Video Games: My Escape From Reality

When I think back to some of the most troubled times in my life I remember wanting to get away from it all.  I remember wanting to escape the ensuing fate upon which I had fallen, but life offered no medication to alleviate my dissatisfaction.  Do you want to know how I dealt with those situations?  I played video games.  They offered me a chance to work through my distress and gave me a way to leave it all behind for a few hours.

I’m not saying that divulging one’s self in a fantasy world is the best way to deal with all of your problems, but sometimes it’s ok to just forget everything in order to be alone.  It’s an interesting situation because it allows you to take control of someone else for a while.  It separates you from yourself and makes you the puppet master.  In those few brief hours, you are in control of what happens to that character and you are able to dwell within a story apart from your own.  You are alone, but at the same time surrounded.  You are yourself, but at the same time someone completely different.  You are truly in a state of limbo.

For myself, the moment in which I entered into this state of limbo came shortly after the end of a relationship.  I was lost.  I was confused.  I honestly didn’t know what to do or how to react.  My friend had recently given me Bioshock and Bioshock 2 for my birthday about a week before this all happened, which prompts the beginning of my escapism.  I played through both games almost continuously for a few weeks in the midst of my unease and throughout that process I allowed myself to think.  I allowed myself to be alone, but at the same time surrounded by a world of mystery and chaos, similar to my own mental state.  I sat alone in the darkness of my living room, controller in my hand and the light of the TV on my face and I became lost so that I could ultimately be found.  In short, playing video games to deal with the situation at hand granted me control over something.  It gave me a sense of purpose and order.  I knew that I was following the predetermined story of the Bioshock series, which gave me comfort because I knew I was going somewhere.  I knew there was an end to the story.  I knew everything would turn out ok in the end.

We all face trials and deal with hardships, but that doesn’t mean we need to brush them aside in order to avoid feeling the pain.  Everyone deals with their situations differently, but for myself video games offer me a way to cope while also giving me a forum to gain understanding.  Video games made me realize that everything works out in the end.

-Ocarina of Time Nerd

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About Joel

Live, love, play video games.
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8 Responses to Video Games: My Escape From Reality

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Next Level | Dreams and Deductions

  2. LiveLifeToTheFullest says:

    I understand you.. i play cod all day. im 15 and a girl but i just want a chance to escape from all my problems going on in my life right now. It really helps in a way.. a whole online gaming community to just have laughs, smile, and just be you.

    • Joel says:

      That’s awesome! It’s a really good feeling to be surrounded by people who understand you and enjoy the things you enjoy. I play a lot of halo online and its been a lot of fun to meet new people. I personally enjoy single player story games a bit more when trying to “escape” but both genres definitely serve a very positive similar purpose.
      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Marc says:

    I feel bad for “evading” reality and the better things in life through my video games…but much of what you said resonated in me as the reason. I play them because I don’t feel I’m as important, special, or interesting in real life as I can be in a game. furthermore, my gaming interests are unique: I don’t really have friends who like the games I like (and I don’t care for theirs). Seriously, who wants to play Professor Layton or Just Dance with me?

    Books are definitely important, but nowadays, I feel envious when I read books, reading about a hero or main character whom I’m just watching, not interacting with on any level. With games, I’m in control, and can direct the action (for better or for worse).

    The problem is finding others to game with, and to enjoy your particular tastes with. Do you know of any social sites or friend-oriented sites where one can meet others to game with? I’m afraid not much of what I own is suitable for more than one-player…but it’s just no fun enjoying things alone…

    Great post. Thank you for writing it.

    • Joel says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and I’m sorry it took me a while to respond.

      First off, I wouldn’t feel bad about evading reality from time to time. That’s what certain forms of media are for. It’s a treat to be able to pretend that you’re somebody else from time to time and in return we are able to discover new things about ourselves, which can then be implemented into our real lives.

      Regarding unique games that others don’t necessarily play, sometimes it just requires you to search a little bit in order to find a community of gamers that share your interests. I know Bungie.net has a great online community, but outside of that I’m yet to really explore. What single player games to you play? I’m always interested in hearing about the interests of other gamers!

      -Ocarina of Time Nerd

  4. Vitosal says:

    heavy stuff, i touched upon why i game in my censorship article. I get it. It seems a few people feel that way

    • Joel Palermo says:

      Yeah, it’s a lot more psychological, but my main point is that gaming is useful in a variety of situations. As a medium, gaming can be used to analyze many different parts of life. It’s really quite cool 🙂

  5. Pingback: Gaming As An Aide | The 2Fer Quarterly

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