to this post or my tumblr post with a link to the entry. Or if you want to explicate in a comment you can do that too.

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52 Responses to “Tell me about how gaming has helped you”

  1. Javier says:

    Sadly I dont have a blog so bear with this long comment.
    My sister ( who i think more as a mother) found out she had cancer 2 years ago. I didn’t get as bummed out as I should have and I can honestly say it was due to pokemon, Leafgreen to be exact. My sister was a huge pokefan while she took care of me and I remember watching the show with her everyday after kindergarten ( theres a 15 year difference between us so she was 20 at the time) . Now that I play leafgreen again I always make her dream team and remember the days where I would watch her play pokemon endlessly. So in a way Leafgreen helps out by bringing out the good memories again.

  2. Nothing jumps to mind personally, but you might enjoy this post by Tom Armitage on a similar topic: http://infovore.org/talks/if-gamers-ran-the-world/

    • LibraryDan says:

      I read that and I have to agree with one of the points he made for sure. Video games helped/help me with my fear of failure. I’ve always had this odd barrier to doing things cause I might not do them well enough. This even extended to games themselves for a fair while. Then I picked up a DS and for the longest time there was no cheat device that worked for it. I really wanted to play the games but I couldn’t guarantee victory. So I took the plunge and played them legit. And I learned that it’s ok to fail sometimes cause you learn something from every failure (even if it is just “don’t do that again”). I still struggle with my anxiety over failure but it hasn’t been nearly as crippling as it was before I started “failing” at games.

  3. Laura S says:

    There were several summers of my youth where I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have video games. One in particular was when my mom went through a weird stalker phase where she kept spying on one of her ex boyfriends after he cheated on her, and we basically spent 5 hours a day sitting in the car with the radio off. It became routine for me to grab a pack of spare batteries, my Gameboy color, my ear buds, and Pokemon Gold. I spent more time with Typhlosion than I did with any of my friends that year.

  4. Jonathan M. says:

    I was having a really horrible semester at school. It was time for finals and I was stressed out of my MIND. I could only pass a class if I did really good on the final. This was when God of War 3 came out, and wow did it work wonders. I remember getting up to the point where you (spoiler) can beat Zeus to oblivion for however long you wanted. Needless to say, I did and I even paused the game on that part (for about two days). I ended up acing that final….and beat the game.

  5. Steven Ye says:

    Chrono Trigger is not only one of my favourite games, but it also holds a special place in my heart because it taught me how to read. I know you guys give JRPGs a lot of shit because of the constant grinding often required to simply progress the game further, but I feel that Chrono Trigger had a very well-scaled progression in terms of experience and stat point gains from simply maintaining a party throughout the game, requiring little-to-no backtracking for grinding for experience. It also helps that there aren’t any random encounters, with battles usually only occuring if you touch an enemy on the screen by walking into it.

    My older brother bought a Super Nintendo the year it came out, and before Chrono Trigger, the only game I played on the SNES was Super Mario World. We had a large assortment of games, but I only delved into Chrono Trigger, our only RPG, in ’98, when I was five. I was totally capable of sounding out words and reading sentences and such, but I played Chrono Trigger because I loved the music, as well as the visual art of the game (the magic spell animations, and the beautiful 16-bit 2D sprites you just don’t often see anymore). My brother told me that the game was very story-driven and that it would be difficult for me to enjoy if I didn’t know what was going on.

    So, I spent a LOT of time talking to EVERY NPC in the game. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about what was going on, thinking that every piece of dialogue was essential to the experience. I took it upon myself to understand whatever concepts were presented to me, and the only real comparisons I could make at the time were biblical, since the only major piece of literature I really knew at the time was The Bible, through my Catholic upbringing. With only this, Chrono’s sacrifice halfway through the game felt very deep and endearing to me.

    I loved every character, and this game showed me how much enjoyment I could actually get out of reading. After finishing the game, I went on to play through Super Mario World again, this time reading every one of those speaker-shaped dialogue boxes, providing me with what was once a bit of hidden characterization.

