Take a deep breath. Hold it down for five seconds. Exhale. Inhale for three seconds. To repeat. How does that feel? A bit better? Well. We live in stressful times and every moment of calm is welcome.
Video games don't have a reputation for calming down. People tend to view it as a headache for stressed adults rather than leading them into a state of zen relaxation. But the reputation can be deceiving. When developers simplify the controls and incorporate beautiful music and relaxing graphics, video games can open up spaces for calm and concentration, such as in the gym. B. quiet retreats on a screen. They can calm your mind by letting you occupy a new world and reshaping the way you think.
While the video game neuroscience is inconclusive, there may be evidence that the benefits aren't just in your head (pardon the phrase). Recently, a group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, Irvine, Tenacity developed a game aimed at increasing mindfulness. In a small study published in Nature magazine last December, they found that over the course of several weeks, the game can subtly improve connectivity between multiple areas of the brain that have been alerted.
Fortunately, you don't need an expensive console to play. Here are a few examples, all of which are available as smartphone apps for a maximum of $ 5.
How about a short vacation? Escaping the tumult of the city and starting a new life in a small town doesn't work the way you'd expect in real life. But Stardew Valley does it right. You start out as a figure of your own design and move down into the valley to take over your late grandfather's overgrown homestead. You will find an idyllic small town in a piece of nature that feels like it comes from a picture book: healthy, magical. The game is open; You can farm alone or with your friends or defeat the villain, a superstore hawk mega-corporation, during the course of the game. The last one might not sound so relaxing, but it all leads to a fantasy of escaping the stresses of postmodern life, a paradise with a cottage core.
But maybe that sounds too much like work. In that case, try prune. The title says it all: with one touch here, one touch there, you gently nudge a tree to thrive. This is a minimal, picturesque game, an exercise to contemplate the beauty of nature for yourself. According to the App Store page, it is a "love letter to trees" that offers the joy and warmth you would expect from the best love letters.
This is a simple puzzle game about objects in their most abstract and aesthetically pleasing sense: a lantern, a music box, a clock, a paperback. Turn it, nudge it, see what happens. With the right movement, any object blooms like a flower, rotates and transforms into something else. It is a dance in color and shape through the world of things. In doing so, the game becomes a peaceful place where you can think lovingly about the world around you. Isn't that lamp in the corner pretty? Have you ever noticed all the contours that light can hold in that briefcase, that glass?
Gorogoa, a hand-painted puzzle game, is the result of years of work by Jason Roberts, a software engineer who quit his job in his forties to devote himself to the game. And the effort shows. Each frame is meticulously detailed; The game's landscapes, bedrooms and skies, which take the form of a surreal journey through the tumult of the 20th century, reveal themselves in small pieces. This game is about learning to see well. Picking the fine details can solve puzzles. As you solve puzzles, your perspective changes and you begin to understand how limited your view of the world really is – a fine lesson in humility.
Desert Golf (2014)
This game plays a little differently than the others on this list. It's a game of golf in the most inhospitable golfing environment imaginable: a vast, Ozymandias-like desert. Golf balls don't thrive in the sand, and the game takes that seriously. Every putt is a chance for surprise and fight. In order to progress, you must learn a whole new world of ball physics. Why is this game on the list? Because look: there is nobody else here. There is only you and this ball and hole after hole and the beauty of the desert in the twilight. Everything was drowned in orange and red. The score is just a formality. And all you will find out in the desert is yourself.
If you're the right age, you may remember the Tamagotchi madness, those little companion monsters that you looked after, a cute pet that you kept in your pocket. Mountain is the outsider-art version of that. As the name suggests, your digital companion is a mountain. You see it grow, take shape, accumulate, and occasionally interact with you. Yes, interact: every now and then it will tell you its strange mountain thoughts. Developed by David O'Reilly, who designed the digital interfaces that the characters interact with in the film Her, this is a game that works best in the background. Open it regularly for a quick review of ongoing geology.