10 Games to Play When Depressed


Like many people, I suffer from depression. Mine is often draining and seemingly endless at times. It conjures up many feelings within me, among them anger, worthlessness and weakness. It’s pretty much caused me to withdraw into a “shell” of sorts. Most of the time I don’t want to be around other people and I don’t want to do anything, including playing video games.

However, sometimes video games are a great coping mechanism for me. Sometimes they can help me deal. Sometimes they are simply an escape. I’ve pretty much come to terms with this disease of mine, and video games were a big part of that. I’ve played many in times of despair. These are 10 that stood out in my mind.

Depression Quest

Depression Quest  has been called brilliant by some, pretentious by others (shhhuuutttt uppppp) and boring by others still. It’s a Twine game, and while I don’t think it’s “for” everyone, I do believe it’s a perfect fit for anyone who wishes to explore some of the more troubling aspects of depression. Depression Quest  is not a happy game. It shouldn’t be. It’s about depression.

I identify with a lot of the situations in Depression Quest.  I even find myself thinking, Holy shit—this game is about me.  I’ve played through it several times. Sometimes I play it to cope. Sometimes I play it just because I like it. Whether you want to call it a game or an interactive novel or blah blah blah whatever, you won’t find many more purely human experiences than Depression Quest  in the gaming world.

Depression Quest  is available for free here: www.depressionquest.com

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine  is an extremely graphic, violent, nonsensical and really underrated action game. It’s a shame it’s been de-listed because it’s one of the best games based on a movie in that it achieves the rare feat of being better than the movie, which is crap (seriously; last year’s “The Wolverine” is about a thousand times better). My nephew and I both absolutely love it. It’s a game I turn to often when I’m feeling that angry sort of depression. I rip apart some dudes with another dude’s claws and suddenly everything is alright with the world. OK, I may have a problem.



Question: Who doesn’t like Tetris?  I seriously don’t know a single person who doesn’t. Rotating blocks and placing them just so is fun as hell and that’s why it’s on this list. I have Tetris  on my 3DS and I often turn it on and then just stare at it, thinking, I don’t want to play this damn thing.  Then I remember it has Tetris  on it and I realize I actually do want to play the damn thing. Tetris  is an awesome vessel that contains nothing except pure joy and if you don’t like it you’re a buttface.

The Sims


Making fake people happy is way better than addressing real life problems! Any one of the Sims  games is almost too perfect of a choice for a list like this. Depression is a monster that can only be defeated by positivity. The Sims  is all about that. Creating a character that’s more than likely supposed to be yourself or an extension of yourself and then helping them achieve great things makes you feel like a million bucks. The Sims  goes out of its way to be a joyful experience. Even failure in The Sims  is lighthearted and easily fixable.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim  is my most-played Xbox 360 game. I’ve spent 600+ hours exploring the land of Skyrim (and a bit of Morrowind in Dragonborn). I consider Skyrim  to be one of the best games of all time. I got lost in it the first time I played it and I’m more than willing to give into its life-sucking ways each time I return. The world that Bethesda built is amazing and represents the ultimate escape for those who may need it.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

OK, I’ll admit I just included The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time  because it’s my favorite game. Then again, it makes sense I would put it on this list for that very reason. I think everyone and their mom knows what Ocarina of Time  is by now, so I won’t bother detailing its gameplay or anything like that. If you haven’t played it, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! It made me very happy as a kid, and it still has that same effect on me now. Depression eradicated.



Boot up Minecraft,  choose “Creative Mode” and build to your heart’s content. Watch as your sadness melts away. Minecraft  is not the sort of game you play if you want big shootouts or a well-written story. It’s what you make of it, but it’s always a carefree adventure. It lets you do what you want to do, and that’s just dandy.

Need for Speed


If you find yourself feeling melancholy, go play a Need for Speed  game. Any Need for Speed  game (except Undercover). Rivals  is pretty fantastic, so start with it. Drive your cares away. Laugh at the ludicrous writing. Just let it all out on the pavement, ya’ll.

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros.  is great. Have you ever played Super Smash Bros.?  It’s great. The original, Melee  and Brawl  are all “venting” games, much like X-Men Origins: Wolverine,  but without blood and gore. Smash Bros.  is of course best with friends, but don’t take that route when you’re depressed. If you lose, it probably won’t be pretty. No, play the story mode or just plain ‘ole exhibition matches by yourself and just let loose.

Animal Crossing


Animal Crossing: New Leaf  helped me get through a pretty tough time in my life. I’m pretty much over it now, but I used to find myself constantly reaching for my 3DS when I felt down just so I could play it. The Animal Crossing  games are impossible to hate. They’re way too peaceful and cheerful. I named New Leaf  as one of my favorite games of 2013. I still 125 percent stand behind my decision.

Those of you who are reading this: I wish you all the happiness in the world. Depression is serious business and not to be taken lightly. I hope you always have at least a little light to fight off the darkness with. I hope you find these games and others just as helpful as I do. Take care.