lunarsystem: (Default)
moon ([personal profile] lunarsystem) wrote in [community profile] rainbowgames2015-07-22 10:43 am
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Question Wednesday #2: Therapy Games

Sorry I missed last week, it completely slipped my mind! I'm setting myself reminders to keep up on QWednesdays though. 

This week's icebreaker is kind of a your-mileage-may-vary question, but here goes: do you have any "therapy games?" That is, are there any games/genres that you like to curl up with when you're feeling down, or help you burn off stress? And, as always, what are you playing right now?

peppertsuki: A sweet, glitchy green moon. (Default)

[personal profile] peppertsuki 2015-07-22 02:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I play mind numbing upgrade and idle/clicker games to try and get me to focus on something simple for a while. I don't have any real 'healthy' games, I think?

And I'm still making my way through Earthbound.

Question! Would it be okay if I posted a Let's Play style thing in Rainbowgames? There's a game that I really wanna show off the entirety of, because it's one of my favorite silly educational games, but right now we only do synopses of stuff. I promise to only do an entry no more than twice a week!
modernmodron: (Default)

[personal profile] modernmodron 2015-07-23 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
oh! that'd be so cool :D expecially for an educational game
washy: (Default)

[personal profile] washy 2015-07-22 03:35 pm (UTC)(link)
What I most appreciate when I am in that mindset ("what can I do that can take all of me out and just play a game") is something I can really sink my teeth into and think about, just as quickly as I can drop it, which for me is... Old game. Specifically, arcade-style experiences (scoring, aim for shorthand completion), like in Famicom platformers with structured 1-2-3 levels, or like memorization/pattern elements that you can find in NAMCO and SEGA's arcade experiences in the 80s and low 90s.

I'm endlessly forgiving for old games like that and can always pretty easily get into a mindset like "what are they going for here..." Like, I've played Spelunker! And enjoy it! And not just the PS3 remake which is super good, I actually can put up with the original. I missed that whole era since I grew up with PC games (i.e. King's Quest) until the Playstation came out, and even then I had no patience for this kind of thing as a kid. My boyfriend and I have picked up all kinds of random obscure Famicom ROM platformers like Armadillo and spent time just observing and picking out things we like in the graphics and sound effect department, and try really hard to give the difficult ones like Adventure Island a loooong fair chance as a challenge.

What really set me off on this was Mappy, by Namco! I fell in love with it somehow. It has a really idiosyncratic control style (I love when things weren't standardized yet!) and has a lot less repetition and more variance than like, Pac-Man. I feel extremely good playing it and trying to beat my high scores... which... aren't very good.

It's weird. I feel like what I'm saying is an enormous, huge breadth of genres and games, but to me it's a really narrow focus because of what I specifically hone in on with these titles. Maybe it's kind of silly, but the lack of standardization & streamlining back then, this unpredictability going in, is what actually soothes me? There are familiar titles I like to come back to, but I think my ideal therapy game is blind picking up an old Famicom action game (usually based on nothing but box art) and then just figuring out what it is!!
Edited 2015-07-22 15:37 (UTC)
ektoutie: (Default)

[personal profile] ektoutie 2015-07-22 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I've always found what a friend described as "fish bothering games" very soothing. Aquaria, Endless Ocean, Aquanaut's Holiday and the like. Moreso than "walking simulators" like Proteus etc, I just seem to really enjoy exploring underwater areas and looking at fish milling about.

Outside of those, the opening bits to Chrono Cross (and its soundtrack more generally) have a huge calming effect on me. When I had a long emotional low for a few months in my mid-20s I clung to that game for comfort, and listened to the overworld music separately so much it remains the most-played track in my last.fm history a decade later. I still have a big weak spot for Yasunori Mitsuda's soundtracks just because of that whole thing.
Edited 2015-07-22 15:47 (UTC)
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[personal profile] ektoutie 2015-07-22 04:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I've never actually finished Cross though I've started it probably north of a dozen times by now. The opening is just really lovely in its atmosphere... makes me want to just have a nice lie down in the sun somewhere. And at the time, its "What if" take on player choices (which weaves into the story as well) resonated with me big time. I first started thinking about moving away from home back then so there was a lot of hypothetical thinking happening, and somehow Chrono Cross made it feel like it was all going to be okay.

This is the specific piece of music I'm talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU5tQIDMAEw

Aquanaut's Holiday is a little weird, the original actually feels a little creepy in places in its dim lo-fi early PS1 3D and its weirdo ambient soundtrack, but I think it may have been the first non-goal oriented game I played so it has a fond place in my heart. Which one did you get?
Edited 2015-07-22 16:30 (UTC)

[personal profile] jackvambrace 2015-07-22 06:17 pm (UTC)(link)
So far as therapy games, I'd toss in Super Mario World, Minecraft, Xenoblade more recently, and anything with decent local coop.

