When I think back to some of the most troubled times in my life I remember wanting to get away from it all. I remember wanting to escape the ensuing fate upon which I had fallen, but life offered no medication to alleviate my dissatisfaction. Do you want to know how I dealt with those situations? I played video games. They offered me a chance to work through my distress and gave me a way to leave it all behind for a few hours.
I’m not saying that divulging one’s self in a fantasy world is the best way to deal with all of your problems, but sometimes it’s ok to just forget everything in order to be alone. It’s an interesting situation because it allows you to take control of someone else for a while. It separates you from yourself and makes you the puppet master. In those few brief hours, you are in control of what happens to that character and you are able to dwell within a story apart from your own. You are alone, but at the same time surrounded. You are yourself, but at the same time someone completely different. You are truly in a state of limbo.
For myself, the moment in which I entered into this state of limbo came shortly after the end of a relationship. I was lost. I was confused. I honestly didn’t know what to do or how to react. My friend had recently given me BioShock and BioShock 2 for my birthday about a week before this all happened, which prompts the beginning of my escapism. I played through both games almost continuously for a few weeks in the midst of my unease and throughout that process I allowed myself to think. I allowed myself to be alone, but at the same time surrounded by a world of mystery and chaos, similar to my own mental state. I sat alone in the darkness of my living room, controller in my hand and the light of the TV on my face and I became lost so that I could ultimately be found. In short, playing video games to deal with the situation at hand granted me control over something. It gave me a sense of purpose and order. I knew that I was following the predetermined story of the BioShock series, which gave me comfort because I knew I was going somewhere. I knew there was an end to the story. I knew everything would turn out ok in the end.
We all face trials and deal with hardships, but that doesn’t mean we need to brush them aside in order to avoid feeling the pain. Everyone deals with their situations differently, but for myself video games offer me a way to cope while also giving me a forum to gain understanding. Video games made me realize that everything works out in the end.
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