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5 Games to Cheer You Up by Richard Breslin

It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, sometimes a dose of happiness can be hard to come by, especially for those that suffer with depression.

However, as I discovered as a child and right on through to present day as a married man with a son, videogames play just as an important role in improving my mental health, possibly even more so as I’ve gotten older.  There are so many games that I love, whether it be an epic adventure, a superhero saving the day, a game of football or something creative, they all play a role in my happiness.

So with that said, as challenging as it has been to narrow down just five games, I’ve compiled a short list that I believe do a great job in cheering me up by putting a smile on my face, and I hope that they can do the same for you too.


Two Point Hospital

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

A spiritual successor to the beloved Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital carries the torch into the modern day with giving you the responsibility of running your very own successful hospital.  However, this is no mere hospital, as its filled with unpredictable chaos and bags of humour.  You’ll be tasked with insuring that patients leave satisfied (preferably alive), making sure that staff are not skiving from their duties, oh and you’ll have to make sure that you don’t turn Two Point Hospital into a financial ruin and to show appreciation for your efforts, you’ll might  even be rewarded with end-of-year awards at a prestigious ceremony.  On the surface, Two Point Hospital may be judged as a business simulator and in some part that is true, but it’s also one of the most entertaining, funny and immersive games that I’ve played in recent times.


Concrete Genie

PlayStation 4/PSVR

Concrete Genie is a heart-warming story of a boy named Ash that lives in the small town of Denska.  A once thriving fishing community brimming with life, much of this town is now polluted, abandoned and decayed.  Ash is a lonely child that takes comfort in doodling creative art work in his notebook.  But when a group of bullies target Ash, they steal his note book, tear it to pieces which leaves the pages scattered throughout the derelict town.  So Ash embarks on a quest to recover his lost pages, but he soon discovers unexpected companions after finding a magical paint brush that brings his art work to life and brims the town with colour.  Concrete Genie has a unique gameplay feature that utilises the motion controls of the DualShock 4 that has you doodling your unique creations in-game before they spring to life with character, personality and vibrant colour.  Concrete Genie may have a campaign, but it’s a heart-warming story of a boy struggles, and an experience that will live with you for years to come.


Dreams

PlayStation 4

In Dreams from LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule, your “dreams” can quite literally come true.  The LittleBigPlanet series has always been about user created content with some impressive levels have been created by the community over the years since the first game released in 2008 for the PS3.  However, Dreams can take your creativity to the next level, whether it’s your own unique games, perhaps you wanted to finish a cancelled game or something based up your favourite movie?  You can even create something for visual purposes, for example, have you seen that life-like Full English breakfast?  The thought of it alone makes my mouth water!  But even if you don’t feel like creating, there are 1000’s of uploaded user created content which grows by the day, which you can check out for yourself.  Dreams also offers a perfect taste for anyone thinking of getting into videogame development.  Whether you want to be inspired or be the one inspiring, Dreams can give you a feeling of accomplishment and achievement like not many other games can.


Untitled Goose Game

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Untitled Goose Game is one of the most ridiculous games that I’ve ever played and it just so happens to be one of the funniest too.  The premise is simple, you are a Goose in a village, you’re placed in an area and you must complete as many of the in-mission objectives as you can.  However, while you go about your duties as a Goose, it is also your duty to torment the villagers and cause as much chaos in the process as you can!  Pinch picnic supplies, set off sprinklers, steal a garden rake, trap people in a phone booth, torment locals in the pub or just creep up to your unsuspecting victim to make them jump in fright with a loud HONK!  Yet beneath all of this chaos, is a surprising depth of puzzle solving that will have you scratching your head.  You may not initially think it, but Untitled Goose Game is like something that you’ve never played before and I can’t recommend it enough.