Super Mario World is pure blinding nostalgia right down to my very core. First game I remember playing, first game I remember beating, and I really liked the artwork in the manual, not sure why. It was so much better put together than almost any other book I found in any other game.

Minecraft gets bonus points because of the local coop on PS3, so my wife and I can just chill and decompress and zone out. We also had fun with Resident Evil Revelations 2, maybe the best coop game I've played ever, definitely the best this year.

Xenoblade was just magical. All the characters have their own personality and mesh really well together and I just feel good playing this game. I just put money towards a preorder for the sequel, and I can't wait.

I recently finished off Wild ARMs 2, leaving just the fifth and the portable entries for me to play. I wanna play through Saga Frontier, knock off another old game from my past that I've not finished.

Shenanigans lead to me coming into possession of a Wii U and a ton of games for it so I'm playing Shovel Knight and Bayonetta, and I just picked up Monster Hunter for it also. If anyone has and recommendations for games, I'm all ears.
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[personal profile] tepidsnake 2015-07-22 07:45 pm (UTC)(link)
When I'm down I usually go to platformers, something simple and that I know is easy to blast through, particularly Sonic 3 & Knuckles (the only one where I can reliably beat the special stages, ha!) For stress-relieving, I usually go to Metal Slug (any of them, but a bonus of which is I'll spot something I never did before- nearly 20 years on and the series is still great for this) or a scrolling brawler like Cadillacs & Dinosaurs. I think the main thing is, for a game to help me out/de-stress me, it needs to be something familiar, that I know I can finish.

On the other hand, I played Forward to the Sky on Steam not too long ago, and despite it being totally new, I found the game very relaxing (I think I'd been playing a lot of survival horror at that point which I really enjoy but they do wear me out). The colours are bright but not too bright, the music is really tranquil, and it's a pretty basic 3D platformer mostly focused on simple puzzles. So there's one to try for that.

I'm still on Helen's Mysterious Castle- still great- but every week I play a fighting game online with a friend either via 360 or emulator-with-online Fightcade, and last week we tried one we've been wanting to play for ages, Red Earth. This is a very weird one-on-one fighting game- the 1P mode is RPG-like as you earn experience points, leading to new resistances/power-ups/special moves as you level up, but that has 8 boss monsters to fight, whereas versus mode only lets you pick one of 4 characters- not a lot for competition.
It's neat that you can pick your raised character against another via a password system, and those 4 characters are wildly different from each other (like Leo, lion-headed king who's all power and Tessa, sorcerologist who has tricky-to-use potions and animal helpers) but it almost feels like versus was a throwaway addition, and co-op against the bosses would've been way more fun! On the plus side, even now it looks fantastic and the character designs are all really neat. No home port, so it's emulation for this if you want to try it.
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[personal profile] melodyrose 2015-07-22 10:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Hmm. Therapy Games huh? Well for me it tends to depend on what I'm working with. I've discovered that nine times out of ten though, they tend to be portable games. I guess it's in part because half the time I feel guilty sitting down playing games due to it not being "productive enough", but a portable game can go anywhere.

Honestly it tends to be dungeon crawlers as a genre. But I need to clarify more than that. Like the original persona is a dungeon crawler but I can't really play that to relax. However Pokemon Mystery Dungeon? That's good for me. Etrian Odyssey too. Actually I seem to be literally incapable of getting tired of EO. And I think I know why those two particular series work for me.

Color and sound.

A lot of dungeon crawlers I know of are a bit.. .dark? And here's the thing, I like dark, enclosed spaces, but there is something very... oppressive? about a lot of ones I like. This doesn't mean they're bad just when I am feeling down it's not what I want. But think about it - When you first step into the first dungeon of the first etrian odyssey, you are greeted with this:



and this tune.

And the rest of the strata seem to follow a similar theme, from what I've seen. Yes, the games are very hard... but I'm all right with that from a personal standpoint. I find the grinding soothing, because it's in such an environment. Not to mention I find the mapmaking EXTREMELY soothing. I get real pleasure out of that. Though it's annoying when I misplace my stylus.

And I can't forget Mystery Dungeon. The environments in that game are just as beautiful, and while the dungeons sometimes get long, the difficulty level is such that I can just tend to relax with the game. Actually I remember spending a lot of time when I was stressing out between classes sitting in the hallway with my DS, playing mystery dungeon to keep myself on an even keel because it was something of a constant for me.

