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Topic: Gaming Therapy- has it helped you?

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RetroGBHippie92

1. Posted:

I thought came to me very lately, all the news in the past that have suggested gaming can help in certain ways for people, whether it be in a physical, mental/emotional, spiritual or social develepment kind of aspect, may be very true. In the last year and a half, I have been one of them, someone who has suffered a lot under intense emotional or physical pain, someone in need of something that would in some way help relieve or distract from that pain and gaming did to some certain extent help me achieve some relief.

In very early January 2012, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Child Cancer not usually found in people over the age of 20, a type of cancer called Neuroblastoma that is more commonly found in babies and toddlers. Long story short, I have mostly recovered from this aweful disease now, with only minor therapy to go (immunotherapy), I haven't really had the chance to tell many people about it because of having to constantly go back and forth between hospital and home over a 300km distance every few weeks/months, plus the fact that I'm more introverted and not an overly socialable person ties in the fact that I've had some terrible emotional problems, some that have lasted a week (sometimes by myself) or only a few days. So in truth, I haven't been at all honest to those around me how I've felt because I chose to be strong about it and ignore it as much as possible, which may not be great in the long run, but as I said im overly introverted, not particularly socialable and a bit shy to be honest (unless of course, I get talking with someone about video games I'm a completely different person).
Anyways, Video games have truly helped me run through some tough times, with being home and at hospital a lot of the time, I turned to my humble Nintendo 3DS/XL, I owe that thing for saving me from hours of boredom and annoying things, often little but not negligible. A lot of the games I played in between were anything between retail to eshop titles, I am going to list all the games I bet just as examples that helped me when I was having treatment:
(This list also includes DS games, as I often had either my DSI and 3DS/XL with me).

-Tales of The Abyss
-Mario Kart 7
-Heroes of Ruin
-The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave (eshop)
-The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (I played this twice, once last year, once this year)
-The Sword of Hope II (eshop)
-Super Mario 3D Land
-Resident Evil: Revelations
-New Super Mario Bros. 2
-Mutant Mudds (eshop)
-Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2

  • Metroid II: Return of Samus
    Legacy of Ys: Books 1 & 2 (I bet both of the games)
    Metroid (eShop)
    3D Classics Kid Icarus (eshop)
    3D Classics Kirby's Adventure (eshop)
    VVVVVV (eshop)
    Paper Mario: Sticker Star
    Crimson Shroud (eshop)
    Hana Samurai: Art of the Sword (eshop)
    Gunman Clive (eshop)
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
    Super Mario World (Wii)
    Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden coins
    PLUS Borderlands: Game of the Year edition (PC)

As you can see (and I'm not joking), these are all the games I've beaten over the past year and a bit, but to really get a grip on which games actually helped me, I'd like to highlight to ones I truly felt helped me through: Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, The Sword of Hope II, Super Mario 3D Land, The Denpa Men: They Came by Wave, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, Metroid, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Crimson Shroud and Super Mario World. Not only did these games take me many, many hours to play through, but they gave me relief over what was happening in the real world, these games I felt I had more connection to because they took me on adventures that rivaled my own and in a sense gave some meaning into keeping strong in the face of uncertainty and I feel that these games really/mostly exemplified that. That's why I say go play THESE games, not just these but all the ones I listed above, they all helped in some way and I'm never more thankful than I am now.

Now sorry if this is all TL:DR, but I felt that the only place I could share any of this, was here. I've used this site for at least a year now and even though I might not be the most recognised or perhaps maybe not the most popular member (yeah you heard me "Your Favourite Nintendo Life User" Thread, ignore me all you like), I still feel more at home here than any other previous website I've belonged to.
While I've experienced so much over the last year and a half, I'd like to hear from you guys about your thoughts as Video Games as a type of therapy and if they've helped you or anyone you've known, it would be awesome to know of any others like myself that have gone through the same or similar thing, so please express yourself below or just leave any comment you like, it'd be much appreciated.

Thanks for reading! :)

Edited on by RetroGBHippie92

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Kyloctopus

2. Posted:

I'm happy to hear your story about video games. Its really awesome.
I haven't had much of a connection to video games in the same you have had. However, Gamespot recently posted this touching video about how Video Games are used as a way to fight depression. Its a great video.

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GuardianKing

3. Posted:

Yeah, definitely helped me through depression.

In February this year, there was a posting about Rune Factory 4 being localized. Since I grew up in a small town in Quebec (a Canadian province which outlaws, you read that right, English), I never heard much about video-games outside of big-name Nintendo franchises and FPSes (the ones translated anyway). For a very long time, I dreamt of a game where I could slay monsters while living a normal life (settling down, managing stuff, having kids, etc.)

Back then, I'd never heard of RF and HM before. When I saw this post, I literally froze in place, I was that excited. Then, after some research, I found out about Harvest Moon and started with ANB on the 3rd.

