Games that help with Depression

Avatar image for hizang
Hizang

9475

Forum Posts

8249

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 22

User Lists: 15

I like many people have Depression and sometimes I get stuck in a rut where I can't play the game I'm currently into cause I just can't deal with it right now. Like an example would be a game with a in depth story or complex mechanics. (My current game is Nioh 2 and that is not a good game to play when feeling low let me tell you!)

Any recconendatins for games that have helped yourself or you think would be a good fit for a guy going through the bad times.

Avatar image for nuttism
Nuttism

152

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

A short hike.

Avatar image for anderswarming
AndersWarming

145

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#3  Edited By AndersWarming

Hmmm. Not specific games - well, maybe one or two - but I find it falls into to types of games.

A. Games with quick "easy to understand/or I already know" mechanics that just gives your mind a break, and can be repeated endlessly. Tony Hawk is one example, but MGS5 is another - looping easy missions just for the sake of repetition and the comfort of already knowing everything and just trying out small variations. Tenchu is great for that too - and that snow mission is really soothing, music is great.

B. Games with great stories that takes you out of your own life and thinking for while - something that completly absorbs you, by atmosphere or by giving you a mission to rest your mind on, even when you're not playing - but without being insanly difficult. Those are harder to find, 'cause they usually need to suit your mood at the time. Everything from FF6 to Outer Wilds.

Avatar image for facelessvixen
FacelessVixen

3582

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I'm also going to recommend some form of exercise, cycling being my preferred activity, since the Senran Kagura games are not for everyone.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

787

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Celeste has the best exploration of depression of any game I've seen.

Avatar image for zombiepie
ZombiePie

8151

Forum Posts

94559

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 17

#6  Edited By ZombiePie

I hate to be "that guy" but as an educator I cannot in good conscious not say this. Depression is not something that is "cured." It is something that is with you and something you manage with a set of coping mechanisms that you develop through therapy and with the help of a trained medical professional. While video games can help you with the symptoms and provide critical coping strategies, they are NOT a replacement for real quality medical care.

Finally, if you or someone you know develop or manifest thoughts of self-harm or worthlessness, call a hotline.

Avatar image for anderswarming
AndersWarming

145

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#7  Edited By AndersWarming

@zombiepie: To me, nothing "that guy" about it. It's important to get that in there.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

4272

Forum Posts

93

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#8 bigsocrates  Online

First of all, if you need help, get help. There's no shame in that.

That being said, video games can be a good escape during periods of depression and are less destructive than some other coping mechanisms (such as unhealthy drinking, substance abuse, self-harm etc...)

Personally the games I resonate most with when I am depressed are games that are either joyful and happy or just extremely immersive, and are not very difficult (the last thing I need when I'm feeling down is frustration.)

Games like Peggle or Katamari Damacy can be great because it's hard to be truly depressed when Ode to Joy is blaring through your speakers and there's a colorful explosion on your screen.

Likewise I can forget my troubles when I'm deep into some RPG or open world game. The Tales Of games tend to be good for this. They're easy to process, long, comfort food gaming with interesting worlds and active combat (so you don't have those moments of downtime you do in some turn based RPGs.) Collecting shards in Infamous or pillaging ships in Black Flag are other examples of kind of mindless easy activities that I find comforting and engrossing.

Forza Horizon is a series that sort of combines the best of everything. It is super upbeat, very rewarding, not frustrating, and extremely easy to lose yourself in. That's probably my "In case of depression" franchise of choice for all those reasons.

I stay away from games with overly dark themes or high difficulty during bouts of depression. Something like Returnal or Last of Us Part II is probably a no go for me during those times.

Another thing that helps? Watch your favorite Giant Bomb videos. Going back to old hilarious antics from happier times always puts me in a better mood.

I hope you feel better soon, duder.

Avatar image for sombre
sombre

1596

Forum Posts

19

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

Go outside into nature

Avatar image for hizang
Hizang

9475

Forum Posts

8249

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 22

User Lists: 15

Yeah I have meds and a therapist, I do go outside I've had my exercise for the day already. I'm just in a low mood looking for a quick fix that doesn't exsist

Avatar image for ghost_cat
ghost_cat

2787

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Everyone has stated the good, non-gaming stuff that you should get into, but I'll throw in a game here:

Dynasty Warriors

Because no matter how you are feeling, Lu Bu must fall.

