Level Up: Gaming & Life 5 – The Great Escape

The windy city, Ur. The damage from the earthquake that occurred here was relatively slight. Most of the people were convinced that the wind crystal must be living in the underworld and protecting them…and they were right. One day the wind crystal arose from the underworld and chose four youths to find the remaining three crystals that would save the world. Off on their journey, the youths ventured forth; and, as a soft breeze whistled gently through the trees, the group of four strained their ears to hear hopes, dreams, desires. The wind spoke of all, and the four valiant youths listened sympathetically to the wind, believing that in return, the wind crystal would shower them with light again.

 

I’m going to put myself in a position I rarely subject myself to.

I’m not really the most stable person in any particular flock. In fact, as solid as a person that I am, I’m also human, and there are time where I actually fall into the rut of depression.

While I have found myself in this predicament many times over my life, my biggest go to for equilibrium has been video games.  Sure, some would suggest talking with someone about what’s on your mind, and that’s fine (I’ve used that option many times, and I recommend it if you have no love for gaming). Video games have allowed me to tackle through those times in which I have been stuck in the middle of not giving a damn about anything going on around me, and making a mountain out of an ant hill all at the same time. Those times when life seems too heavy, and there is nothing worth putting an effort towards have always been met by the amazing escape tools that video games have supplied to me.

No matter what, we fight on.
No matter what, we fight on.

Many of my early memories of feeling down and out is connected with the RPG genre. Not because RPGs have been the cause of my depression, but because they usually take me to a world of hard work, incredible stories and conclusions that in a sense, helped me to focus on a mission much bigger than my small problems (who isn’t more concern with saving the world than feeling inadequate?) Many games, from Chrono Trigger down to Final Fantasy (mostly 1, 4 and 6), gave me an avenue of escape, filled with worlds and character development that have taken me from my realistic holes, to a fun an engaging environment that for the least, allowed some kind of numbness over whatever situations bugged the hell out of me withing those times. RPGs also allowed me to open up in conversation with other fellow gamers, which once again, allowed me to take the focus off of my perception of whatever shortcoming were bugging me, Chrono Trigger being the biggest culprit of them all (who didn’t discuss all of the possible endings and scenarios as if it was a conspiracy in a Coast to Coast segment?).

Sometimes the four valiant youths thought they heard the wind calling softly to them…and they really did. When the four youths were feeling depressed and at a loss for where to turn next, the wind’s voice encouraged them to keep trying. When they were lost and didn’t know which way to turn, the wind gently led them in the right direction. While the four youths suspected the wind was helping them, little did they know that the great Doga was also watching over them.

 

These stories, these characters, all in one way or another, allowed me to ignore any negative junk that would continually try to convince me nothing is really worth doing, and gave me progressive stories that consistently filled me head with imaginative, healing thoughts about my adventures, and even still, original daydreams of my own.

These are the stories that heal.
These are the stories that heal.

To those who are seeking an escape to help calm the nerves and feelings of paddling a boat up a waterfall, I recommend you give video games a try. It may not remove your problems completely from your life, but that’s not the purpose; it’s a fantastic way to escape the negative thoughts that beat us down, and keep us on the floor in times in which things appear hopeless.

Of course, the RPG genre wasn’t the only remedy in the medicine cabinet. Find what you love. Fighting, SHMUPS, puzzle; there are endless amount of genres waiting to soothe your mind.

Lastly, if you have an issue with depression, and you can’t find yourself finding peace in any activity in life, I beg you to get help. Don’t be scared to reach out and talk to someone about where you’re at, and where you want to be. It’s almost unavoidable to get hit with harsh scenarios in life that can change and break your will. In turn, it’s also our job to face these challenges, and grow from them.

We can’t be the heroes of light, if we do not seek out the crystals. Don’t allow the evil elements throw you into hell on earth. The battle is rough, but the outcome is amazing once you get through the battle.

I know for myself, I will have dark days in my future, just as I have had them in my past. The one thing that I know is for certain, is that I understand that there is no benefit in staying in that rough patch. There is an adventure waiting for all of us out there, and there is no better time to live it like the present.

Dark days are coming. but the wind crystals will shower us with light again.

Be a hero of light.

For the four valiant youths, this mission was a novel experience, and each of them was overflowing with curiosity. Everything they saw appeared extraordinary, yet they were completely void of fear. Thoughts of ghosts and evil powers didn’t even enter their minds. They felt as if they could journey on like this forever, traveling to the outer reaches of the universe.

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