I finally found something I was in control of. With most games, you're locked into a character. Having never played stuff like GTA and Skyrim, Harvest Moon was the closest I got back then to a game where I had real control over many things. Also, I never felt more satisfied playing a video-game, even though I wasn't blowing monsters and stuff. The little rewards for your hard work were truly satisfying for me, and I liked seeing my actions have some impact on the world around me (again, hadn't played open-worlds a-la-GTA yet).

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RetroGBHippie92

4. Posted:

My focus at the moment when it's come to gaming, is play happy and fun games, sometimes playing a thinking game makes me nervous and overthink everything. I don't think i'm depressed @Whirlpool, but maybe just a bit unhappy sometimes, i'm normally cheerful and sometimes I act a bit hyperactive and even berserk, but not depressed.
Out of those games, The Denpa men: They Came by Wave, was one of those games that connected to me, someway through last year I was having trouble (and I'm still feeling it) with my personal identity, like who I was or what I was and this quirky game made me feel "normal" in a way and told me it was ok to be who I was. Having recently found out about the sequel to The Denpa Men and that it was arriving everywhere over the eshop, I am being immediately drawn back into that same world that won me over and said to me it was ok.
Now is a really exciting time for me being a Nintendo fan, I mean I love what they're about to offer retail wise and I know the console I bought for my TV is going unused at the moment, but I'm so excited for all the E3 news, I'm gonna be on the forums here a lot more because there's gonna be happy games like 3D Mario, Smash Bros, Yoshi's Land etc being shown off and i'm stoked that that's happening.
All I can say now, is that for me I'm gonna be more happy this year than what I was last year.

Edited on by RetroGBHippie92

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HawkeyeWii

5. Posted:

I'm not into COD or Halo or really any of those any way. I mostly play upbeat games the majority of the time. Right now I have been playing Zen Pinball 2. Before you judge let me tell ya, I thought it was the stupidest thing before I tried it. It is sooo fun!

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Kyloctopus

6. Posted:

@RetroGBHippie92 Sorry for the misunderstanding. I never thought you were depressed. I thought the thread was a good place to show about how video games are therapeutic.

Edited on by Kyloctopus

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The_Fox

7. Posted:

I was in a somewhat similar situation, having to go through 9 months of physical therapy just to be able to walk again. It was probably the most depressing and frustrating period I've ever gone through in my life. I'm completely willing to say that video games were one of the few things that kept my spirits up during that time. It's probably why I remember games such as Halo 3, San Andreas, Eternal Darkness and Parasite Eve (all games I beat several times that year) so fondly. No matter how poorly physical training might have gone that day I could pop one of those games in and forget about my worries for a few hours.

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RR529

8. Posted:

I'm very touched by your story @RetroGBHippie92.

I've been in a fortunate enough position to avoid life threatening issues, so I'm unable to truly grasp what affect this has had on your life, but I'm glad to hear that you seem to be passed the worst of it.

Although my experience is incomparable to yours, I have felt better from time to time, taking a trip into my favorite gaming worlds.

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Captain_Balko

9. Posted:

This obviously doesn't compare to what some of you must be going through, but I'd like to mention it anyways. Last year my group of friends had some issues with another member... she was mentally ill and made everything very difficult for the rest of us. There was thick tension in the air, and some of my friends were incredibly depressed and angry and anxious and whatnot. One day, I sat down my friends and together we simply played Super Smash Bros. Brawl for a few hours. The first few matches weren't much fun, but slowly everyone started getting into it. We started laughing and joking and acting generally the way we used to. It took Super Smash Bros., something that we all positively enjoy (some of my friends believe it to be the best series in gaming) to make us realize that our bonds couldn't falter after something as stupid as what she put us through. We quickly began pushing away from her and sticking to ourselves. She moved on to new unhealthy friends, and we stayed together. Whenever we get together, we usually play Brawl because it reminds us of the time we stopped feeling sorry for ourselves and our situation and truly figured out what was important. To this day, I think that without playing Brawl, some of us might not be friends at all any more.

Edited on by Captain_Balko

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k8sMum

10. Posted:

on march 16, 2001, our lives changed forever. our 14 yr old daughter was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). she and i were often in hospital for weeks at a time, her dad and brother at home, 100 miles away. we took our gamecube/games with us. she played whatever version of the gameboy she had at the time. due to PTSD, i have a lot of trouble remembering time frames. i don't remember what we played, but we played. her immune system was severely compromised by the chemo and those times we were home, she was not allowed to go shopping or out. even visitors had to be curtailed. gaming helped her cope.

we had 5 years of it. she died on nov. 27, 2005 at 19 yrs. it just about destroyed me. she was a tough cookie, but the chemo took as much toll on her as the cancer. she had a bone marrow transplant january 2005; it lasted 9 months before the leukemia was back. she went thru all the hell of the bmt and still we lost her. she underwent more lumbar punctures/bone marrow aspirations than i can count. she had drugs to help her, but i held her thru every one, crying each time.

