I played Mario Golf today because it calmed me.
I’m sorry, but I’m not going to have much in the way of wacky insight or any musings on game design today. Some days you just… can’t. As a depression and anxiety sufferer, it’s often been way too tempting to make this project into a daily check-in of my various mental health concerns, using games as some sort of ice-breaker to lead into a topic that most probably don’t care to read about. Truth of the matter is, I could write several books on the topic of depression alone; the various ways it’s impacted my life and how it’s still so misunderstood by the public at large, but that path would only lead to more dwelling over the things I feel powerless to stop.
Make no mistake, depression doesn’t simply go away with “positive thoughts” or a change of perspective, but there’s something to be said for subterfuge, even if you know it will only work temporarily. That’s why art and entertainment have always been such an important part of my life; why for as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to create it in hopes that no one else would want for that same escape. Yes, they mostly just serve to distract us from the real world, but sometimes you need that. Today of all days, after an afternoon of panic attacks, it helped to simplify my life, if only for a few hours. For a time, the only things I needed to worry about were the buttons on the Gameboy in front of me and the soothing tones of Portishead hitting my ears.
Many would argue that choosing to disconnect too much is what leads us to becoming so anti-social as adults. I am probably the worst candidate in the world to ever argue that fact, but I consider how agnostic a game can be to the world that consumes it and how that makes it so much easier to walk away from when the required dosage has been reached. Mario Golf doesn’t know or care how bad my day was. It’s simply there to be played if I need it.
Today, I most certainly did.