We all have things we do for comfort. I mean, there’s a whole category of food called “comfort food”. Every once in awhile (or more often) we need something to just make us feel “good” and give us that invisible security we so desperately want. Some people get it from books, or a certain movie, an album, and so on. For me, it’s usually television or YouTube videos. There are certain people I love to watch and it makes it easy to turn my brain off so I don’t have to think about things.
But occasionally I also seek comfort in certain video games. Most times video games require too much brain activity for me to use them as comfort. But there are certain games require just enough thought to be fun, but also allow for me to zone out.
Silent Hill 3 is a game like that. Alongside Resident Evil 4, they’re both games I’ve played so many times they no longer cause any fear, and the puzzles are easy enough to let me through almost instantly. So I imagine the comfort is in the familiarity. It’s something I know like the back of my hand.
But the game I’ve found the most comfort in is Risk of Rain. It’s a game I wrote about a few years ago and is easily one of my all time favorites. I discovered in on ManVSGame’s Twitch live stream and immediately wanted to play it. It’s a rogue-like, similar to games like Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, and FTL. So you play through the whole game at once, collecting items and making your character stronger. Lose and you start back over. An entire run through the game is maybe an hour at most? So it isn’t all that awful if you have to start over.
More than the genre of game though, Risk of Rain is filled with this melancholy style. The music is easily the game’s greatest asset in terms of that style. But the visuals help a lot too. It’s all pixel based art, but everything is small and neatly defined.
Because of that, it easily lulls you into a zone of sorts. So even though I’ve unlocked all the achievements in the game and have nothing more to “accomplish” the game’s calming effect it has on me is still enough to pull me back in. (Though I’ll admit that it helps kinda that it doesn’t have Steam Cloud integration, meaning my progress was reset after rebuilding my machine. So I can unlock everything again if I really want to)
Witcher 3 is another game that I find myself falling back to when in need of a distraction or something to make my mind off things. In this case it’s the exact opposite reason than Risk of Rain. Here, it’s the writing, the world, the people, and so on that make Witcher worth returning to.
There’s a reason I chose it as my second favorite game of the year (almost #1, it was a fight with myself for sure). But the writing and acting is so good that it’s probably the most realistic a game has been in a long time. There’s something about that, that I can’t help but feel drawn to. Especially when I can’t deal with the real world.
There’s probably a lot more one could say about why certain games are appealing to a particular person in terms of comfort, but I’m not qualified to discuss those. All I can do is give what I think is the reason I enjoy those games “in times of need”. Does the same apply to you guys?