Games, depression and escapism – Low Batteries

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In the first episode of a new miniseries called Low Batteries, Johnny looks at the impact games can have on mental health issues when used as a temporary coping mechanism.

If you feel that you may be struggling with mental health issues, Samaritans is an organisation open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can contact them on 08457 909090 or email them at jo@samaritans.org.

You can read the article referenced in this video at

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27 COMMENTS

  1. This resonates with me so much! i am so glad i have come to this series now. i have only just come to recognise that when i am particularly into a game its probably due to work stress or anxiety and gaming is my safety net. current sadgame = breath of the wild : )))) i also feel this series is more important now than ever!!

  2. Tbh as someone who's married to someone with clinical depression and video game addiction, the games make it worse. It makes him unable to do anything else besides game. It's a cruch that's doing more harm than good, an escape from something hes gotta go through.. but that's just me.

  3. What do you think about the "90 days gaming detox program" ? It supposed to help people to stop playing in order to fight their gaming addictions and avoidance tendency.

  4. Is it really a good idea to avoid our suffer by playing video games ? I'm a bit lost because I was doing that for a long time. Playing Zelda BOTW to escape the reality..
    But I've reading a lot of "stopgaming" subreddit posts, and some video of "HealtyGamer" and "GameQuitter" youtube channel at a point that it make me doubt about the efficiency of the "avoidance".. Because when we avoid, the situation stay the same.. So what should we do if we deal with depression and don't want to escape anymore ?

  5. That website with the article has issues. It asked me to turn off my adblocker, and i did, but it just kept asking me to and blocking the article. Their instructions on how to do so aren't accurate for the current release, so I can only guess that's why their software doesn't acknowledge it. After several tries I gave up. Too bad; it sounded pretty interesting.

  6. FTL is the WORSE sadgame if you're playing on hard. Way to much RNG bullshit where you will find yourself wasting your time every 9 out of 10 games at best

  7. Funny as it may sound, the GTA series has always been a source of escapism and relaxation for me. Ever since GTA II I've been addicted to doing the taxi driving side-missions and when I'm looking to "sadgame" they're usually my first port of call. GTA V is the best in the series yet, IMO. Both as a whole and for a source of low effort escapism. It's an absolute joy just driving aimlessly around the map, but the taxi driving gives me a small sense of purpose (if I'm early on in the story then I'm earning money towards car upgrades usually) yet it's slow paced enough that I can run on "auto-pilot mode" just listening to the soundtrack while I relax and try to process and overcome whatever's troubling me. Golfing and tennis in GTA V function much in the same way for me. Ironically enough in a huge, crime infested sandbox I'm far more interested in working a legal job and playing recreational sports.

  8. Thanks I was hoping for some inspiration for my essay about escapism through technology thanks alot you saved my grades 😁

  9. I can understand the sad game concept, which is my first time hearing about it, although perhaps not a coined term yet, but it seems to have some ground.

    The reason of it because me personally my sad game is “Minecraft”, although I seem to be going towards Warframe and League, but haven’t played for the same reasons you were exploring regarding the dissonance between personal performance in game and out of game. Which is why I prefer Minecraft due to the unlimited exploration and peaceful builds, as opposed to the high performance angst of the later two I mentioned.

    But be warned, while games may have benefits for people to cope with regular doses of stress, escapism can be a chokehold on people with actual and severe diagnosis of depression or anxiety, in which games should not be the cureall option. As a matter of fact, said persons should seek professional treatment than anything.

    Aside from that, on a philosophical level I find that escapism can be like the reverse version of Plato’s Cave analogy—this analogy of what was considered reality was actually not real, but as shadows of the real forms of reality. So the reverse can be said for escapism being that one knows the true reality, but wishes to escape from it for a lesser form of reality—in this case the shadow projections or the literal the projections seen on the interactive screens.

  10. I have gaming addiction and the failure to preform the way I feel I “should” in games makes me incredibly angry, depressed and suicidal. It makes me feel useless and is very hard to pull myself out of.

  11. I've been on a low for a long ass time now. I tend to go back to games I played as a kid, Tomb Raider (Originals) was that main game and I tend to go back to that. Also maybe a simple Lego game or the Sims usually work for me.

  12. Kind of glad I've found this series. Makes a lot of sense as I've done exactly this type of thing for years but never realised. From harvest moon on the gamecube to final fantasy and the arkham games, I've done this since before I was diagnosed

  13. What was that platformer game in the video with the woman with long hair and a crown / tiara.? Looks cool

  14. My "Sad Games" are really just sandboxes that gets me focussed on something other than emotions (unless that emotion is joy and bubbly-ness). I like Minecraft and Roblox. PUBG. Anything Mario.

    Most of these take me back to when I was younger, during a happier time, I guess.

    Although Minecraft and Roblox feel a bit more empty now since I've been playing them for years, I do enjoy them if I have new, exciting goal like making an adventure map or trying a new game.

    PUBG takes an immense amount of focus and playing randoms is a real fun way to get some interaction going (I can't feel empty when I'm serious, but calm, and talking with others).

    Mario is just enjoyable, interactive, and easy. It's a good, and fun way to do stuff (as long as I haven't played through the entire game yet (unless I REALLY loved it like Super Mario Galaxy))

  15. It's Fallout 4 for me. If I'm struggling with stress, anxiety or feeling low is just a game that allows me to escape into a different world and be a different person. In that world I'm important and powerful but it's also very peaceful and can be funny as well. I'm in the last bit of DLC now but I'm in no hurry to finish it. Maybe I'm intentionally avoiding finishing it because I need to know it's always there when I need it

  16. We just found these thanks to a comment in a video Aoife made today. Big thanks for this.

  17. I guess the souls borne games mostly at least Til recently. Now it often switches between stardew valley and monster hunter. I think it's because of how calming stardew is for me. I know I am blue when I start focusing more on only my farm and the mines and not really try to talk to the villagers for more than a couple of in game days.

  18. My most recent sad game was dark souls 3. I've had a shitty last few months and there was a week a few weeks ago where I honestly wasn't sure I'd survive. I've just graduated college and have been on the job hunt. I had just gotten rejected from a job that I really wanted and unfortunately costed me another job that I rejected for it. On top of that I had gotten in a car accident and was stranded by myself at my dad's house for a few days because I didn't have a car or money to go anywhere. All my friends had moved away and my ex gf had also recently left me for a co-worker.

    I pretty much felt worthless, and didn't really feel like even getting up in the morning. I had even started wishing the car accident had killed me.

    One morning I decided to pop in dark souls 3 and realized I had beaten the game but not the DLC. I decided to play through the DLC and wow it was incredible. I couldn't believe how just a few hours of distraction could make me feel even just a little better.

    Since then it's still been difficult but I am improving. I am trying to look at life in a different way by taking everything one day at a time and by exploring new opportunities.

    Thank you Dark Souls for being my medication when I needed it most.

  19. I am really happy this exists. Please keep doing more of them. This could so easily be the subject of an interesting PHD that could help lots of people.

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