What's your "mind cleanser" game?

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#1 Posted by MysteriousDrD (29 posts) -

So, after a bad game of Dota, a shitty round of CSGO, a tough day at work or just some gaming fatigue, what's the game (or games) you bust out to kick you out of that funk?

For me, recently, it's been "walking simulator" interactive story telling stuff, like Gone Home, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Proteus. I also played Hohokum tonight and it really just unwound a mental knot in my head where stuff like Heroes of the Storm and the Binding of Isaac Rebirth (FUCK THE LOST) was just making me fed up at playing games. Another thing I did recently was cycle (on a push bike) to the top of Mt Chilliad from Vespucci beach in GTA V while listening to the newest Danswers because I am a crazy person.

Do you enjoy taking a break from faster paced games, or do you do the opposite and play something that requires so much concentration it forces everything else out of your head?

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#2 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

Sexy Parodius or Space Harrier 2. Both games I can beat pretty easily and have been doing so fairly frequently over the past 15-20 years or so. There's something greatly cathartic about mindlessly maniacally mashing buttons to cool sound tracks and colorful visuals.

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#3 Posted by NarficAcid (121 posts) -

I am the type to go for slower paced games every once and a while too. I (somewhat shamefully) grew to love Euro Truck Simulator 2 and played that a bunch not just to wind down from other video games, but emotionally tough days as well.

Speaking of "walking simulators" I also like The Elder Scrolls games for decompressing as well *rimshot*. I keep Morrowind installed on my laptop at all times just for that purpose.

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#4 Edited by ViciousBearMauling (2094 posts) -

Metal Gear Rising. Jetstream Sam fight. Reveangeance difficulty.

My brain goes into a peaceful autopilot and the S ranks clears my brain and makes me feel good.

Yes. It isn't peaceful, but I've played it so many times that the flow of the fight is peaceful for me.

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#5 Posted by notnert427 (2262 posts) -

Forza Horizon 2. I hop in a pretty car and just drive. It works in real-life, too.

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#6 Posted by The_Tribunal (480 posts) -

@mysteriousdrd: aw man, gta v is the best game to play while listening to podcasts. The dumb shit you can do unconsciously is great.

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#7 Posted by gnomeonfire (1124 posts) -

Heroes of the Storm, it's a lot less demanding than other MOBA's and quick to get into a match and just play with some of my favorite Blizzard characters.

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#8 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -
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#9 Edited by redyoshi (1426 posts) -

Diablo 3. Any musou game. Just something where I can shut my brain off for an hour works wonders.

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#10 Posted by MysteriousDrD (29 posts) -

@the_tribunal: Absolutely, I use Self.Fm to catch up on old ones I've downloaded while I dick around the world, even just walking around neighbourhoods doing stupid stuff like knocking coffee out of people's hands and generally being an asshole. Once I got an entire fire station mad at me and had to run a footrace with like 10 uniformed guys trying to beat the crap out of me. I feel like just seeing how dumb the game will let me be is a great way to unwind.

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#11 Posted by Cubidog1 (414 posts) -

Binding of Isaac is relieving to me, but also infuriating when playing as a certain horrible character.

Spelunky is another game that can be infuriating, but since I'm done with pretty much all achievements in the game(except for Low Scorer as I intend to get that some day) I just casually play daily challenges.

Super Smash Bros. with my brother is fun because I don't have to think about anything.

Actually now that I think about almost every game I play nowadays is difficult, but somehow I am calm when playing them most of the time.

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#12 Posted by BeachThunder (15156 posts) -

Unfortunately, game almost never 'cleanse my mind'.

Although, I am definitely the opposite of you - Binding of Isaac gives me a bunch of things in-game to think about. Whereas, so called 'relaxing' games give me more time to think about external stuff.

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#13 Posted by Naoiko (1676 posts) -

When I need to take a moment to chill I tend to play games like Animal Crossing, Tomodachi Life, or Pokemon Rumble World (as it doesn't require much thinking). Just mindlessly poking the screen helps me a ton to zone out and chill.

