How Video Games Saved Me in 2015

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I have always loved video games ever since I was a little boy. I remember when I was six years old and opened up my first ever console on Christmas day – a Sega MegaDrive. Video games are something that im extremely passionate about and in 2015 it has been something that has saved me.

I suffer from serious depression and anxiety, which at times can be utterly consuming, and what feels like a nightmare. What I have come to realise is that video gaming offers not only entertainment, but a place for me to escape, explore, learn and experience other worlds for a period of time. Whether its joining friends online, exploring expansive open world environments or merely trying to survive in alternate alien worlds, gaming offers an escape from real life unlike any other entertainment. 2015 has been both an awful and recently more positive year for me. In my personal life I have been through bouts of anxiety, depression and divorce. One of the reasons I managed to get through this year was because of video games and I’m thankful for that. Some people say that gaming is a waste of time and has been seen as a negative thing. That being said gaming is more popular than ever and that’s clear to see as things like Esports is growing at a massive rate, consoles are selling more than ever and that’s great.

Depression and anxiety can be huge obstacles for many of us. Finding an escape or a way out can feel possible at times, but luckily things are changing. More and more methods of treatment are being developed for depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues. People are starting to realize the positive impacts of video games and the importance for those suffering. Whether you’re just playing games on your phone or diving into a huge open world game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there’s something out there to help you in managing your depression or anxiety.

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There are many fantastic games that made 2015 a great year to be a gamer. There were a couple of games that I enjoyed early in the year like Dying Light and The Order: 1886, but the first game that gripped me like no other was Bloodborne. I had never played any Dark Souls games and was unsure about jumping into Bloodborne and explore the world of Yarnham. I have to say that I’m so happy I did and it has to be one of my favourite games in many years. At the time I was suffering from horrific depression that was affecting my life and impacting my ability to function day to day.

I decided to pick up Bloodborne, and slowly learnt it was a game that’s extremely hard, punishing but overall extremely rewarding unlike any other gaming experience. That feeling of finally beating that hulking boss on the seventeenth attempt gave me a sense of elevation and satisfaction that was truly awesome. The game is not only beautiful and brilliantly designed but requires puzzle solving, determination, good coordination and thought to beat. Bloodborne was one of the main games this year to help me through the difficulties in my life. Bloodborne is a game that I highly recommend and is certainly worth giving a go.

2015 is a year that has seen some massive releases and returns from some hugely loved franchises like Metal Gear Solid, Fallout 4 and even Star Wars Battlefront. Metal Gear is my favourite series ever and Sons of the Liberty is one of my favourite games of all time. I was so happy to dive back into a new instalment to the Metal Gear series with The Phantom Pain. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a fantastic game with an open world that is dynamic and exciting to infiltrate. The gameplay is near enough perfect and is genuinely fantastic fun to play.

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We have also seen the return of Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone series which both offer expansive open world experiences. I like all sorts of games from short, story driven, linear games all the way through to AAA massive sandbox games. These open world games allowed me to explore worlds that we don’t get to see in real life. You explore scenery and environments that are beautiful, awe inspiring and diverse. Gaming allows huge creativity not only from the game designers, but the players themselves. We are only just scratching the surface when it comes to gaming and the possibilities it can bring.

Whether its piloting an x-wing in Star Wars Battlefront, slaying a massive beast in Bloodborne or perfectly infiltrating an enemy base camp in Metal Gear, gaming offers an experience unlike no other. Gaming is fun, satisfying, rewarding and has helped me get through the last year. I have always been a gamer and always will be. I can’t imagine a world without gaming and I’m so excited to see where it will take us in years to come.

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