I’m a 41-year-old, dark-skinned, 5’6″ man. People see the hype and enthusiasm I give when podcasting or when I am about to interact with friends. I wasn’t always like this.
We all have a story about our personal issues, self-esteem, families, and other moments in our lives that have shaped us. I’ve talked about how video games made me courageous, helped me believe in myself. I’ve shared moments I had with my brother at times, and why games matter to people who play them for fun, for escape, or for just passing the time. For some, video games has been their therapy and for some of the creators, it’s been helpful to them mentally. I know it’s been helpful in many ways to me, and while I have some days when I reflect on my past, I also take a moment to acknowledge that video games can bring closure to real life issues.
Modern indie games have been a real help. Games like Gris and Spiritfarer deals with death in a meaningful and accepting way. The Gardens Between deals with friendship. Papo & Yo touches on Alcohol abuse. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture deals with family and love. So many games take topics we know about, we’ve been through, or are still working on and allows us to have a chance to bring closure to them. To resolve inner thoughts, emotions, and accept that in the end, there is a chance to grow and learn. A chance to make you, the individual, better.
I think this is why I resonate with Vivi, from Final Fantasy IX, trying to find his place, wondering why he was being picked on. Seeing how Zidane and the team loved him and fought by his side, I can relate to him because I went through something similar to Vivi for a while in elementary and in high school. So many questions filled my mind about why I was the one person being picked on, rejected, and seen as “the odd one” from my own race. It wasn’t about being tough to handle these things. To “man up”. It was about why I wasn’t seen as equal and respected.
It took a while, but I did find friends and a community that understood me. As time went on and I played Final Fantasy IX, Vivi brought so much closure to some questions that lingered in my past. Knowing what happens in the end, Vivi’s story showed me what acceptance looks like. It’s been a journey for sure, but that’s just one aspect of how games have helped me personally.
That’s why it’s important that characters, their history, and personality, matter to the story in a game. There’s a possibility that it will resonate with someone. If done correctly, it could bring closure to some issues. It will still take time, but players may feel seen and recognized for what they go through or have been through. It’s not always easy because video games do take time, and progression does play a part. It took me years to accept things even after Final Fantasy IX, and that’s a journey I am still walking through.
As games become popular, I hope to witness adults stereotype less about games. If they could see how they are helping people bring closure to real life issues, they can see that it’s not ideal that others downplay this form of entertainment. If they could sit down and experience Coffee Talk, What Remains Of Edith Fitch, or That Dragon, Cancer, they could see the potential of the things people go through and why games like these deliver something helpful.
I’m glad to still play video games today. I’m excited to see games all the way through and learn from what I experience. Back in my past, I didn’t have these options or avenues for help. When Final Fantasy IX came out and I played it, I just felt something. I felt some form of closure starting to arise. I hope anyone who feels this way knows that video games can help. They might not solve all your problems, but maybe they can help bring you closer to closure.
Has a video game helped bring you closure? What genre of games can provide help? Let us know in the comments or on our Discord.
Eddie V. is a co-founder of Boss Rush Network who writes, podcasts, and loves video game trivia. You can find him on Twitter with @thatretrocode.