It’s funny, but I haven’t played many games lately. While I was in Japan and still employed full-time, I usually used my one or two free hours a night to work on whatever game I happened to be playing at that time. I figured that when I got back to the States and had way more time on my hands, I would be able to wrap up Super Robot Taisen Z, get into Persona 3 and even have a bit of time for BioShock.
That hasn’t worked out so well. I mainly owe my failure to time spent visiting friends combined with a certain amount of stress that stems from being in a transitional period. I’m sure that it’s different for some people, but I have a hard time concentrating on RPGs when I’m worried about this or that. I can’t focus properly on the story, or I just don’t have the patience to grind through battles and build up my characters.
The games that I do play in periods like these are sort of like comfort food for me. Not altogether nutritious, but certainly sweet, fluffy and delicious. Games like Super Stardust Portable, for instance, which merely requires that I pulverize asteroids and other space junk for points. Trust me, when I’m feeling stressed out about something, I’m more than capable of blowing things up for a few hours. It’s cathartic to pummel the debris into space dust and watch it fly off into the void. That and people. People tend to get a dose of wrath as well.
Not real people, of course — just the ones in the magical world of multiplayer. Part of the reason that I tend to defend Warcraft III from its detractors is that it went a long way together anesthetizing me from the troubles of reality back in the summer of 2002, which probably went a long way toward keeping me sane. For a few hours at least, engaging humans in mortal video combat could help me forget about my worries.
I wouldn’t say that it’s always healthy to use games to ignore real-life problems. For the most part, I tend to think it’s better to tackle them head-on so that they cease being problems and you can move on with your life. So, in that at least, I can at least thank Super Stardust Portable and Warcraft III for saving me a few wrinkles. And later, I can curse them for giving my advanced arthritis.
Video games, they just keep right on giving.
7 thoughts on “Tastes like stardust”
RPGs have tended to be what I’ve used for escapism in tough times. I used Dragon Warrior III to deal with a grandmother’s death and Exile II to deal with my other’s grandmother’s passing.
I’ve not played an RPG since FFXII, and I doubt I’ll start any time soon given the current crop of RPG bombs. Persona 3 did nothing for me. If I’m not completely engaged with the story, I get bored and start thinking of other things.
Right now, I’m kind of obsessed with getting trophies. So I’m finally back to beating my games multiple times like back in the SNES days, which saves me a great deal of money. And that makes me happy.
In lieu of giving out uppercuts to the general populace, Street Fighter III abides.
you should finish srwz
But I definitely understand the need for a stress-relief game. Burnout 3’s what I always turn to, and I don’t even like racing games. Or the other Burnouts, for that matter. Road Rage mode is just too much fun.
I can definitely relate to turning to specific games to push out some of reality’s tougher moments for a while. Civilization II, III, and IV have taken up the dominant portion of that task for the last 7 or so years, with II singled handedly carrying me through the more awkward moments of my sophomore year of high school. Starcraft, as well. Ah, good times. Hmm, and that was in the summer of 2002, too.
Funny – I’ve played some SSP and War3 lately. Should I be worried about my life situation?
Great post, Kat. I often turn to comfort gaming when I need to clear my head, and twin-stick shooters like Geo Wars and SSD are perfect in that respect.
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