One thing that mostly allows me to escape life is: video games.
Yes, another video games post. What do you expect? Have you read the tagline of this blog?
In between trying to work and going slowly insane because THIS and THIS keep playing on repeat in my head, I try to find some time for relaxing and playing something on my main console of choice, the PS5. I was quite lucky to get one at release, and then buy another for my fiancé’s birthday (the secret to getting one is perseverance btw).
Side note: I’ve not always been a Playstation guy, I tend to just go where the games are. I used to have mainly Nintendo, then got a PS3, Xbox 360… and went from there. Had an Xbox One as well, which I sold after completing Rise of The Tomb Raider. Had a Switch for a couple years, but… in my (unpopular) opinion, it just isn’t that great…
ANYWAY this post isn’t about to start a console war. It’s about trying to play a game while juggling depression, chronic anxiety, and ADHD. Which can be extremely difficult! Luckily a few titles have managed to hold my attention, which I will discuss shortly.
I’m able to sink tons of hours into a game that holds my attention. But then less than 30 minutes into something that doesn’t grab me immediately. I have tried again and again to get into certain titles, only to find myself either staring off into space or browsing my various social feeds instead. Sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating trying to find a game which holds my attention – because all you wanna do is relax, but nothing is entertaining so then you get stressed about trying to find something to play, but you can’t decide on anything so you get more frustrated and so on and so on. This happens to me every so often, I’m not sure if it’s a symptom of ADHD or what, but it’s rage inducing to the point where sometimes I will just go to bed. I get so worked up and anxious about it that I decide to just try to sleep it off.
My entire life my main source of entertainment has been video games. I’ve never been majorly into TV or movies, I like music but tend to listen to something new on repeat until it is dead and no longer sparks joy, then move onto another track to kill. Books have become increasingly hard to read over the past few years (I’m sure my ADHD has worsened) because it takes a lot of time and mental focus/effort. The last book I read was No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai. The book had quite a profound impact on me, which is why this blog is named after it.
Anyway – the games! I’m gonna list 3 games I feel completely enthralled my brain, and discuss why that might be.
Civ VI is my first game in the series. I remember my sister playing an earlier entry several years ago on her old laptop, and because I was young and naïve, I didn’t understand the appeal.
Now, I do.
On a whim, I decided to try it out. At first I was like… uh… this sucks. Then BAM, something clicked in my head. I was hooked. I’d still be hooked if I didn’t have work to do. If I had a free day I’d probably play this game all day.
If you don’t know what Civ VI is (in terms of gameplay), it’s quite simple: You start with basically nothing, in like 5000 BC or something, and you have to secure a type of victory before the game ends in 2050 AD. There’s a number of different victories – Science, Culture, Religion, Domination, and Score. (There’s apparently another one which was added in DLC, but I don’t have it, so…). You slowly build up your Civilisation whilst defending yourself from neighbouring Civs, and trying to secure one of the victories. To watch someone play it, it’s boring. Even describing it sounds boring, but trust me: it ain’t.
I dunno if its the constant loop of getting better, strategically securing land and resources, creating buildings etc… it’s an addictive RPG-esque loop and it just clicks with me. I think it works for me because I can focus on one short task at a time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed in Civ VI, but it’s also easy to not become overwhelmed. If that makes any sense. Quick, short tasks/objectives are aplenty in Civ VI, which is why I think it clicks with my ADHD brain. Spend too long on one task and I start to blank out. Come to think of it, this will be a running theme throughout this post.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising
Stupid title. Awful character design. Worse voice acting. Terrible writing. Unfunny jokes.
Immortals is guilty of all those sins, but you know what? I still had a blast. This Breath of The Wild clone is a vast improvement on Nintendo’s attempt at an open world game (I’m gonna get hate for that, aren’t I?)
In Immortals, you play as the titular Fenyx, a champion chosen by the Greek Gods to save them from Typhon, a (God? Monster? I can’t remember) who, to be honest, is in the right. I don’t really see how he was a bad guy, he was RIGHT!
Aaaanyway, you hop, skip, jump, fly and ride your way around the open world, which is jammed FULL of short, quick puzzles that reward you with a variety of loot – upgrade materials for equipment, stats, potions, new gear, etc, whilst also tackling side quests and the main story. I was HOOKED on this game. I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters or the storyline (though there’s a nice twist later on which I won’t spoil) but the loop of finding vaults/puzzles/hidden chests, constantly upgrading, fighting – oh, man, the combat in this game is absolutely GREAT. It feels so satisfying to lay the smackdown on a bunch of proles. I played this game at its highest difficulty (still not that hard tbh) to keep combat engaging.
Again, like Civ, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with so many icons on the screen – however you can go into the settings and edit how much HUD you want, which is what I did.
Resident Evil 8 (“Village”)
This isn’t a horror game. Hell, if it had a different title, I wouldn’t even know it was a Resident Evil game. But that’s besides the point – Resident Evil has always had a place in my cholesterol-clogged heart, ever since I attempted (and failed) to play more than an hour of the first one on PS1 as a child. I was too scared. I returned several years later to play the REmake on Gamecube, and the love set in. I then played the original RE, as well as 2, 3, Code Veronica, and every title I could get my hands on.
I first completed RE8 in about 11 hours on the standard difficulty, then on the hardest difficulty in about 6, then on easy in about 2 (just to get that pesky trophy). You really can WHIZ through this game on easy.
Anyway – Village is the second entry in the “Ethan Winters” trilogy, which are Resident Evil 7, 8, and eventually 9. You play as Ethan, in a European village full of lycans and other beasties. The devs already said this game took a huge leaf from RE4’s playbook (it is painfully obvious too, a little too much tbh). The game is a lot of fun, the story and action had me absolutely hooked and I fully intend on trying to platinum this game. Again, now thinking about it, RE8 features a lot of quick, moment-to-moment gameplay and tasks. Finding a key, using the key to open several gates in the village, searching each area, blasting beasties, reading lore – it’s all good, gory fun. I will always stan for the Resident Evil games. Except 6. You know what you did.
And that’s my list! I’ve played hundreds (if not literally thousands) of video games in my life, and my memory is really fucking awful 95% of the time (my desk is littered with post-it notes, lists, etc. If I don’t have them, I will not get anything done ever) so I’m sure there’s other additions I could make to the list but cannot remember.
What are your thoughts? Do you have ADHD too? What games hold your attention? Lemme know! I reply to everyone 😀