Avatar image for jorbit
Jorbit

551

Forum Posts

1810

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

RimWorld

Avatar image for sombre
sombre

1596

Forum Posts

19

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

Everyone has stated the good, non-gaming stuff that you should get into, but I'll throw in a game here:

Dynasty Warriors

Because no matter how you are feeling, Lu Bu must fall.

I heard you need to watch out for him

Avatar image for someoneproud
someoneproud

976

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a blast and relentlessly bright & cheerful.

Avatar image for yourbrain
yourbrain

79

Forum Posts

7

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Casual farm sims (like the old Harvest Moons/Story of Seasons, Stardew Valley, a dozen other variants) so it for me. They give me a list of generally easy things to do, I can finish a list, make progress, and there are generally cheery NPCs that like "me". Yay me!

Avatar image for noboners
noboners

466

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I like playing Sports games (Madden, Super Mega Baseball) when I'm feeling low. It's something that feels different enough each time with a very familiar control scheme for me. But if you're not into sports, it might not work.

I saw Forza Horizon mentioned and that works too. But a few years ago, I used to just hop into GTA5 and just go driving. That way if I find my mood bettering, I can try and just complete a quick mission or something. Most times I just kept driving though.

And lastly, Tetris Effect.

Avatar image for finaldasa
FinalDasa

3723

Forum Posts

9867

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 15

#17 FinalDasa  Moderator

Self-care with video games can be very tricky. For me, I always try and avoid frustrating or grinding mechanics.

I tend to gravitate to Hearts of Iron, Minecraft, or Dota 2 by myself.

I can say the same about pretty much any entertainment. I've got a stack of old GB videos that I can put on for nice background noise or movies and TV shows I always go to because they make me feel better.

Honestly, find the thing that relaxes you and find a good number of them. The more the better. Just a small arsenal of media that is comforting and kind. It won't cure anything but it'll certainly feel like it stops the bleeding.

Best of luck <3

Avatar image for hatking
hatking

7673

Forum Posts

82

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#18  Edited By hatking

I echo everything @zombiepie said. But one of the hardest parts of going through those periods can be passing the time since nothing feels particularly good. I found absolutely massive open world games to be particularly good. I logged hundreds of hours in Skyrim during some particularly tough times. I found the pleasant and large world to be a good way to “get out” without having to figure out a way to motivate myself when that felt impossible. I really enjoy the type of cold northern environment it takes place in, and just being in that, wandering, was calming in its own regard. The game doesn’t demand much of you, so you’re totally free to ignore the story elements and just enjoy its world. It’s also on every current platform, so you’re covered no matter where you play games.

That said, I think it’s about finding what works for you. Some folks might find a little more structure to be their happy place, so it might be worth just loading up a few things without concerning yourself about a backlog or completion, and just seeing what feels good.

Avatar image for mostlysquares
MostlySquares

460

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Games that demand 100% of my focus, that's my go to for keeping my mind off of depression. Racing sims/games in tryhard mode are good. FPS games that are super high pace and have no downtime are great. Stuff like Quake or CoD or whatever, no respawn time or nothing just pew pew pew pew pew all day long. My go to was Tribes Ascend back in the day. No time to dwell on nothing, just full tilt all day long.

Also, VR. VR is the best cure for misery that I've ever come across. Being completely absorbed by another world does a trick on the brain, and sometimes it's just what the brain needs. The strongest of diversions. Works 3x as good if you're someone who might enjoy isolating a bit when the sadness hits the hardest.

Avatar image for diamond_lime
Diamond_Lime

94

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Games that helped me were The Division 1 & 2 and Subnautica (Without the music), if I think of any others i'll add them to this post.

Avatar image for hizang
Hizang

9475

Forum Posts

8249

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 22

User Lists: 15

Thanks guys good ideas, cod doesn't work for me cause I play poorly when low cause I can't fully concentrate so just get pissed.

