Today, more than 20% of the global population suffers from depression, while a much higher percentage deals with a mental disorder of one form or the other. It is predicted that in 2020, depression will be the second most significant cause of disability globally. Such impact is mainly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession that is sure to run like a wave on a global scale. Naturally, this condition can be treated by getting help from a professional. However, over the years, video games have been proven as a powerful treatment for mild versions of the disorder. Despite the negative stereotype surrounding these games, here are some of those that come in handy to ease the journey of dealing with depression symptoms.
Elude is specifically built to help people deal with depression and help others understand what mental disorder is like. The game sets players on an adventure through metaphorical emotional landscapes that feature dark fields and eerie woods. The scenes are made gloomy to reflect the lack of passion that most depressed people suffer through. Your objective is to find passion objects to overcome the emotional obstacles stated in each level. This game model helps contrast healthy and happy against sad and gloomy depression symptoms. While moving through the psychological landscapes, they encourage you to meditate and find the meaning of passion and fulfilment.
Elude by GAMBIT Game Lab makes itself easily accessible by eliminating the need to download any software. The game runs in instant play mode on web browsers, and it can all be done for free.
SPARX is another video game that is centred in helping people with depression. The set focuses on improving brain stimulation, which can reintroduce joy to parts of life outside of the video game world. The creators of this game argue that these indulgences stimulate parts of the brain that handle goals and motivation (reward pathways) as well as those of memory and learning. Depression has been known to make these parts of the brain shrink, which translates to life being gloomier by the day. SPARX aims to increase the use of these brain parts to keep them active and healthy.
In the game itself, SPARX teaches players three thinking skills and three doing skills that focus on changing how you feel. When combined, they create a virtual shield that protects you from depressive thoughts. The game features seven levels, and after solving each one, it explains how the acquired skills can be used to make your days brighter in real life.
Sym is built as a side-scroller game that tells the story of a lad named Josh. Josh creates a world within himself to help him deal with acute social anxiety, which is another mental disorder that can lead to depression. In the game, you are required to hold Josh’s hand and guide him through the internal world to help him escape the phobias he has in the real world. The game and others like it are cited to help even more than books and films do since players become part of the world and are involved in the actions that take place within it. Sym allows you to explore the duality that can be caused by social anxiety and aids in blending both worlds to coexist in the presence of others comfortably.
Flower is a game aimed at soothing its players more than anything. You play a series of petals floating in the wind as they glide through different landscapes in a dream-like experience. On your journey, you are expected to duck rocks, turbines, and other obstacles to continue on your way to divine freedom. Some of the field landscapes below are grey and gloomy, and by touching them ever-so-lightly, you can breathe life into them and watch them burst into colour as nature takes its course.
Flower was not designed with combating depression in mind, but its attentiveness to inspiring peace and mindfulness makes it a worthy contender nonetheless. It is especially appealing if you are looking to take a break from the ordinary video games that are frantic and exhilarating more often than not. The game has been praised as therapeutic by most gamers and has helped many to climb out of their struggle with depression.
Fat Rabbit Slot is not necessarily a video game as it fits in the pokies’ category. This Push Gaming slot is targeted at the casino gambling market and is available in numerous sites that support the software developer. The slot features a quirky theme that introduces players to the farm life. The game setting aims to be relaxing with a greenfield stretch on which a barn and tank are built serving as the backdrop. The game’s five by five playing grid features simple cartoon graphics that match the background. Not much is done with the music either, which features soothing tunes accompanied by the chirping of birds.
Fat Rabbit Slot gameplay does not demand much aside from the placement of a bet between 0.25 and 100 credits. The highest win in the game is 2,000 credits, which is granted by a combination of either five farmers or rabbits. The bonuses that can be enjoyed during gameplay include:
- Wild – The white rabbit plays the wild and replaces all other characters where a combo needs to be completed. The carrot symbol also represents the wild, but it cannot form winning combinations of its own.
- Harvest Feature – After any spin, this bonus activates and a tractor ploughs through the grid leaving behind wild carrots in random positions.
- Free spins – bonus rounds are awarded when the rabbit and carrot wilds come into view at the same time.
- Expanding symbol – During the free spins, the rabbit remains on the grid and eats any carrots that appear. The more he consumes, the bigger he becomes and awards more spins.
Video games have come a long way as a tool to fight depression, and their use in the field is continuously seeing updates as time goes by. However, if your depression symptoms progress even after gameplay, medical intervention should be considered.