Friday, March 21, 2014

Is Anxiety Over Video Games A Real Thing?

DISCLAIMER: With this post, I am in no way attempting to make light of anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, as I know that these are very real for the people who suffer from their effects.  I only bring up PTSD as a question, a way of springboarding into what it is that I want to talk about.

I am currently at a crossroads in a couple of games that I am playing.  These crossroads have occurred in the form of anxiety when I think about the situation that I will have to put myself in if I want to continue on with the game, a video game form of PTSD if you will (see above disclaimer).

The first game is Slender: The Arrival, which I covered in a previous post.  I have reached a point in the game that is an homage to the free to play Slender: The Eight Pages, where you wander around an enclosed area trying to collect eight pages that are randomly placed on any one of 10 landmarks all before you are chased down by The Slender Man.  I have played The Eight Pages quite a few times and have never been able to collect all eight pages.  TEP is odd in that it is pretty terrifying in a minimalistic way, but I still end up jittery with a racing heart-rate each time I play/fail.  This is where The Arrival comes in, the level that is an homage to TEP.  When I first reached the area I recognized what was going on and I felt my heart-rate begin to quicken.  All of the times that I had failed in the past came back and began to nag at the back of my mind.  I told myself that this stage in TA would not be as difficult as in TEP because it wasn't the entire game, just a stage.  However, as was the case with TEP, I was caught by The Slender Man after only finding a couple of pages (my record in TEP was five).  I have not played the game since because of the nagging feeling/fear of all the times I had failed in the past and the tension I went through just to fail.

The second game is Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.  I have reached a story battle that is very reminiscent of a battle from Final Fantasy Tactics that I found to be very difficult.  Anyone reading this who has played the FFT will most likely remember the final battle against Wiegraf when he turns himself into the Lucavi Belias.  It has been stated (by the linked website as well) that this battle is one of the more difficult battles in the game and that is very much not a lie.  Currently I have changed the main character's profession from a Warrior to a Ninja and I am grinding to build up the Ninja level and skills in an attempt to better equip myself for the battle.  All the while I have previous experiences of going up against a very strong (and annoying) enemy in the back of my mind, reminding me of all the self imposed mental anguish I put myself through at the proverbial hands of this religious demon.  However, if I want to continue with the Let Us Cling Together and the story, I have no other option but to defeat this boss after an initial battle with only the main character.  I have not resorted to gamefaqs, but that might just be a very real option to save my sanity, if only a little.

It might seem/sound odd to a lot of people, but I genuinely get anxious when I think about going back to either of these games to play them, knowing that I have these challenges ahead of me.  One might say that there is no reason to worry so much because "it's just a game."  I do not have a response to someone with this point of view as it is their own and have already made up their minds and that the way I feel is not legitimate according to the way they live their own lives.  I guess it could be like telling someone who cries (for any reason) during a movie that "it's just a movie."  To me though, that anxiety associated with these two walls I have come up to is very real, in both a mental and physical sense.  In Slender: The Arrival, I know that if I fail the first time, I will most likely try again at least one or two more times, depending on how many pages I am able to achieve, all the while knowing that after being caught twice, I will become more annoyed than afraid.  Ogre Battle: Let Us Cling Together is a bit different in that I can always just forego the battle and just raise levels with my current party, although that could be dangerous in and of itself as the random enemies level along with the average level of your party as they do with Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, and I do not want a repeat of that debacle.

So in answer to my question: Yes, for me, I believe that fear is a real thing to be afraid of.

~JWfW/JDub/Jaconian (In Canada)

No comments:

Post a Comment