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In response to "Goodbye, Cruel World" from The Escapist Forum: What a very interesting article. This reminds me of my first few years at uni. Ridiculous devotion to my units, and then a marathon of gaming or swimming to relax and let it all fall away. My scores were through the roof. Course, not much of a social life, but it was some type of gamer-monasticism. There was only games (Soul Calibre 2, Hitman, Civilization etc), peaceful swimming at night, and study.
Years later came across another productive combination. Short but frequent periods of sleep, and alternating between writing my thesis and gaming. Ignoring other distractions could get a huge amount done in a week of this.
Video games are at their core are just another form of stimuli. If we accept the statement "energy flows where the mind goes" then we see that by focusing on physical or emotional pain it can be exacerbated, by focusing our thoughts away from the pain we can alleviate it to lesser or larger extent. More than that various stimuli, including video games, can open our minds to fresh points of view that can make coping with painful situations much easier.
Of course, in so far as video games are concerned, the cure can be more poisonous than the disease. Getting "T-Bagged" by some guy in an online Halo 3 match, being constantly bullied by a bunch of players in an MMO, or the sheer frustration of playing any Ninja Gaiden game, is enough to make a person's pain go from bad to devastating.
Too as beneficial as playing a game like Flower on the PS3 could be it still doesn't compare to actually being out in a real meadow, amongst real flowers and a cool breeze blowing across your face.
In response to "See No Evil" from The Escapist Forum: I don't believe that any game can address these issues without coming across as preachy. People play games to have fun, not to be lectured about the nature of good and evil, especially a historical good and evil. That's just painfully awkward.
Imagine a game where a person participates in the Babi Yar Massacre, or executes Polish officers in the Katyn forest, or rounds up 'Comfort Women' for the pleasure of Japanese soldiers. The notion is grotesque, but without such involvement, how do you give the full impact of these terrible events?
That was an exceptionally well written, thought provoking article. When he wrote the bit about playing as a jew during the slum rebellions my first reaction was disgust and surprise. The idea of playing something based on that serious a topic instantly offended me. Then I stopped and analyzed the emotion and realized I had no problem using an imaginary flame thrower, or a gun mounted bayonet in a game, and aren't those terribly serious situations? There's an obvious disconnect here. Why can I watch the atrocities of the holocaust in movies, but can't play it in a game? Oh wait, there it is. No matter how much we try to intellectualize the medium, in its most base form, it's still supposed to be a GAME. And no one wants to play a game about real world suffering, despair, and loss. It would be disreapectful to the survivors, and wouldn't do any real justice to the horrors that were committed.