Avatar image for kunakai
Kunakai

172

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#22  Edited By Kunakai

Undertale is an amazing game if you're looking for good vibes.

I've found games like Anno/Satisfactory often help me keep a clear head due to how much focus is required to achieve your objective (I need to build X, Y and Z so I can make XYZ and get to the next tier in the tech tree so I can make the other thing to get the other thing).

I'd also recommend KSP if you don't mind the steep learning curve. I've never experienced anything quite as gratifying in a game as achieving orbit or landing on the moon and making it home for the first time.

Minecraft got me through a tough breah up (Valheim would be a valid alternative). Breath of the WIlds is also pretty good if you own a switch, that and Nier Automata were highlights during tough times a couple of years ago.

Avatar image for leviathan_dive
Leviathan_Dive

95

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

JRPG's and open world games seem to help me the most when Im down.

Avatar image for mediocrates
Mediocrates

6

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The games of caves rd on itch (cavesrd.itch.io) have been really good for me to just walk around in an environment while some nice music plays so I can clear my head. They're not quite *games*, so much as lush environments, but they've really hit for me, especially during episodes of anxiety in the past year.

Avatar image for anderswarming
AndersWarming

145

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#25  Edited By AndersWarming

@hizang: Did you find a game that worked out?

Avatar image for norm9
norm9

247

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Root Beer Tapper.

Up, down, pour. Those are all the instructions you need to know to play and succeed at the game. The music is great as well and let's the time just slip by while you're too busy passing out happiness to be sad yourself (ymmv). Good luck.

Avatar image for hizang
Hizang

9475

Forum Posts

8249

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 22

User Lists: 15

@anderswarming: Not yet been busy working, might try a new game tommorow.

Avatar image for undeadpool
Undeadpool

7920

Forum Posts

10761

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 17

Stardew Valley.

Simple gameplay, no real time limit (don't try to cram everything into a single day, there will be more), fun, colorful characters who also have problems (lotta alcoholism in Stardew) but nothing ever becomes grimdark or too severe. Simple gameplay loop, easy cut-off point (each day only lasts 15-25 minutes, generally), and it's STILL being supported with free updates that add massive swaths to the gameplay.

Avatar image for vandersveldt
Vandersveldt

94

Forum Posts

22

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

If it's not too hard for you, Celeste deals with the themes of depression and learning to cope and live with depression incredibly well.

Avatar image for robertforster
RobertForster

328

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

FF7, Xenogears, or OG Deus Ex

Avatar image for fluidk
Fluidk

74

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I can understand the appeal of games when one is in a depression. I moved to a new school and town in 5th grade and played Hook on the Super Nintendo, beginning to end every day. My mom knew not to bother me. It was how I was processing. And when I lost my job a few years ago I spent lile 2 whole days binging manga. Again, processing.

But having dealt with depression in my life, none of that will ‘help”. If you REALLY want to get out of the depression, make changes in your life that lead to major, beneficial adjustments to your circumstances. That, plus time, is what will actually “help”.

People will tell you that there is nothing you can do. Ignore those people.

Avatar image for osail
OSail

73

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#33  Edited By OSail

I enjoy playing tactical games to get through some of my mildest depression and mildest anxieties. Mario Rabbids or Into The Breach on the Switch is fantastic for it. Allows me to think moves through, neither game is a huge time sink but they can eat up time, and they allows me to focus my thoughts when I am having a lighter bad one. Helps with non-triggered random night-time ideation a lot too.

@fluidk said:

But having dealt with depression in my life, none of that will ‘help”. If you REALLY want to get out of the depression, make changes in your life that lead to major, beneficial adjustments to your circumstances. That, plus time, is what will actually “help”.

People will tell you that there is nothing you can do. Ignore those people.

I know this comes from a good place, and can apply to many people, but a lot of people with various forms of clinical depressions which will last their entire lives do exist, more commonly than may be realized.

I'm one of those who doesn't use video games for management of my disabilities if it's severe (/31 year old who made many mistakes to get to this point), but sometimes small things are what people have to cope with, and not everyone, especially those with brain fog or fatigue, can truly just do the "let's change" thing. Plus, poverty, family, relationships, and other things remove the ability for people to just up and change shit, which is unfortunate but consistent across a lot of experiences because it's all systemic.