But I have to contrast these with something like, say, Legend of Grimrock, which is a great game in its own right - It's not something that relaxes me like the other ones do. I think it's in part because while individual areas of EO and PMD can get oppressive? I have the option of just going somewhere else to relax. That hasn't been an option in Grimrock for me. And just... beautiful, open environments, beautiful sounds. They just... relax and distract me.

I am honestly not sure entirely why they settle me when I start panicing, or when I am a gigantic mess... but they do. And I guess that's all that matters to me. It might be in part because the visuals and sound relax me, and then the concentration I need in party management distracts me. I haven't thought about it too much.

Sorry for ramblecomment ^^;;; I kind of like these games a lot and I have been afraid to post because I'm me.
Edited 2015-07-22 22:40 (UTC)
washy: (Default)

[personal profile] washy 2015-07-23 01:15 am (UTC)(link)
I feel this! I adore Etrian Odyssey for those same reasons. Koshiro's nailed something I don't see in a lot of JRPG composition: ambient tunes?! They're so long form and pleasant, and usually there's a catchy melody behind it that it's centered around. Plus, in the more recent games, the live jazz band performances make it feel soooo much more real. Hamauzu is the only other composer who seems to have a similar grasp.

Also besides music the sound effects are so pleasant??? The little ringy dingy when you get EXP, the walking steps, battle SFX. People tend to hone in in the cutesy artwork being misleading, but it's really all around pleasant.
melodyrose: (Omi time)

[personal profile] melodyrose 2015-07-23 04:51 am (UTC)(link)
That's really very true about the sound effects! They all contribute. And I'm not sure if you've noticed, but at least in untold? The footsteps change with surface. Like the third strata sounds actively... squishy? But I agree, it feels that I don't see ambience a lot and I am SO musically drawn that it's very little surprise that it existing DOES suck me in.

And actually in some ways, maybe it's just brainstalgia talking or something, but some ways i actually prefer the fm tunes to the arranged versions? At least in like, untold. EO4 has some awesome music. Just got to the fourth land in that game (have I mentioned I play games REALLY SLOWLY? I've been working on EO4 for well over a year now.)

But yeah all the little sound effects help contribute. I cana say yeah, the cutsey artwork could be seen as misleading, and in some cases it makes me kind of uncomfortable, like just some of the design choices, but it's really just part of the overall aesthetic. Because think about it - look at the screenshot I posted. Does it REALLY look like you're entering somewhere dangerous? I don't think so anyway.
tetsuro_hoshino999: (See ya)

[personal profile] tetsuro_hoshino999 2015-07-23 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
Ever since I was a kid, video games have been a great stress reliever for me. I usually like to played games that I've played before in the past like Super Smash Brothers (64 and Melee), Pokemon Blue, Mario Sunshine, any Kirby game I've owned, and Pulseman. I haven't thought much about why that is, but I think it's because playing a game that I'm familiar with is less stressful because knowing what's going to happen gives me a sense of order.
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[personal profile] modernmodron 2015-07-23 03:26 pm (UTC)(link)
My therapy games are always super crunchy puzzle games, anything that I can focus on for a bit. Zachtronics games pretty much always scratch that itch. I just got TIS-100 and that's been super calming in what's proven to be a pretty rough few weeks :/
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[personal profile] softchassis 2015-07-23 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Hm, I have a tendency to play Doom when I'm stressed out or need to unwind. All of the pieces of that game just fit together really welly for me, even though it can get pretty hard later on. I've played so much Doom that I have dreams about new levels, and the swaying motion of the camera sticks in my mind pretty well, like that thing where people close their eyes and see Tetris blocks.

Though sometimes there are periods where I choose a hard game and try to master it by playing it every day. For example, there was a two week period where I played and beat Mr. Gimmick every day! Finding a hard thing and fidgeting with it until it works is really relaxing to me. Other hard games I've done this with are Spelunker, Battle Garegga, Xevious Arrangement, and Pac-Man (which I guess isn't hard unless you're trying to get a high score in it).

ETA: Oh and obviously Sqoon since I made a whole post about it!
Edited 2015-07-23 19:33 (UTC)
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[personal profile] chocomarsh 2015-07-24 08:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I do this too! I find difficult games relaxing because of the way I have to think patiently and rationally about them. Honestly, I even prefer less pleasant hard games when I'm feeling down; ones that are "too fair" like Battle Garegga just make me upset that I'm not giving them my best.

I've enjoyed Metal Storm, Castlevania I, Gradius III for SNES, Bucky O'Hare, and (in the past (oh god)) a handful of Super Mario World & Super Metroid ROM hacks.
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[personal profile] softchassis 2015-07-26 01:10 am (UTC)(link)
I remember spending a week or two grinding through that Super Mario Bros Frustration (Super Mario Bros. Forever I think is its real name) romhack once. I got nearly to the end of the first level!