    Today, I don’t have the habit of reading through every piece of text I find in a game, which I blame on my conditioned need for instant gratification through more fast-paced, action-y video games. But were it not for Chrono Trigger, I wouldn’t have the interest I have in literature that I do now. This game didn’t teach how to be literate. It taught me comprehension, to think about whatever I’m reading and thinking about it, rather than taking the text at face value.

    • Zach says:

      This is probably the most significant contribution that gaming has had on my life as well. I learned to read from Final Fantasy IV and Super Mario World.

      There are also a few specific memories that stand out, like faking sick to play through Paper Mario during a particularly shitty school year, and later playing through Mario Galaxy during the week that a friend and classmate died from cancer. In both cases, they were mostly just distractions, but they were certainly welcome distractions.

  6. pete says:

    i rember when i played ther games anmal crossing. i had lots of frends wen i had none in reel life. the anmals looved me lots and i evn got one of dere pictures. she was a bunny and i liked her lots. i had a big house and my mom sent me lots of leters. my rel life mom did not talk to me much so it made me feel better.

  7. Benzur says:

    About 4 months ago, I had one of the heaviest nights of drinking I had in a good 2-3 years. Needless to say the next morning, I was not as right as rain. As the 2 hour car ride back to the office started (oh yes, it was a work day) I could feel my stomach begin to spin in every direction. I knew I wasn’t going to make it very far.

    I was with a new group of people who I was trying pretty hard not to embarrass myself in front of so I tried to hold my shit together. It wasn’t going so well. We got about a mile on the highway and I knew it goes “go time”. I asked the driver to pull over at the nearest gas station. He said it was a good 10 miles down the road. I started to panic… I knew I wasn’t going to make it 10 miles, so I started distracting myself with anything I could find. Being easily carsick in combination with a heavy night of drinking did not bode well.

    I sat in the front passenger seat actually humming out loud the soundtrack to Minecraft. It soothed me in a way I could not understand. Thinking about those little blocks being stacked together and digging through the earth made my stomach subside. Looking off at the horizon and actually humming the music aloud actually saved me from a potentially incredibly embarrassing experience.

    Needless to say work was a total bitch once I actually started. However, I think it’s safe to say that Minecraft saved me that day. Thank you, Notch and C418. I owe you one ;)

  8. chris rob says:

    i rmember when i was a kid i played a lotta those games on the ninento 64 my favorit one was the one with banjoe kazoey i loved bers and birds so it was perfecd for me and it was fun banjoe two es was fun too because it was the nexct game after the firsd one i realee wish ninento wod stop making bad things and make fun things again.

  9. I wrote my response to this and put it on tumblr, but it occurs to me that this website probably has a larger audience that I could whore myself out a bit to, so here: http://optimisticcynic.tumblr.com/post/9061965636/gaming-the-childhood-friend-that-grew-up-with-me

  10. RoboFartGasm says:

    Mirror’s Edge actually inspired me to get off my ass and exercise. I think it was the game’s unique first-person platforming, and how immersive it felt, that eventually made me take up jogging at a nearby park. Sometimes I’d even listen to the theme song “Still Alive” by Lisa Miskovsky.

  11. Oded says:

    I’ve always been an RTS fan, so I played Age of Empires 3 when it came out. I was captivated by the unique unit costumes, the setting (17th to early 19th century America) and the general air of the period. After I finished some campaign missions, I found myself spending more time in the in-game encyclopedia then playing the actual game.
    Then Civ IV came and went, and again I spent more time in the Civpedia then actually nuking Gandhi or whatever. I think I actually bought Civ Colonization just for the CivPedia in it, and never actually finished a single game.

    Long story short, these RTSs (Along with Rise of Nations, Europa Universalis 3, Anno 1404 and Pirates!) made me realize I’m interested in history in general and 13th to 19th century western history in particular.

    As of now, I’m a second year student of history and enjoying every minute. Gaming made me realize my true passion is for study of a certain kind, and I could not be happier.

