Video Games and Stress Relief

Most people have played video games at least once in their lives, whether it be on a PC or console game, such as PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo devices. There are a variety of games on the market to meet people’s ranging interests.

For example, there are educational games that exercise a person’s mental muscles, like crossword puzzles and simulations that enable one to learn a new language. There are roleplaying games—The “Sims” franchise, “Genshin Impact,” and “Animal Crossing.” Other game series franchises, including “Call of Duty,” “Far Cry,” and “Assassin’s Creed,” are first-person or third-person shooter games. Then you have the iconic arcade classics that we all know and love (e.g., “Pac-Man,” “Mappy,” “Galaga,” etc.).

Because video games come in all different shapes and sizes, you can find the means that suits you they act as a means to escape reality. For a time, one can venture out of his/her own persona, put on the mask of another character, and live out someone else’s story line in a fictional world with little to no consequences.

When I am stressed, I play video games to distract and relieve myself of my worries. My go-to-stress-relieving game is “The Sims 4” on PC. “The Sims 4” is a game where you make a character, called a “Sim.” As the game’s slogan explains, “The Sims” is a game in which you “play with life.”

Your Sim could be a human, vampire, werewolf, alien, or even a dog or cat. Your Sim will go through life, hitting all the milestones like graduating high school, getting their first job, starting a career, starting a family, falling in love, and exploring hobbies. They could make friends with other Sims and build relationships. It’s seeing from a bird’s eye vantage point what it would look like to control your life and know its outcomes. Sometimes, controlling a virtual person’s life can be extremely therapeutic.

Nonetheless, not all college students use video games to relieve their stress. Tucker Lynch, a sophomore animation student, said, “I play games mostly when I am bored more than when I am stressed.”

He explained that his level of stress also depends on the type of game he is playing. “Sometimes I choose a game specifically with the intent to play and relax,” he said.

Everyone is different when it comes to what helps them relax. For one person, video games are a source of relaxation; for another, playing can cause their feelings of stress to shoot upward.

There are some games I find stress-inducing, like “Call of Duty.” In this first-person shooter, you are playing a character in a war setting, and you must constantly sustain survival mode.

The goal of the game is to prevent yourself from being killed and reach the end of the story line. Even though it is only a game and has nothing to do with real life, it can be stressful. You are strategizing how to defeat the enemy, requiring you to get creative.

A plausible solution for college students looking to find a way to relax is by participating in an alternative reality. College is hard enough as it is; having a hobby to wind down and take a breath of fresh air is needed to be successful in classes.

There is a video game out there for everyone to play, and students should take the opportunity to find a match that will help them relax, especially with midterm exams and papers approaching.