What's a Game You Turn to For Self Care?

Sometimes, the boring repetition in 'Destiny' is exactly what I'm looking for.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/whats-a-game-you-turn-to-for-self-care

Nostalgic games for sure - Super Mario RPG is probably the classic for me, but I’m also a sucker for Elite Beat Agents/Osu Tatakae Ouendan as a super-duper-good pick-me-up experience. Just… the premise that these super agents/cheerleaders just show up to help people out through the power of song and dance is SO GOOD when I’m feeling sub-optimal.

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icu @austin_walker, ripping existing threads :smirk:


Rogue Legacy. I’ve beat that game six times. I play it while watching tv, listening to music, when I get anxious, etc. It has a rhythmic combat pattern that I find reassuring and keeps my hands busy. Like the fidget spinners, I guess.

Animal Crossing. Always and forever Animal Crossing.

There’s never any pressure to do anything, you can just unwind and set your own goals.

One time when I was going through a particularly stressful period of my life I spent way too much time placing down an elaborate sidewalk in my town. It was repetitive and time consuming, but it gave me something to focus on, and by the end of it my town looked a lot nicer. I’m not even sure if I’d say it was “fun,” but it sure was relaxing.


This one is easy: Mega Man 2. I played it endlessly as a kid, so it’s got deep nostalgia for me. I can also run through it pretty quickly, about an hour and a half if I’m on top of my game. It’s the game I go to when I feel like I got nothing done in a day and want to get a solid sense of accomplishment.

Right now, for me, it’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and it works in two ways. The first is that I can play it by myself and mindlessly clear blue icons off of the map as I pick up skill points, weapon caches, and bonus medals. Then, I do the occasional side quest to help out the local rebels and earn supplies to upgrade my skills. It helps me engage the collector part of my brain and shut out the rest of the world for a little while. You can jump in for a little bit or play for hours just checking items off of the map.

The other side of it is playing with friends. I have two other people that I play with about twice a week and we mainly focus on the main missions in the game. This makes it so that we can experience the more interesting and unique facets of the game together, with the occasional distraction, and leave the more mindless tasks for when you’re playing by yourself. It’s a way for us to kind of catch up on each other’s lives and what we’ve done that week while feeling like we’re accomplishing something in a medium that we love.

I play a ton of FIFA. Career mode is basically a RPG for me. It’s pretty great once you’re several seasons in, the current roster of players start aging out of the game and you have to rely more heavily on scouting for the computer generated players and youth academy.


This Neo Geo fighting game called Kizuna Encounter: Fu’un Super Tag Battle. It’s just super satisfying to play, not too difficult to pick up, and it looks and sounds super rad. Since it’s a fighting game it’s easy to put on and play whenever for a short amount of time, and it got a US PS4 release very late last year so it’s my go to self care game.




Puzzle games for me are pretty good self-care game for the mind since it giving my brain some activity I don’t usually use.


our posts are just tiny grapes, crushed beneath his feet to make that content juice.


I recently discovered Destiny was this game for me when I reinstalled it because of the Waypoint forums plan to start a clan and run some raids.

I started playing again just to level up to the point where I could join in, and found myself feeling far more comfortable sinking into it than I was on the game I’m supposed to be playing right now, Prey.

It was relaxing. I could put on music or a podcast or even a TV show in the background while playing and still have a good time, because it didn’t need every scrap of my attention when I was playing solo.

I actually find that in some ways this kind of game takes on a meditative quality. Recently I was part of a pretty much all day tabletop RPG session, and I usually find during those that my mind will wander. If the party has split up I’ll sometimes end up checking my phone and then losing track of what’s going on. But last time I picked up Puyo Puyo Tetris on the Switch and found it was the perfect game to give my eyes, hands and brain something to do while still completely focused on listening.

It was quite a revelation to me to understand this about how my concentration span works, so I think in future I’m going to look out for more of these sorts of games which don’t demand my full attention all of the time and just help me relax and focus on whatever else it is I want to chill out with.


Cook, serve, delicious is my go to, its repetitive but fun and challenging parts of that game are like muscle memory to me at this point but I still feel satisfied when I do well. Binding of Isaac is kind of similar although it takes a little more brainpower.

When I’m super stressed or tired I really like building things, whether it’s a sims game or minecraft there is something so relaxing about putting the game on creative putting a podcast on and just making something. Even if it’s a house I’m never going to play in or something I’m going to delete as soon as I’m done.

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I lost 94 pounds* with the help of Overwatch as a regular listen to podcasts on my new exercise bike game.

*Please applaud.


I agree with this. Animal Crossing is my go-to self care game. Alongside other “life sim” games like Harvest Moon, Rune Factory, and Stardew Valley.

I think that the feeling of accomplishment without little effort these games can give are supremely important on days when I’m feeling particularly lousy. I might not be up to running around outdoors in real life, but in ACNL and other games I can at least FEEL like I’m not stuck and unable to do anything.



I love stories of how people have used games to improve their lives in measurable ways!

I think Austin is tapping in to something when he refers to these games as “maintenance” games–there’s something about the repetition that really helps me when I’m struggling emotionally. I grieved the loss of my father-in-law by finally starting and grinding my way through Diablo 3, I often use Hearthstone dailies and grinding up ranked as an evening pastime after a long day, and I definitely have used Animal Crossing in that way before as well. I wonder if the regular scheduling and feeling held accountable is part of that self-care for some of us, paired with challenges that are achievable, as opposed to playing an ultra-hard game for the pure challenge of it.

Mine changes often, but it’s generally any game that I feel like I can “live a day or two” in at a time. So Stardew filled that category for a while as an obvious choice, but I’ve also found similar satisfaction in Skyrim and Fallout. Civilization, though, that’s less a day and more years.

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Stardew Valley was this for me and Minecraft before that. There’s something about tending to something, real or not, that I think has benefits for my mental health.


Animal Crossing got me through a three month period where I failed 7 of my 8 college exams and if I didn’t retake them then Id have flunked so between depression and studying a daily regimen of helping my town was the utmost self care.

After that when Im really having a taxing time I tend to lend hard into my “the run” games which was Binding of Isaac, before changes and its aesthetic got too much for me, and Spelunky.

Lately I’ve gone back to Destiny and playing Enter the Gungeon for a similar fix. Often think of these as “podcast games” also.

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