  12. Seebach says:

    Soon after I was born, my parents got a divorce. So growing up, my older sister and I oscillated between my mom’s house and my dad’s houses. My memories of that time are a bit fuzzy, but I have two memories of my dad from before I could walk. One of them is my father yelling at my mother while I was trying to crawl away, and the other is my father holding up a Super Nintendo, saying “This is mine, I’m just letting you look at it.”. It was a brand new console bundled with a copy of Super Mario World which he never looked at again. I clearly remember the image of Mario riding Yoshi in a corner of that huge box. That was my first introduction into video games.

    From before I could read to around 3rd grade, every weekend my sister and I spent at my father’s house was used to play Super Mario World and we never even beat the game. We just played the first few levels of World 1 over and over again to distract us from being with our father. He wasn’t a bad dad, at least bad in the sense he was openly malicious, he just would forget to take care of us or disregard our safety. For all his flaws, gaming was the one gift that I got from my father, and for that I can forgive him for never being there for us.

    Over the years gaming has solved lots of my problems, too many to digress here, or really anywhere. Like all art, gaming can be many things to many people. They were my distraction, my hobby, and one day when I’m finished with my degree, my profession.

    Also, Harvest Moon 64 was awesome! I had a similar anxiety problem where any 3D graphics made me motion sick and Harvest Moon had that view rotation, and because of its repetitive nature it helped me get over it. Perhaps Harvest Moon or elements of its formula can be isolated as a form of rehabilitation or therapy? Might be onto something there.

  13. Jonathan says:

    About half a year back me and pretty much all my friends got caught for smoking weed (not caught red handed, it was an ongoing investigation).
    I had some heads up since my friends were disappearing slowly and one of them warned me, but it’s still not a pleasant experience when you get woken up by two cops with a search warrant and then taken to the station for 8 hours where a bitch behind a desk tries to get you to rat out your friends.

    Before before they sent me home, I had to sign a release stating I wouldn’t talk to anyone involved in the case for 30 days (and they didn’t state who, they just said I “know who it is”, so i had to stay away from all of my friends) and 5 days house arrest on top of that.

    Now this may seem minor and temporary, but most of the time i was in my house i spent contemplating which of my “friends” ratted me out and having uncomfortable silences and occasionally yelling from my mom.
    While I was depressed out of my mind at home i figured I’d play portal, since I wanted to try it for a few months and never really got around to it. Plus I had plenty of time.

    Anyway, In the beginning it just depressed me more, I sympathized with the whole “trapped in a giant lab” feel of the game and for a while i just kept playing because I had nothing else to do.
    But when I finally beat the game and Still Alive played, i felt really relieved and happy, and I think I actually lol’d.

    just the light note that the game ended on made the whole experience bearable for a while, and i still smile when i hear it.

    Oh also a friend of mine which got six months house arrest for “dealing” (he bought stuff for us, never made a profit), was depressed as hell the first couple months too, until a friend of mine loaned him his ps2 and I gave him Tekken 5. Six months later all we do when he comes over is play Tekken 5 and his catchphrase is a devil jin line. so I think that helped a little bit.

  14. vw says:

    This is a small example, but playing Crayon Physics taught me enough about real-life physics that I was able to fix the wobbly shelf in my office at work by putting a counterweight on it.

  15. Johnfin Supreme says:

    Long-time listener, first-time caller.

    I don’t exactly recall how old I was, but Final Fantasy 2 for the SNES taught me how to read for realzies. I could already read, being probably 6 or 7 at the time, but I could only read at that little kid level.

    I had always wanted to play the game, watching my aunt play it every chance I got. I always asked her if I could play, and she told me that I had to read it myself. Knowing how big the game was, it was a tad overwhelming. One day I got sick of waiting, and I broke that bitch out. I dominated. This sparked my love of RPGs that persisted until just recently (because most RPGs just aren’t very good these days)

    As a result of always being immersed in these text heavy games I was at a college reading/comprehension level in grade school, and I was the best reader in my class for most of my school career. Now in my mid-twenties, many of my friends call me up randomly to ask about various words they aren’t sure of.

    Also, Final Fantasy Tactics was the catalyst for my distrust of major religion; Xenogears started me on the path of forming my own thoughts on spirituality; different game soundtracks growing up were what made me really start paying attention to music; and drawing Sonic the Hedgehog when I was little made me the artist I am today. All positive things.

