Blog: Mass Effect Therapy

  • This blog was written on Saturday 26 November 2022.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about how video games helped me manage my wellbeing. I now find myself thinking about this topic again.

Here is a short quote from the blog that sets the scene for my blog today:

“I have always been a fan of science fiction since being a young child. One of my favourite games is a series called Mass Effect, this is an epic Sci-Fi story, with great writing and lots to explore. There is also lots of thinking required to unpick the story through choices. I’ve always found being able to visit this universe very relaxing. When I have struggled, it has helped to provide a calming and relaxing state to me.”

Since I wrote that blog, I joined an online group for “fans” of the Mass Effect series. It’s a large group the shares anything from screenshots, fan fiction and artwork based on the games. I joined this group out of a love and enjoyment of the Mass Effect series, but what I have also found was a close community where mental health of its members is supported through shared love of the video games series. Someone who is struggling in the group is free to reach out or make a post, and they’ll likely receive a lot of support and social interaction. This, within the group, is called Mass Effect therapy.

I’ve not shared this until now, but back in October I felt under a lot of pressure and was really stressed out in life. I felt overwhelmed both in and out of work and struggling to relax. I reached out to a couple of other people in the group who had said they had similar feelings and began to chat in a thread. I decided it was time for some Mass Effect therapy. I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the last few weeks play the games and interacting with people about how that is going, as well as how I am feeling.

The games have a complex and in-depth story, with characters you will love, and even more you will love to hate. The story is one of war and exploration. The protagonist will meet many interesting characters, and you choose how to interact with them. When I come back to playing these games, it is a little like meeting up with old friends. It feels comforting retelling a familiar story, but there are also so many routes I can take with the options available.

The act of Mass Effect therapy for me is losing myself in a video game. It’s a form of escapism and for me, it goes a long way to boosting my mental health or wellbeing.  We are all individuals; we all have our own interests and the same can be said for video games. If you are a gamer, you’ll have your own interests that could form your personal gaming therapy.

I game because I enjoy it. I tend to only play single player games. My interests are varied, and I love the escapism that this brings me. Mass Effect wouldn’t be for everyone, but over the last few weeks it has brought my mental health a bit closer to where I think it should be. It has been a great mitigating factor.

Video games often get a bad reputation for violence, but I personally feel there is a lot to be gained from a positive perspective.

We are all unique, but tonight I do know my Mass Effect therapy will be continuing.

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