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Essays 03 April 2021, 22:22

author: Darius Matusiak

A wannabe fighter pilot, racing driver, and a spec-op; an adventurer and a space marine – hence, a gamer. I’ve been playing games since Wing Commander, and writing since Destiny.

11 Heart-warming Video Games for Hard Times

These are the hard times. If you're playing games, it's worth to use them to improve your mood with a nice, positive message, rather than shouting over the microphone at random players. Here are some heart-warming video games!

Computer games have always evoked different emotions in us. In the past, the days of strictly arcade and competition-oriented games, it was thrill on the one hand, and the joy of success on the other. As story-oriented titles and well-defined protagonists started to make their way into the medium, feelings typical of films and books joined in – curiosity, joy, sympathy and sometimes fear, sadness, and depression, in general.

It even seems that we remember more the particularly depressing stories from games like Silent Hill 2, To The Moon, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, The Walking Dead: Season One and many others. And there's nothing unusual about this – scientists have long confirmed that it's fairly typical. A New York Times' article features a voice of Professor Clifford Nass of Stanford University:

This is a general tendency for everyone. Some people do have a more positive outlook, but almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail.

Fortunately, strong emotions are also associated with happy situations and our memory registers these pleasant moments in detail as well. And alongside these great, if somewhat depressing games, there are also productions with particularly warm, uplifting messages and atmospheres. The ones that make us feel better, that put us in a good mood and lift our spirits. So here's our list of games that are the total opposite of the ending of the first season of The Walking Dead. In an era of not-so-cheerful daily news, maybe this will be the source of a cool, positive experience for you.

Unravel

  1. Genre: platformer
  2. Developer: Coldwood Interactive AB
  3. Released: 2016

The beautiful and atmospheric platform game, which is Unravel, delighted us five years ago for a couple of reasons. One of them was an extremely moving speech made by the game's author at the presentation of his creation. The second surprise was the fact that such an inconspicuous, singleplayer indie game was ultimately released by Electronic Arts, the lootbox supporter of the time. Finally, the surprise was the game itself and how good the adventures of the yarn mascot, Yarny, turned out to be.

Ingeniously designed platform stages framed in beautiful visuals provided the backdrop for a moving story about passing. As Yarny, we uncovered the memories of the residents of the house where the red doll was created. And they were not different from the situations we know well, standard for most families – once it was cheerful, once a little sad. It's a game that evokes excitement thanks to both the interesting gameplay using the laws of physics and the narrative. And Yarny is simply impossible not to like – he's probably the most expressive of all inconspicuous game characters.

  1. More about the game Unravel

The Sims 4

  1. Genre: life simulator
  2. Developer: EA Maxis/Maxis Software
  3. Released: 2014

Yes, it's true that The Sims 4 has its dark side and may evoke sadistic tendencies in certain players that I'm ashamed to admit (well, except in a Gamepressure article). But let's put those gloomy stories aside and remember the essence of the famous Electronic Arts series – which everyone has played, even if they don't want to brag about it today. Because The Sims 4 is a game about life, but slightly more colorful and carefree than the real one, even if sometimes our Sim gets into virtual trouble.

We love to spend hours creating our virtual family, decorate their home, often according to a vision that, for various reasons we cannot implement in reality. And then to decide their professional and social lives, decide how they spend free time. The game's producers know this very well. In order to prevent the players from getting bored, they regularly provide them with expansion packs, thus extending the life of this almost seven-year-old game. The Sims allows us to have a second life on the side, without any consequences or serious worries. And in case of occasional trouble, you can always just enter the code or try another time – and everything is fine again.

  1. More about The Sims 4

Stardew Valley

  1. Genre: RPG with agricultural atmosphere
  2. Developer: Concerned Ape
  3. Released: 2016

Let’s swap uptown life, barbecues, partying and careers in the big city. Maybe not immediately, though, because Stardew Valley makes the economic theme and taking care of our farm development quite important. Working in the countryside, on the other hand, is no joke and sending emails as a corporate rat is no match for it. To begin with, you need to rip out anything unnecessary from the ground and get busy caring for these useful gifts of nature. At the same time, be careful not to overwork yourself, because our hero may get tired and stop being effective in jobs that require more effort.

After the hard work, we can head to the nearby town, pretending it's The Sims all over again, and socialize with its inhabitants in the bar or during various events. And, as time goes by, maybe even date and eventually marry and have children. In addition, there is a constant feeling of growth and building something positive. There is no destruction (although there is some fighting), there is creation! Combined with the idyllic, pleasing to the eye audiovisuals, we get the perfect title to chill out and forget about our troubles.

  1. More about the game Stardew Valley

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  1. Genre: life simulator
  2. Developer: Nintendo
  3. Released: 2020

Another "game of life" on the list! Since the real world is full of worries, and bigger and smaller problems, many of us like to spend time in a virtual, totally carefree existence, often fulfilling our hidden dreams. Having to deal with these less attractive, everyday activities, on the other hand, adds some reality to such fantasies and allows one to become more immersed. Maybe mentioning reality seems a little strange in the context of the animal realm in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but in the end, there's no shortage of daily chores here either.

After all, fish have to be caught, mushrooms gathered (if it’s autumn), and the apartment furnished. However, whatever we do in Animal Crossing, we do everything with a smile on our face! Grind or not grind, crafting or not crafting – there is no rush with anything, no sense of unbearable pressure. There is only fun and bliss, as befits such an idyllic land. It's an addictive game that draws you in for countless hours, none of which seem wasted afterwards.

  1. More about Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Sims 4

The Sims 4

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Unravel

Unravel

Haven

Haven

Wingspan

Wingspan

Flower

Flower

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