I do agree changing what you can and know is a distinct proven trigger is important if you can manage it, it's just a bit of a pet peeve of mine to say if people *really* wanted to do something, they would do it as it's so broad to be almost inapplicable to any specific situation. Just because I/you/others have done well with it at a few points in time, doesn't mean it's possible all the time. I've fucked myself up through those thoughts/actions done wrong, as many others have too. It's a balancing act.

Avoiding manias, psychosis, further black/white thinking, and other such things which may move into destructive tendencies is important too, which unmonitored/loosely planned/badly formed change can sometimes encourage. Change is inevitable, but planning and managing change is a different set of skills that change depending on your situation at a single moment in time.

Avatar image for theht
TheHT

15988

Forum Posts

1562

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 9

Basically anything from Amanita Design. Cute adventure games that are joyful pick-me-ups. Short enough to feel like you've accomplished something.

They can help pull me out of a funk so that I can do the other things that have a bigger positive impact on an episode.

Hope everyone out there's doin okay!

Avatar image for kronixi
kronixi

77

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#35  Edited By kronixi

From my experience with depression any game that isnt too stressful or requires too much focus at all times is the best. Turn based games are great for this as it gives you at you're own pace the issue with this is that it can lead to momemtary phases of downtime where you can ruiminate.

Any colouring in games, Even if in our minds its a small accomplishment its actually tricking little bits of dopamine in our head ultimatly hopefully trying to make our brains desire more of it.

Sometimes if you feel like your ruminating and depression is about to hit you out of nowhere fighting games or FPS they require alot of focus in the moment can help and your mind is tricked into thinking about one action.

If you have hit rock bottom and you feel like your forcing yourself to play a game at that point i wouldnt bother, either meditate, go for a walk whatever is best to get out of your own head for a while so you can reset.

At the end of the day depression is different for everyone who suffers from this, it isnt even stable so one game might be good for one time while another not so at the time.

Avatar image for av_gamer
AV_Gamer

1907

Forum Posts

17819

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 11

#36  Edited By AV_Gamer

I would recommend Genshin Impact, because of how colorful and charming the world is. The calming music the fades in and out as you travel the world. The likable characters and interesting, but not too heavy storylines, also help. Even the combat isn't that hard to figure out, but still has enough depth not to be boring, especially when you start to earn world tiers and the enemies get more challenging.

If you have Nintendo Switch, then I recommend the latest Paper Mario game for many of the same reasons.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

4272

Forum Posts

93

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#37 bigsocrates  Online

@av_gamer: I would be cautious about Genshin Impact because of the gambling mechanics. During depression is a time when maybe people are vulnerable to addiction issues, and you do not want to fall into a situation where you are relying on dopamine hits from gacha pulls and end up spending huge amounts of money on abusive and exploitative monetization. Unfortunately Genshin Impact is a game where addiction can have real world consequences beyond monopolizing your time. Anyone who has even a whiff of potential gambling addiction issues should stay far, far, away, especially when they are feeling vulnerable.

Paper Mario: The Origami King doesn't have those issues and I really like that game.

Avatar image for trh5001
trh5001

38

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

When I am at a low point I try and play games that I either havent ated before so im not reminded of times in my life when I played them previously or that are outside of my comfort zone so I am not able to compare them to anything else.

This is how I discovered the yakuza series and those games have some down moments but they also have so many off the walls crazy moments that I eventually end up smiling.

Avatar image for sahalarious
Sahalarious

1083

Forum Posts

12

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Nothing can substitute exercise, therapy, and a good diet, and maybe medication depending on an evaluation. As somone suffering from depression, games that have lifted me up have been Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, Yakuza (funny writing, lots of checklisty things to keep you busy), or heavily narrative focused games like the telltale games or something.

Avatar image for banefirelord
BaneFireLord

3933

Forum Posts

638

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Saints Row IV helped me through some rough times in college. Superspeed sprinting through a city and punching aliens with wrestling moves with really cheesy background music made things a little better.

Avatar image for adegames
adegames

2

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@hizang: for me the GTA Vice City as a medicine