The two D’s that’s what I should call them! In times when the whole world, or just the region I’m from is facing massive uncertainty, there’s only one thing that keeps me distracted from it and lowers my stress.
Two times this has happened now where I have got into a new gaming franchise, it allows me to escape the stress of some local or global crisis affecting my life that is beyond my control.
One of the biggest struggles of living with anxiety is when you get anxious over something that you can’t fix on your own. The only thing you can do is distract yourself. Shit happens in life that many people seem to find impossible to not talk about, while I find that talking about it only triggers my anxiety. So I escape to my happy place and lately it seems that in times like this, Dragon Age and Darksiders have been my only sources of happiness and here’s how they have helped.
I wanted to check out Dragon Age for years when I heard it was considered the Medieval version of Mass Effect, the only difference was that the choices you made would affect how your companions would feel about you.
In the fall of 2017, I was in my final semester of college and the news had been reporting that the faculty across the province might go on strike, the night before their final discussion between the union and the employers, the news had disturbed me and I feared the strike was imminent after all. So, without thinking, I decided it was time to boot up DA: Inquisition, the only game I had owned so far and I started to play.
Even once the news confirmed that the strike was on, and it lasted for five weeks, those five weeks felt like eternity to me. I could not go a day without crying from looking at the news, while my entire education towards my career was put on hold, and there was nothing I could do about it.
But, along came Dragon Age, it was my only escape that made me happy during that dark time. When I finally had enough of the media, I felt like I had to force myself to play it, like binge at it a lot during the first few weeks until my anxiety settled down and I was able to do other things like the homework I could do at home.
I looked forward to escaping to Thedas as often as I could and exploring every nook and cranny of of Fereldan or Orlais fighting dragons, demons, or even hostile wildlife. Every moment I loved of the games and that was enough to keep me playing for hours; every faction, character, location, and even the music. The aftermath of my addiction to DAI, even after the strike ended is what led me to check out the rest of the series and delve deeper into the great stories they told.
Since then, Dragon Age has been a part of my heart and it’s now one of my favourite fantasy game series. I think I’m due to replay it now.
Relatively new to me, Darksiders was something I wanted to play since late 2018 when I saw the trailer for the third game featuring Fury. However, I did not start playing until one year later due to Teletraan-1’s construction, work commitments, and other games I wanted to play first. Along the way, I checked out the other two games and soon met the other Horsemen where my heart beat for War.
I fell in love with nearly every aspect of the series from the cool characters to the challenging combat and the story got better every moment. I loved the apocalypse concept with the four horsemen, Heaven, Hell, and everything in between and the Four on a quest to restore balance.
It’s all taken from the Book of Revelations. Even if you’re not religious, if you love angels, demons and monsters, it’s a franchise for you.
It was definitely something I wished I had got into sooner.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, I had been playing Darksiders from the beginning and now as it continues, this series has been my only escape from it whenever I come home from work and tire of the endless chatter and memes of it on social media. Coping with it like that has NEVER worked for me, so continuing my journey with the Four Horsemen is my stress-reliever.
I will never call COVID-19 an apocalypse or merge it with the word. It’s not an apocalypse until I see War, Death, Fury/Famine, and Strife/Conquest riding, as well as angels and demons fighting in the streets with destruction everywhere!
Those are the two game franchises that helped me thrive in tough times and continue to do so along with others. Will there be more times like this? Yes. But video games always have and will serve as my escape.
They help my mental health more than any drug can.