i would escape outside the hospital when she was deep asleep and play her gameboy. it helped me survive. it allowed me to have at least a few moments when i wasn't in a life/death battle.

i play my 3ds xl all the time. i can not just sit and watch tv as it drives me nuts, but i play my games and i am ok.

even though it's been 8 yrs, i still struggle to be in this world without her. i am bi-polar and it has all just about done me in. but she made me promise i would never hurt myself if she died. she was smart, too.

i miss her every second of every minute of every hour of every day. time heals nothing like this. you just get used to living with the loss and pain. when your child dies, so does the future you dreamed of for them: graduations, wedding, their children...all gone. her memorial site i've put up is at the bottom of my siggy.

good luck to you, @RetroGBHippie92. if you ever need someone with some understanding of what you have gone thru to talk to, let me know.

Edited on by k8sMum

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RetroGBHippie92

11. Posted:

@k8sMum I'm so sorry all that has happened to you, it's good to share our experiences around even if we are all in the different stages of life, I've only just turned 21 years old but I was told before and during my early treatments, that if I didn't do anything about it I would be risking my life. If I didn't go through with both of my precedures to remove the cancer and also my cancerous Lymph Nodes, then I would be very seriously ill now or perhaps even dead.

I've never had to lose anyone before but I can imagine that it was devastating to you, frustrating and even scary, I felt some of those things when going for my operations and treatments, so I can relate.
Thanks for the reply and I hope you feel ok at the moment, It seems that despite it being many years ago, that some things may never end up leaving you.
Take care :)

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RR529

12. Posted:

It usually takes quite a bit to tear me up, but @k8sMum's story has me really shaken up.

I feel incredibly bad for your loss. After reading some of your stories, I almost feel ashamed to have shared my own experience here (After what you guys/gals have been through, I feel like I don't deserve to speak).

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Intrepid

13. Posted:

@k8sMum I felt devastated to read about your struggle, and I even felt a little misty-eyed. I am so sorry that something like that had to happen to you and your daughter. I can see now that your username has much more significance now that I know about this. My sincerest sympathies go out to you.

@RetroGBHippie92 I'm glad that you survived. Most of us don't consider how lucky we are that we're alive and well when we don't have to go through yours and k8sMums experiences. I hope your recovery treats you well.

I count myself lucky that I have not had to go through similar situations to yours, but, at the same time, it makes it impossible for me to ever understand what you went through. Hopefully one day no one will have to go through what you both did. Once again, I can only wish you both the best.

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Intrepid

14. Posted:

RR529 wrote:

After reading some of your stories, I almost feel ashamed to have shared my own experience here (After what you guys/gals have been through, I feel like I don't deserve to speak).

Don't be. Not everyone has the same experiences, but our love of Nintendo helps bring us together and cope with the many twists and turns that life brings. Any experience, even those non-life threatening, are valuable and people want to hear them.

For my experiences, I used to live with my mother as a kid, as my parents were divorced. She was almost always drunk, always screaming at me, getting into fights, and getting in trouble with the police. I had almost no friends at school, as I was a kind hearted person who was too easy of a pushover and called names all of the time. I had an erratic sleep schedule and my grades in school suffered. Needless to say, my father fought endlessly against her in court to win full custody of me, and my entire life was turned 180 degrees. My living situation improved drastically, my grades became Bs and As,and I finally made friends. Throughout this entire experience, Nintendo has always been at my side, allowing me to escape to a better world when times were tough, and serving as a constant reminder to me today how it has always been there for me. I owe Nintendo for making my life bearable when I was younger, and I continue to play even today because video games have become an important part of my life. They are a part of me and I refuse to lose that part of my identity. My Nintendo 64, along with Mario Kart 64, Super Mario 64, Pokemon Snap, and Paper Mario were my most played games at that time, and I practically played them to death.

As for today, they help me deal with the stress that college brings, which is itself unbearable at times.

Edited on by Intrepid

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k8sMum

15. Posted:

@rr529

that was beautifully put: we all have stories and they all are valid. bravery is often exhibited thru small actions, ie talking to someone new, going out alone etc. bravery is nothing more than doing something even though you are afraid.

during cait's illness, i was often told how brave i was. ha! the truth of it is that i just could not envision a world without her. i've also been told: 'well, you wouldn't want her back sick, would you?' again, selfish or not, i'd have her back any way i could get her. we'd fight the good fight and tell death to piss off.

most of us are survivors of something. that is something to be proud of. we all seem to have found an outlet thru gaming, a way, for a short time, to leave a world that was not pleasant at the moment for games that gave respite. i am very thankful for video games for giving that to us.

Edited on by k8sMum

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turtlelink

16. Posted:

@K8smum, that was very touching. I'm glad you're able to cope with such a loss.

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