  16. Dillonation says:

    It’s kind of hard to explain but I appreciated your story in a variety of ways, on multiple levels (no pun intended, but accepted). As heartfelt as it was, your story about this game almost fits all the criteria to qualify for a story about how a game has made me think differently about something (in a very positive way). Thanks.

  17. Amanda says:

    My parents divorced when I was in 2nd grade. Leading up to that time, and for years following, when they would fight, I’d go watch my brother play Zelda or Final Fantasy on our SuperNintendo. He rarely let me play, but I’d watch and listen to the music.

    In high school I started composing music. I didn’t realize it until years later, but my inspiration was the music editor in Mario Paint. I didn’t stick with it, but it was a great hobby and I still love classical music.

    My favorite genre now, however, is techno remixes of video game songs. It strikes a certain emotional resonance that I can’t quite explain. It’s soothing. A lot of video game music is brilliantly composed (and highly underrated), and all the synthesized sounds used in techno music really take me back. It helps me relax when I’m stressed.

    Just like watching my brother play video games when my parents were fighting.

  18. Max M says:

    Uh. Jet Set Radio made me want to roller-blade.

    I’m not a very interesting person.

  19. Harvey says:

    Mine’s a very similar story, I had terrible anxiety and stopped eating. Eventually I got diagnosed with major depression, but playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic let me feel like I could still do things and feel successful and was an amazing distraction. Four years on I’m back at college studying games design, I hope that a game I work on has a similar effect on someone having problems, and helps them to cope like games have helped me cope.

  20. I blogged about this a long while back, not so much about how gaming has helped me, more how it has made me:

    http://badgercommander.net/badger-commander-ruminates-why-game

    It broaches how gaming has helped me about 3/4 of the way down

  21. FumieZ says:

    When I was younger I hated to read, I didn’t mind other people reading to me but the thought of myself having to read was horrible lol. So I could read I just didn’t want to like it was the most horrible thing in the world, so of course my reading level was lower then most of the other kids.I was a huge computer nerd by then and I started playing Maple Story. I had never played a game like it before so it was a new experience. Although now Maplestory sucks =3=. During so I’d play it non-stop after school and somehow from that my reading level shot so high that my teacher took me aside to have a talk, asking my how it all of a sudden went up so fast and high. This was about 6ish years ago and now I love to read and can usually read faster then most =3= I’m still kinda horrible at writing but I love to read so lawlz.

    (omfg that was to long xD)

  22. Matthew says:

    I am a cripplingly shy person. Video games have always been my friends.
    Also, I have more hours into Harvest Moon 64 than any other game.
    Also, also, I never get tired of engrish and spelling errors in HM64.

  23. Anna says:

    I don’t remember any remarkable moment a video game helped me to get over something but they helped a lot to learn English! I’ve always been a lazy person when it comes to learning languages but I recognized how important it is to know English if you want to play great games :) The first game I bought to learn English was Ninja Starring Goemon, by the way ^^

    But I also got a bad memory recording video games:
    I’ve always been weak against water… huge masses of water (like lakes, seas, oceans). For that reason it was quite shocking to watch Mario (Super Mario 64) get drowned in the moat by my father. Things didn’t went better when my father started to laugh as soon as I started to cry (at the innocent age of 11)… That’s the dark part of my past and the very beginning of me avoiding water levels in video games as well :(

  24. Katie says:

    Hey Ash! Your post got me thinking, that the greatest lasting effect videogames have ever had on me, is desensitizing me to skeletons, zombies and things that go bump in the night. It sounds silly, but when I was younger, I had a paralyzing fear of… scary things I guess. I hear all kids go through this phase, but mine didn’t go away as I got older. Stuff like Spy Kids (the dude with three heads), the langoliers, or Starship Troopers that most kids thought was pretty dumb would freak me out, and I‘d have a hard time sleeping for weeks after I saw them. Halloween was a holiday I dreaded. I couldn’t go shopping for costumes, and sometimes I would have breakdowns while trick-or-treating. I think I was 11 when I gave up on Halloween all together. Even when I was 13 or 14, whenever a commercial for a scary movie came on I had to close my eyes and even mute the TV or risk losing a week of sleep. I’m not exaggerating, it was very extreme and I can’t explain why I felt this way.

