Video Game Moods

“Art imitates Life.” People say that all of the time. This can be true in gaming and content consumption, as well. Not just what goes into a game during development, but also the games we as consumers choose to play and the shows we choose to watch.

I usually have a short list of “games I’m playing” at any given moment, but depending on how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life I may decide to try something new some days. It may be for one night, one week or an ongoing length of time.

During the pandemic there was definitely more time for games, but now with the world getting (sort of) back to normal there’s a little less time — I still make lots of time for gaming though, and will continue to do so.

I have been paying attention to my recent gaming choices and trying to figure out what external events made me choose certain games to play. Of course, many games I just choose because they’re the new, fun thing I’ve been waiting for. However, other choices are made for specific reason and here are a few recent ones:

Pandemic 2020 • The Last of Us, The Last of Us Part II, Days Gone

The Last of Us™ Part II

When the pandemic first began, I had been replaying The Last of Us Remastered to prepare myself for The Last of Us Part II. At one point I had to take a long break. The game was too close to what was happening in real life, or perhaps where we could have ended up. The Last of Us Part II was delayed a bit so that gave me more time to get comfortable with getting back into the original.

The first game did have a totally different feel playing it in 2020. Now, at the tail end (hopefully) of the pandemic, I started playing Days Gone. I totally missed this game, thinking it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I’m very happy to be playing it. It’s also another post-apocalyptic game with “zombies.” Days Gone although a bit corny at times has also had some very unexpected twists in the story. And, who doesn’t want to ride around a post-apocalyptic Oregon on a motorcycle.

NBA Bubble • NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 (PS4)

A few years ago, I pretty much retired from sports games (which I’ll dive deeper into in an upcoming post). I continued upgrading my copy of Madden each year until 2020, when I realized I had barely played the game. I also haven’t been watching sports as much in recent years, or following my teams.

When the NBA bubble began in Orlando I immediately started paying attention again. At first, it was more to see what it would be like to see NBA basketball with no fans in the stands. I became hooked on my team (the Miami Heat) just like when I was a kid. I would watch every single game. Around this time NBA 2K20 was a free PS Plus game so I began playing my own bubble season in the virtual world. I planned to beat LeBron and the Lakers with the Heat, but never made it far enough into my season.

Formula 1 Race Weekend • Gran Turismo Sport, Mario Kart 8

Gran Turismo Sport (PS4)

Anytime there’s a Formula 1 race weekend (the only sport I regularly still watch — thanks Netflix’s Drive to Survive series) I jump back into Gran Turismo Sport, and sometimes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If the current weekend’s track is in GT Sport (Red Bull Ring, Monza, Suzuka & others) you will definitely catch me driving these tracks.

About two years ago, when I first got into Formula 1 Gran Turismo Sport was on sale for about $20 so I bought it. I also have a friend who loves GT Sport and F1, so spending too much time at his house got me obsessed with both of these things.

Halloween Time • Resident Evil, Until Dawn

Resident Evil (PS4)

For the past few years, during October (the spookiest month of the year) I try to play a Resident Evil or any other horror game. Of course, I find out each year that these games are too scary for me. I’ve been trying to finish Alan Wake on PC for a couple of years now, but I really get back into it in the spooky months (Winter). My plan was to beat Alan Wake before starting Control, but PlayStation decided to give us Control (PS5) for free.

WWE Monday Night RAW • WWE 2K Battlegrounds

WWE 2K Battlegrounds (PS4)

This week I may have secured tickets to go to WWE Monday Night RAW in September here in Miami. I haven’t really watched any wrestling since I was in high school. Lucky for me WWE 2K Battlegrounds was one of the free PS Plus games this past month. For the past few days I’ve been obsessed with completing the campaign mode — mostly because I want to unlock Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and hit someone with the Rock Bottom (also, where’s Xavier Woods at? Isn’t he in this game?).

This has been one of the most interesting choices of these game moods. I downloaded this game to try it out the day it was free. I didn’t really care for it at the time so I deleted it. Earlier this week, I ended up re-downloading and becoming kind of obsessed with it. It’s just a strange time I guess. I did grow up on wrestling games for the Nintendo 64 though (WCW vs NWO: World Tour).

Other Gaming Habits

Something else I noticed this past year is how certain games may push me to consume related content. For instance, while playing Ghost of Tsushima last year I started watching old Kurosawa Samurai films. While playing Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales made me rewatch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Anytime I play a Star Wars game (SW Battlefront I & II, SW Jedi: Fallen Order, SW Squadrons) I begin another Star Wars movie marathon. Watching action movies may push me to play more action/shooter games.

There are also times where my game choices are indirectly made due to my mood. After a long, stressful day I may jump into something more simple and soothing (PICROSS, Animal Crossing: New Horizons). After an easy, lazy day I may go for a tough or even a turn-based adventure (Crash Bandicoot, Mega-Man, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle).

There are also the games that take over your entire life. When you aren’t playing them you’re thinking about playing them, and when you get home you jump right into that world. No matter what you’re feeling you have to get back into this game — God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Many times I find myself pumping the brakes on these games, so that the experience doesn’t end to quickly.

It’s great that video games are a way to escape from life no matter what you feel. Sometimes they can be a way to help amplify your feelings too. Other times they may be used as a distraction. And if you’re into horror games, they may just be a way to torture yourself. No matter what you’re feeling there is a game out there for you.

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