as it comes To the end, it is hard not to admit that 2021 was just a slight improvement over 2020. Covid-19, political turmoil around the world, climate catastrophes – all the stresses of the previous year carried over into the new year. The result was another 12 months that taxed everyone’s mental health and prompted many to seek refuge wherever they found it, often in video games.
To be sure, I’m definitely in that camp. Over the past year, my relationship with gaming has changed a lot, switching from a hobby to something I do to deal with it. As a parent of an unvaccinated young child, it is difficult to get out of it; play Mass Effect: Legendary Edition or Horizon Zero Dawn It’s the only opportunity I have to explore. “Without a doubt, gaming can be beneficial for mental health,” says Megan Connell, a psychologist who specializes in using games in therapeutic ways. “Games give us time to relax and unwind. They help us have fun.” But as the year went on, I struggled with something else: knowing that while games had become so valuable to me, they were an outlet that not everyone had.
This disparity becomes clear every time I look around. Not only do I have a recent iPhone and iPad, but I also have a Mac, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch OLED, and have access to an Xbox Series X (technically my husband). My gaming setup also uses a 4K monitor with a 120″ screen, so when I’m playing, I’m totally immersed. None of this means bragging. It’s only the longer I am surrounded by my equipment that I realize that getting the mental health benefits from gaming goes hand in hand with being able to give the games.
Sure, there are inexpensive ways to play—many titles are free, and mobile games are often inexpensive. Subscription and sale events can also help mitigate the financial impact, but that doesn’t change the fact that the barrier to entry for gaming – the cost of consoles, computers, and other devices – can be very high.
This assumes that you can even Get hardware; It’s still hard to find PS5 and the latest Xbox, even a year after launch. Also, the Switch OLED isn’t much easier—I was able to get my own because I was so excited to see one in stock that I bought it right away without even thinking. Many people don’t have the time, resources, or income available for this kind of console consumption, especially when you consider the price hike when buying a used console or the expense of trying to build a gaming PC at a time of chip shortage.
Earlier this year, at the end of the summer, I wrote about how much I enjoyed taking my Switch out into the world. It wasn’t that I was so attached to video games that I couldn’t bear to go to the park without them; It was the case that after months of confinement, games had become a way to relieve social anxiety. play mass effect I achieved the same result when I was at home. Don’t get me wrong, escaping into gaming for too long can be harmful – Connell agrees – but while people need to take breaks where they can get, play has proven to be vital. The problem is, it’s not a break that everyone can take.
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