    Around the time I was 12, I discovered Morrowind. It was unlike any game I’d ever played, in that with every dungeon I explored I ran the risk of having crazy ghosts or skeletons jump out at me. As I got used to seeing those things on a regular basis, coupled with the ability kill the things I was scared of, I think I started to improve. I remember playing Fallout 3 for the first time, and at first I couldn’t even look at ghouls. By the end of the game, however, I hardly noticed them. I think I was 17 when I finally could go to see a scary movie with my friends and be the only one that didn’t scream.

    And when (read: this morning) I realized it was games like Thief, Elder Scrolls and Bioshock that changed me, I was just glad that something productive can from all those hours in front of a screen. Now I sleep better at night, and have no embarrassing freakouts, so I’d say the change was for the better.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your HM story. It’s pretty inspiring to hear about games that have healthy effects on people. And thanks for reading mine :)

    • TheSondheimer says:

      Posting this a reply to yours because mine’s just so similar.

      I’m still a fairly cautious person, and a bit timid with new people, but the thing that used to scare me more than anything was zombies. Any time there was an episode of a TV show featuring them, or a video game utilizing them (Redeads in Legend of Zelda, specifically), I would be absolutely terrified, to the point where I had to leave the room during a few of the Treehouse of Horror specials for The Simpsons. I would then have a nightmare each night for about a week about zombies taking over my city, and most of my friends and family becoming one. So you can imagine my fear when Left 4 Dead was released, and my best friend at the time wanted me to play offline co-op with him after he just purchased it.

      We played No Mercy on Easy, with him as Louis and myself as Zoey. At first, we were both just screaming whenever something jumped out at us, but that quickly turned into that playful mix of laughter and screaming. Neither of us noticed while playing it, but we ended up getting the Tank Buster, Witch Hunter, No-One Left Behind, and Stand Tall achievements. We didn’t even realize being incap’d was a thing until we did Death Toll afterward. It was then that I realized that, even if it was just in a video game, I could actually do something to kill the damn zombies.

      While my plan for the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse is still to suicide ASAP, I no longer have those nightmares or crippling fear of the fictional undead, and Left 4 Dead 2 continues to be one of my favourite games of all time.

  25. Lucas says:

    I live in Brazil and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time literally taught me the english language. Obviously in the following years I have deepened my knowledge in the language, but if not through videogames I’d have spent years in english classes like every other kid does around here. Also, videogames, as is music, are wonderful stress-relievers.

  26. That was an amazing story Ash. I have my very own story about how Oddworld Inhabitants and the games have helped me become who I am today and influenced me in many ways. This is my blog post about it:

    http://lobotomythings.blogspot.com/2011/08/youve-made-me-very-odd-person.html

    God I love those people

  27. Lauren says:

    My brother in law died when I was about 19 and I was living with my husband’s (at the time boyfriend’s) parents house. When he passed away. Joe, my husband, starting playing videogames a lot. He didn’t shut out or shut down, he talked and mourned and acted normal, but he was playing a lot of WoW, a lot of Diablo and a lot of RPGs. I think he wanted an escape, and I think RPGs in all forms did that for him. Some of his family and friends noticed and I think wanted to say something, and I was the one to dispel any thoughts that this was a bad thing. I knew why he was doing it and I knew he had to go through this on his own. The games helped a lot, and he talks about his brother and now has a healthy remembrance of him.

  28. C. A. says:

    I don’t have a tumblr, but I totally wanted to respond to this thing. It’d be a lot to type up here, so I made a post about it on my WordPress blog. With all the time I’ve spent playing games, it’d be really odd if they didn’t help me out somewhere along the line.
    http://achikachi.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/how-games-have-helped-me/

  29. Alicia says:

    Video games have always been important to me and always will be.

    The first thing I remember from when I was younger about my sister is playing Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo with her. She is disabled. At the time when she played games with me she would try and help me even though all I did was make her character die over and over. Since then her condition has worsened and she no longer speaks and needs help walking but I will always have fond memories of my sister tied to video games.