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#14 Posted by Nightriff (7198 posts) -

Civ 5

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#15 Posted by MysteriousDrD (29 posts) -

@beachthunder: Yeah it's funny, with most BoI characters I can just chill out and enjoy, but I'm going for RPG and it's eroding my soul trying to get those last three items. I rarely audibly get mad at games, but I have been swearing like a sailor at every failed run that potentially could have been "the one".

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#16 Edited by VoshiNova (2412 posts) -

Animal Crossing.

It's my jam.

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#17 Posted by ClairvoyantVibrations (1616 posts) -

Counter Strike Source. It doesn't have the competitive hooks of GO so I never care about my performance, but still plays how I likes my first person shooters to play. Just lets me zone out.

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#18 Posted by Hamst3r (5480 posts) -

Super Going For A Walk Outside. 64.

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#19 Edited by DFL017 (311 posts) -

Used to be trackmania or any NES game.

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#20 Edited by Jeust (11739 posts) -

My relaxing games are action cinematic, like:

  • Alan Wake, and American Nightmare;
  • Uncharted 1,2,3;
  • Last of Us;
  • Fable The Lost Chapters, Fable 2, 3;
  • Dead Space;
  • Silent Hill: Downpour.

They are all beautiful games, so I sometimes stop moving and just stare admiring.

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Also the plot for the games is generally solid, so it is a enjoyable experience all-round.

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#21 Posted by Capum15 (6010 posts) -

Don't really have a specific one, I just tend to play random games. RTS stuff like World in Conflict, Sins of a Solar Empire, or walking around the city of Los Santos in GTA V, or boss running for a while in GW2.

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#22 Posted by Belegorm (1848 posts) -

Usually for me it tends to not be playing a game, except that sometimes that'll be FFXI or FFXIV. More often though, I'll listen to some of my favourite albums (been Pink Floyd for a while now).

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#23 Posted by theanticitizen (417 posts) -

Starcraft 2 has been mine. I'll put on a show on Netflix and just let muscle memory play for me ha ha it's a nice diversion from daily stress and I like them delicious ladder points. Mmmm.

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#24 Posted by spankingaddict (2977 posts) -


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#25 Posted by ripelivejam (13203 posts) -

risk of rain kinda served this lately, though i guess it can get intense. good stress release and pretty addictive.

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#26 Posted by TheHT (15870 posts) -

Floating Point, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, or Chess (on easy ;P).

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#27 Edited by m1ndrak3r (34 posts) -

I listen to the menu theme of Demon Souls or Dark Souls 1

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#28 Posted by Undeadpool (7032 posts) -

After enduring the HEINOUS matchmaking of MKX (I'm 1-26, getting matched up against the likes of 407-90), Dragon Ball: Xenoverse. It's one of the least audio-intensive games, so I just boot that up, put on some video on my PC and zooooone OUT to the button-mashing.

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#29 Posted by Christoffer (2374 posts) -

I've had some rough weeks at work aswell which made me put off Pillars of Eternity. I love that game but it's a complete waste if you can't give it 100% focus.

So I bought Saints Row IV in the recent franchise sale on Steam (dirt cheap). Mindless activities and a dumb story. Works fine for me right now.

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#30 Posted by jkz (4286 posts) -

NBA 2k15. Sports games have always been that for me, usually just play a game or two in a franchise/mycareer while listening to a podcast or some such.

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#31 Posted by SJQPersonal (172 posts) -

@hamst3r: Are you the Hamster that made the music game on the 360? I lost access to my old account, but i've been around for (fucking) years now, and your name just hit me like a hurricane. It was like 6 years ago right?

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#32 Posted by Svenzon (946 posts) -

Proteus is Mindfulness: The Game for me. That game makes me completely incapable of having bad thoughts while I play it. Just walking around the island, taking in the sights and listening to the audio makes me feel at peace. I should play it way more often than I do, at least once a week or so.

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#33 Posted by deactivated-5b031d0e868a5 (935 posts) -

Something I can just zone out playing - typically a score attack game / racing game / achievements I never got around to getting.

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#34 Posted by bwheeeler (919 posts) -


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#35 Posted by GiantLizardKing (1144 posts) -


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#36 Edited by skadave (284 posts) -

Lumines on the Vita. It was the first game I bought for the system and I still play it regularly.