DOOM Eternal

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia

Now this is of course a mature game, and its 18-rated for a reason, so please only play this game if you meet the age requirements.  Throughout the years, the premise of DOOM has always been a simple one, The Slayer aka Doom Guy visits Mars where all hell has been unleashed and it’s his job to eliminate the demons to save the day.  DOOM (2016) was a fantastic reboot for the series, with gorgeous (and gruesome) visuals, fast & frantic gameplay and an adrenaline pumping soundtrack.  The latest release DOOM Eternal brings all the elements that made the 2016 release so great, and then expands upon its success to make it one of the best sequels in recent times.  For me, one of the factors that makes DOOM Eternal so great, is that the high-octane gameplay can actually work as a great stress release with its surprising therapeutic nature.  DOOM Eternal is one of the best games of this generation and ultimately, one of the most satisfying.  Now if you excuse me, I have some demons to slay!

Well, that’s my short list, and I hope that there’s something here that you might not have played.  Have you got any recommendations for games that will put a smile on our faces?  We’d love to hear your suggestions across our social media pages below!

 

Skills utilised:
Covid 19, News

Fractured Minds

Fractured Minds is an immersive artistic short game, exploring anxiety and mental health issues.

Winner of the BAFTA Young Game Designers Award, Fractured Minds is a game created by 17-year-old Emily Mitchell, with the hope of aiding understanding and awareness of mental illness.

I really wanted the game to mean something to people, to be more than a game you play and then forget.

Emily Mitchell

Embark on a journey through the human psyche and experience six atmospheric and thought-provoking chapters, each symbolising a different aspect or challenge associated with mental health issues from isolation to anxiety, with everyday situations being distorted beyond recognition.

Raw, emotive and earnest, Fractured Minds demonstrates that video games are capable of communicating vital messages in imaginative ways. It is a game that seeks to encourage empathy and champion support for the millions living with mental health issues.

Fractured Minds is proud to support Safe in our World, a gaming industry initiative striving for mental health awareness.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a dark fantasy action-adventure game developed and published by the British video game development studio Ninja Theory.

Self-described as an “independent AAA game”, it was created by a team of approximately twenty developers led by writer and director Tameem Antoniades

Self-described as an “independent AAA game”, it was created by a team of approximately twenty developers led by writer and director Tameem Antoniades, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a dark fantasy action-adventure game developed and published by the British video game development studio Ninja Theory. Self-described as an “independent AAA game”, it was created by a team of approximately twenty developers led by writer and director Tameem Antoniades,

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

The Town of Light

Based on extensive research and inspired by real facts, The Town of Light is a first-person psychological story driven adventure game set in the Volterra Psychiatric Asylum.

 

12 March 1938. Renée, 16 years old, is ripped out of her world, locked up and deprived of everything. Her only fault was that she didn’t know what her place in the world was. “A danger to herself and others and a cause of public scandal” wrote the police headquarters. The only horror you will find in this game is the truth: a blow to the solar plexus, much more intense than any supernatural presence.

The story is set in Italy in the first half of the 20th Century in a place which really existed and has been meticulously reconstructed.

The Town of Light is a psychological adventure told in the first person and based in a place that really existed. The asylum was shut down in the late 1970’s by a law from the Italian government which instructed all asylums to close completely and give back patients their civil rights. Exploring and interacting with the environment you will relive the history of the main character through her confused viewpoint and on the basis of your choices, the story will develop in different ways.

Features:

  • Realistic 3D graphics
  • Based on real facts and events.
  • Strong narrative component
  • No zombies or supernatural presences.
  • Nonlinear gameplay experience will allow different evolution of the main story
  • Original sound track.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Neverending Nightmares

Neverending Nightmares is a psychological horror game developed by Infinitap Games and inspired by lead designer Matt Gilgenbach’s personal struggles with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It was so hard to just walk around and do the everyday tasks like get out of bed and go to classes. I am trying to create that feeling in Neverending Nightmares.

Matt Gilgenbach

It features a truly interactive narrative structure allowing you to shape the outcome of the game. It takes the psychological horror genre in a new direction by eschewing many traditions that don’t contribute to creating an immersive horrifying experience such as limited save points, item collection/ammo hoarding, and puzzle solving.

The game features a unique narrative structure where you keep waking up inside another nightmare. This allows us to redefine reality every time you wake up. Players experience the mind-bending challenge of having to determine what is real and what is just a nightmarish manifestation of the main character’s psychological state.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

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