    Video games also helped me through a time when my father had an addiction that really messed with him and our family. He was not himself, but whenever him and my mother would start fighting I would lock myself in my room and write, draw or play video games. The fact that video games could give me a temporary break from the real world was always a relief to me. Now he is back to normal and sober. We all play Wii as a family sometimes together.

    Another instance is the situation I am in now. One day when I was preparing to get a tattoo I mentioned that I’d like to get a Zelda tattoo one day once I decide what to get, at that mention another artist who wasn’t working on my tattoo walked over and showed me his Zelda tattoo and I was insanely jealous. But nothing much more was said, awhile later I got my Zelda tattoo and my artist had mentioned the guy from the other shop, which got me thinking, so I got in contact with him. We’ve been together over a year now and I have never been happier in my entire life. People laugh when they hear we both have Zelda tattoos and our apartment is covered in gaming posters and game props, I even made him an Adam Syringe from Bioshock for his birthday last year. We’re both so competitive and into video games. It’s wonderful and just another thing that we bond over.

  30. Brandon says:

    Games were like a big friend to me and still kind of are.
    I never had many friends back then and I only pretty much had myself and the games that i played on the NES, GENESIS, SNES and PC back in the day where games were so unique and awesome.
    I do have friends now but haven’t seen many of them these days for they all work and go to college/university and I don’t do those two things so to reduce my boredom and anxiety I just play games for a couple of hours and for many years I’ve always played up to 2-3 hours tops.

  31. HW says:

    Videogames got me where I am today. Without them literally no aspect of my life would be the same. Let’s see:

    A videogame (.hack// specifically) brought me to a web forum based around it, which in turn shaped my life. The forum was a web RP which kindled the interest I have in writing. Because of that I went to college for writing and eventually graduated with a writing degree.

    Through that forum I met a wide range of people, many of whom I call friends now even after the site has all but died. I have friends around the world because of it, so should I decide to travel, chances are I’d have a couch to crash on, be in a different state or a different country.

    Through that forum I also met a girl who, after some long interaction online, ended up moving in with me. We’ve been happily dating for a couple of years now.

    Because of my interest in writing, I’ve become something of an author. I write for the web at the moment, with aspirations of publishing in other fields. I make my living from web writing, meager though it is.

    So, without that game, and gaming in general, I wouldn’t have the degree I do, the job I have, the relationship I have, or anything that ties into that, like any of my friends or my home.

  32. (anonymous) says:

    all the replies on this page are completely inspirational, and i hesitated to post my own experience just because of fear, or i guess maybe i’m not as good a writer as the others. but it’s not like i have anything to lose, right?

    where do i even begin? i got my nintendo 64 when i was maybe four or five years old. (i’m seventeen now.) playing zelda changed my life, of course. i never realized how magical the woods behind my house really were until that moment. majoras mask made me care about people. it literally, truly did. when i was younger (i tried it when i was older- i have no idea how i did this.) i would spend hours upon hours upon HOURS in clocktown, weeks and weeks and weeks. just clock town. i was too afraid to leave it, i was scared of the chu-chu like monsters. i had all these memories of just chilling in clock town, and when i got over my fear and decided to actually experience the game (which is another post all together) it took me about half an hour to get out of clock town.

    i have no idea how it was so magical to me then, and then trying to inspire the same curiosity and magic of following around villagers and talking to people saying the same thing again and again when you’re older just doesn’t work- it’s boring, it’s repetitive. the magic of feeling as if i belonged to a society, to a town, that these people needed me and it was part of my routine to talk to anju at 10 o’clock, listen to granny’s stories and find all the bomber kids- it gave me something to do while my sister locked me in the basement.

    that’s my main point. i’ve been a victim of domestic abuse since i was that young- my father and my older sister have physically and emotionally abused me, and unfortunately, it still continues to this day. that isn’t to say i’ve done nothing about it, it’s a long, complicated story, but it’s a struggle. although i can avoid it and remove myself from the situation now that i’m older, when i was younger i had nothing. i didn’t tell anybody. my sister would beat me, shove me in the basement, and lock it. i would hobble down the stairs, sobbing, and click on the tv- literally a beacon in a dank, sea of darkness. i don’t know what i would be like today, mentally, if i couldn’t forget my troubles and worries and invest myself in fetching a gamecube for bob, writing letters to give to pelly- aiming for cyclos and getting control of the tempests, i could go on and on.