EDIT: I played the crap out of Lumines on the 360 as well.

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#37 Posted by BBAlpert (2917 posts) -

For a good long while, it was Orcs Must Die! for me. Get in there, plop down some tar traps, some springs, maybe a swinging mace, and go to town on some greenskins. Gosh, that game is a lot of fun.

Recently, I've been turning to Cities: Skylines for when I want to play something without thinking (which leads to some very poorly organized cities, but whatever).


Very good choice.

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#38 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

Unfortunately, game almost never 'cleanse my mind'.

Although, I am definitely the opposite of you - Binding of Isaac gives me a bunch of things in-game to think about. Whereas, so called 'relaxing' games give me more time to think about external stuff.

Games don't really cleanse my mind either, if something is bothering me, it bothers me through whatever I have going on usually.

Though if i have a lot of anxiety about an upcoming thing, important appointment, or something that affects my life, I tend to gravitate towards 'one more turn' strategy games, Total War: Medieval 2 is a particular favorite.
If my mind is over flowing with "ohgodohgodohgodohgod" anxiety, adding a fast paced game is too much for me, but a nice slow, plot out what I'm going to do, one campaign could last for weeks so there is no pressure per turn, helps to not push me over the edge.

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#39 Posted by flameboy84 (896 posts) -

It used to Sonic 2 something oddly soothing about that familiar music and allowing muscle memory to take over. Also I find the fishing in Link's Awakening oddly satisfying. Also Burnout Paradise just roaming around the city as the Delorean is so therapeutic.

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#40 Posted by kahi (158 posts) -

FIFA Soccer

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#41 Posted by flameboy84 (896 posts) -


Really?! I find it way too stressful!

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#42 Posted by kahi (158 posts) -


Online can be at times, offline is relaxing 100% of the time. Usually will fire up FIFA and play pro clubs every night after a session of Destiny.

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#43 Posted by Getz (3764 posts) -

I like to bust out my ps2 and play all the ratchet games from time to time, mostly as a palette cleanser when I'm sick of modern games. They just don't make 'em like that any more.

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#44 Posted by Hamst3r (5480 posts) -
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#45 Posted by Claude (16669 posts) -

Golf games. Right now it's The Golf Club on my PS4. Put a golf game on and I'm in zen mode.

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#46 Posted by riostarwind (1360 posts) -

Diablo 3 was the game I kept going back to for a while if I just wanted to listen to a podcast instead of paying attention to the story or the combat. Although I don't tend to come back to a game after I finish it unless a lot of time has passed.

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#47 Posted by fisk0 (6930 posts) -

I guess in recent months it's become Rodina, which I guess hits some of the walking simulator bullet points, even though it has some combat and is all about space exploration. Even though you're under constant threat of getting blown up by alien ships, it's really soothing just to explore the game's star system, land on planets and sift through debris fields of crashed space ships and read logs you discover. Since they recently added holoscreens, allowing you to make any wall in the ship transparent, I've spent a lot of time just finding scenic locations like canyons and glaciers to land at and watch the day-night-cycle while listening to the game's kinda rad soundtrack.

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#48 Posted by Atwa (1690 posts) -

I always boot up some Spelunky when I feel like that. It always relaxes me, despite being quite an intense game, after hundreds of hours the music of the mines are just so deeply ingrained into my head that it just eases me.

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#49 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5990 posts) -

@slag said:

Clash of Clans actually

yeah I know.

I just imagined myself placing a hand on your shoulder than a tear running down my face. STAY STRONG.

For me recently it's probably Civilization or Age of Empires II.

Generally speaking though my "mind cleanser" is just Giant Bomb stuff.

Which works out for me as my mind needs a lot of daily cleansing.

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#50 Posted by WickedCestus (3781 posts) -

To me, the difficulty or pace of the game doesn't matter, just my comfort level with it. I will often play FIFA when in a funk because I just know how to play it and I know how it's going to work. Same with EuroTruck, Nuclear Throne, Sonic 2, and Starcraft. These games aren't all easy, but I don't really pay attention to how well I'm doing, I just like the feeling of control that comes with playing a game you've put a lot of time into. That helps me feel better.