Sometimes I like to play a game that doesn’t require a lot of effort. I don’t want to become stressed out because a Fallout settlement has reached peak capacity and there aren’t enough materials to build more beds or another water purifier. I'd have to spend an entire day scrounging the dangerous common wealth for aluminum cans and nuclear material. But that’s not the point. There are a few games that are perfect for when I’m sad. These games make it easy to tune out the rest of the world and create a space in which I don’t have to deal with my feelings. Are you a little down in the dumps as well? Try these titles out and maybe they’ll help you stave off the grief.
The Sims 3: If life isn’t treating you fairly, then it’s logical to hop over to the virtual world where you can play God and make everything work out in your favor. There’s something comforting about the fact that I can re-create everyone in my life as digital avatars and dictate every decision and action they make. As of right now, I’m married to Jon Snow of Winterfell and am expecting a child. My journalism career is just starting to take off, and I live in a house that has a pool. Not only is it an easy game to play, it’s fun and stress-free. The only downside is the monotony.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf: It’s impossible to feel upset when you’re playing a game where the citizens of your town are all adorable animal caricatures. How can I feel like crying when my next-door neighbor is a dog named Walker who walks around sporting a jersey? Is it even possible to feel distressed when all of the animal companions' voices are high-pitched, melodical gibberish? The game has a calm atmosphere and a relaxed environment. It’s slow-paced and the music is soothing. Unfortunately, there's only so many milestones.
Harvest Moon: Like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon is light-hearted. The entire goal of the game is to fix up a farm, raise some crops and cattle, and woo someone in the game so that you can get married and start a family. It’s adorable, especially since the art style is very Japanese (big, round eyes and tiny bodies). Focusing on my characters’ happiness takes my mind off of the fact that I’m neglecting my own by playing a video game instead of surrounding myself with friends and family. There’s no pressure—no dying if you mess up, no experience points to strive for.
—Follow Emma Kidwell on Twitter: @EmmaKidwell