    side quests and minigames were everything to me, it’s really formed who i am now- doing everything exactly *right*, the way it is “supposed to be done”. and this still continues today- i could literally write a book about how bioshock actually (and i am not making this up) saved my life just LAST YEAR. video games are incredibly important to me, and although some might scoff and chide, calling them playthings and for kids- it’s much more than that to me. and the respect i’ve garnered for developers, artists, writers- it’s immeasurable.

    okay, time to end on something REALLY cheesy, that i told myself i wouldn’t say. after i had played portal, ‘still alive’ sort of became my mantra. after my dad had cut my face with wood, and i had to get stitches, i would hum it to myself at night, or when i felt like all was lost, or i was going to die, or i was going to run away. i would just hum stay alive- truly- and i would instantly be comforted. i can’t even explain this without tearing up. hearing the song today makes me smile, it gives me hope. it strengthens me! there is truly light at the end of the tunnel- “exile vilify” by national, from portal 2, made me weep endlessly the first time i heard it. it was so hopeless, so disparaging. video games affect me- and i don’t think that makes me childish or silly. i think it means i have compassion, i have heart, and i am allowing myself to be touched by these exquisite works of art.

  33. Neko says:

    Ultima VII: The Black Gate helped me deal with parents divorcing. It was my own little world that I could explore, self contained and under my control.

    Ultima VII part 2: Serpent Isle helped me deal with a resulting relocation; even though I had to start from scratch, make new friends, I still had Iolo et al. Kinda funny now that I think about it, since in part 2 you really do “start from scratch in an unfamiliar world”. Huh.

  34. Ben Ambroso says:

    Hell, it got me engaged.

  35. RJ says:

    Hey Ash, wow reading your post gave me goosebumps, reason being that I too had overbearing anxiety of vomiting when I was younger and I developed ulcers by the third grade, it wasn’t anything I could really quantify at the time, it made little sense. I realize now that it was mixture of having few friends and just generally feeling like a pariah at school. I also had a few bad incidents of getting sick as a kid, and I certainly think that added to my paranoia.

    So reading your post really took me back to that, in a good way, now that I can reflect on it rationally, I found solace in my Sega Genesis and my Pokemon games because they were so far away from my day to day painful existence, I could just plug in and forget.

    I never really reply to things on the internet, but this post certainly struck a note and you really have no idea how oddly glad I feel that I was not alone in that situation.

    When you are sick, you feel completely isolated, but It really is uplifting knowing that other people have been in that situation before. I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your story, it really made my day, I think “How games saved my life” is a fantastic site and that more people share their stories, because as I’ve read through theses stories it seems that one game may have one meaning to one person, and to someone else it may mean or represent something totally different. But that feeling of escape and being able to cope with all of life’s shit is universal.

    And I think that despite all the fluff and bullshit people post on the internet, there is a true genuine side of it that rarely peeks out because perhaps many people are afraid to tell their stories. But thank goodness for anonymity!

    So Thank you thank you, for sharing your story and keep up the great videos!

    Take care Ash,

    -RJ

  36. Mathew says:

    When I was in middle school I took a business/typing class and hated it because I was a pretty slow typer. The teacher used to remind us over and over to not look at the keyboard and would sometimes put a black mat on it that would cover all the letters. By the end of that class I still typed slow as balls and thought I had some kind of mental block because the other kids typed so much faster. Then one day my cousin introduced me to a little game called Diablo 2. I played it online for a whole summer and without even realizing it learned to type fast as crap while still looking at the screen because, well you have to if you want to live while being swarmed by demon cows on hell difficulty with a horrible build because you are too young to know what a build is and just put points into skills that sounded cool. So yea, thanks blizzard and whoever it is over there thats obsessed with cows.

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  44. Ocarina Tabs says:

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