Forget your stress; play a video game

Taking a cue from "Fallout 3," Bethesda added cinematic, slow-motion finishing moves to the combat in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." (Tribune News Service)

Life is difficult and full of stress. You go to your job, or to school, and work hard for eight, 10 or even 12 hours a day, and after all the hard work you put in, you have the joy of turning on the TV to see a world that is falling apart around you.

How can you lessen the stress that hit you because of that failed relationship, the relentless killing and other ongoing turmoil in the middle east, or a government so dead set against each other that they’re doing no governing at all? Two words – video games.

After a week of hell, why not immerse yourself in a world where your problems don’t exist? Your boss at work doesn’t like you? Well now you’re at home – this is your time.

Don’t dwell on problems in the workplace while you’re at home, that’s only going to exacerbate your bad mood. The best thing you can do is find ways to distract yourself. Focusing your free time on how unhappy you are at work or school will only prolong your misery. Let those eight hours exist where they are, and during your free time, invest your emotions in a video game.

“Destiny” was just released by Bungie, and although it’s relatively short, it has potential for hours upon hours of fun. The game is fun by yourself, but when you play online with your friends it’s difinitively more fun.

An image from ìDestiny." (Photo courtesy Bungie/Tribune News Service)

An image from ìDestiny.” (Photo courtesy Bungie/Tribune News Service)

The teamwork it takes to achieve victory in tough situations is really fun and really distracting, and when you succeed you’ll feel satisfaction.

You won’t be concerned with the fact that President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have teamed up to accomplish nothing in government. You won’t be asking the question of why we have government in the first place – you will be going on strike missions with your friends.

Even though it came out in 2011, a game that you can endlessly put your time into is “Skyrim.”

The fifth game in the “Elder Scrolls” series by Bethesda, it will consume your life. As someone who has put over 700 hours into the game, I can say that it’s amazing that I’ve been able to accomplish much else in life.

No one will judge you for playing this “old” game because there is so much content in “Skyrim.” Even after my 700 hours, I could start a new game tomorrow and find new missions that I’d never seen before and still have tons of fun.

After a relationship fell apart, there was no need for me to focus on the past or what could have been – instead I became the Dragonborn and got to be a hero, or villain, in the land of Tamriel.

Why should I sit around feeling sorry for myself? I wasn’t ready to date again, so I needed something to occupy my time. “Skyrim” was my life away from life.

Don’t fret that you lost your job. In between looking for new work, try saving the galaxy in the “Mass Effect” trilogy.

Taking a cue from "Fallout 3," Bethesda added cinematic, slow-motion finishing moves to the combat in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." (Tribune News Service)

Taking a cue from “Fallout 3,” Bethesda added cinematic, slow-motion finishing moves to the combat in “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” (Tribune News Service)


Commander Shepard, whether you choose to play her as a selfless, compassionate leader or as a ruthless get-the-job-done badass, you’ll care more about what’s happening in her world than in your own.

Yes, you should play Shepard as a woman. Bioware, the game’s developer, gave “fem-Shep” far superior voice acting than the default-male version of the commander.

The series is even older than “Skyrim” with “Mass Effect” coming out in 2007. It’s the first game to allow you to transfer your game-save to the next game, so that, by the third game, all of the choices you’ve made throughout the series have shaped the character and the world you’re in.

Is futuristic, alien-versus-human combat not making you forget that we’re headed into another war in Iraq and Syria? Maybe something from Bioware that’s more fantasy-based than science-fiction.

“Dragon Age” is another great series from Bioware. Even though the second game got criticized for changing its game style to more of an action game than a role-playing game, the storyline will make you invest your emotions into the game would do.

This game will have you fighting demons, dragons and other monsters in a medieval-type setting. And like “Mass Effect,” the choices you made in “Dragon Age: Origins” affect the world in “Dragon Age 2,” and furthermore, “Dragon Age: Inquisition” comes out later this year.

The best “innovation” in the “Dragon Age” series is that it’s really the first game where you can have your character in an involved, same-sex-relationship story. Despite this being an obvious feature for these types of games, “Dragon Age” is the first to appeal to its gay fanbase.

Whether you’re gay or straight, a man or a woman, there is a game for you that will distract you from the world around you.

It seems every other movie that comes out is a remake or a super-hero film. That’s quite boring and it shows that Hollywood has nothing left to give us. The true creativity is coming from game developers.

Gaming is a culture of its own, and with so much social unrest and violence in the world, gamers actually manage to contribute to the wellbeing of society. To paraphrase the great George Carlin, you show me a guy in his living room lounging in a recliner playing video games only getting up occasionally to get some food, and I’ll show you a guy who’s not causing any trouble.

Find some friends that enjoy the same types of games that you do and play with them. It beats arguing politics with friends and family and alienating each other.

You’ll live longer if you take a break from the stresses of everyday life.

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