My Favorite Way To Decompress

I know this seems a little out of place, but really. We all need to decompress sometimes. And my favorite way isn’t with a cold drink, an afternoon run, or an hour at the gym. It’s actually with a video game!

I’ve been around video games since I was a child. In the single digits in fact! Video games were a big part of my growing up. For a long time I wanted to be a game programmer. Even wrote my first one when I was 10.

Kids, and really adults too, catch a lot of crap for playing video games. True some of us do play waaaaaaaay too much. But for those of us who like to unwind with them, they can be a great resources.

A decent game has a lot of redeeming qualities. For one, most of them involve problem solving. Some of the more recent ones allow a lot of out of the box thinking. They also let you play in fantasy worlds that you could never access without them. Just look at the success of the Harry Potter franchise. Everyone needs to get away from life once in a while.

The best ones have exceptional stories that are as good as some of the best novels and movies. You could just watch a movie, but a movie doesn’t allow you to interact. It’s a passive activity. And for those of us who are active, it usually isn’t a good match.

I mentioned books too. Why don’t I just read a book. Let’s overlook that books aren’t interactive either. Wait… there were those adventure books back in the 90’s that were interactive. I usually just got irritated and skipped to the ending after hours of going around in circles trying to pick the right path!

Back to books. Books are not relaxing for me. I rarely read anything other than non-fiction. And when I do read fiction, it’s usually a slow process. That’s not because I have a hard time reading. I can read very fast, but in order to really enjoy the book and process the information, I have to paint a picture in my head. So basically I have to turn the book into a movie in my head or I won’t absorb anything I read.

This is a very attention and energy consuming process and usually ends with me zoning out and thinking about what I should be doing instead. Not really unwinding.

So I just cut to the chase and play a video game now and again. I get a good story, activity (even if by proxy), and a feeling of accomplishment! The trick is to not become lost in the video game and put your life on hold. I promise it only happens very occasionally!

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