OPINION: Video games that might help relieve stress


Khánh Nguyễn


It’s been a stressful semester already. For some, it’s hard to believe that adding a certain kind of stress can be helpful. But some video games to do just that.  

There are so many ways to relieve the stress from class, homework, and tests, but here are a couple games that I would highly recommend for stress relief.

For new or admittedly amateur players, I highly recommend “Celeste,” available on PC and all modern consoles. It’s an indie game developed by Matt Makes Games, so it’s a bit cheaper than a AAA studio game, but it also utilizes a style that one might see as old-school.

“Celeste” is a simple but beautiful game that may remind people of the classic Mario side-scrollers of the NES days, but it deviates greatly by its unique aesthetic style, a gorgeous soundtrack, and platforming mechanics that are both interesting and fun to use.

Storywise, “Celeste” differs greatly — it actually has one. Imagine if you were stopped in the middle of a “Mario” game to see Mario stress about his emotional issues, or have a panic attack about fighting Bowser. While this may sound off-putting, the way it’s presented in “Celeste” is nothing short of cathartic.

There is a real sense of progression in this game that doesn’t let up until you reach the end. There are also no “lives,” so failure doesn’t really exist. You just have to keep on climbing.

For more skilled or experienced players, I’d still highly recommend “Celeste.” But for those who are looking for a challenge that many would avoid entirely, I recommenced “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.” For fans of the “Dark Souls” series of games, this is an excellent deviance from what From Software has been famous for. It is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

Sekiro places you in feudal Japan during an unknown time period, and gives you a samurai character with all kinds of mobility options that separate it wildly from the game style that “Dark Souls” is famous for, but it’s a welcome change of pace.

There is action at almost any moment of this game. The enemies are aggressive and occasionally unpredictable, and the bosses are gauntlets that will more than likely make players die multiple times.

For people who have trouble using controllers, this game is a well-designed hell. Some moments feel like a “Dance Dance Revolution” game, where you have to press the right combination of buttons in total synchronicity to get the desired result. The game makes full use of the controller, so you have to be aware of what every button does and be able to react quickly with the right one.

While school is stressful enough, I believe video games provide a good kind of stress — one that can be reasonably achieved in an hour or two, rather than four years.

And of course, I’m not advocating for students to quit school and take up video games exclusively, but I think there’s something to enjoy in them that is more gratifying than either music or movies. These two games may not be winners in everyone’s books, but I do think there are elements that most people can enjoy in one or both of them.