We all have those days where we don’t feel like doing anything productive. It could either be after a long shift at work or a time when you wake up completely unmotivated. All you want to do is stay home, lounge around in your pajamas and not worry about taking a shower or looking presentable.
Between my job, updating this blog, tending to the needs of two cats and a boyfriend still struggling with the after effects of a colectomy, sometimes there’s not much of a chance to simply take some time for myself. When I can however, I usually escape into a digital game.
These versions of games are often called “time wasters,” especially by older generations who didn’t grow up with them, believe there’s no value to them because they (usually) don’t stimulate the mind in an educational way, and are not productive or do not create something useful. Sadly, these people don’t understand that wasting time is exactly the point. It’s the chance to offer an escape from our busy, stressful lives, and improve our mood and — depending on the game — our blood pressure levels.
Many of us have our preferences. My dad turns to FreeCell or Red Alert. My ex-boyfriend immersed himself in Star Wars The Old Republic or Mass Effect. My cousin was a Halo lover. Tons of my friends spend hours playing Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. My mom is a former Slingo fanatic.
Here are the games I turn to:
This game, which is actually the sequel to Dots, can be downloaded for free, and I play on Justin’s iPad Mini. Two Dots is more of a puzzle game, where the goal is to connect dots to meet the level’s goal. I’ve been playing since May, and I’m at level 300! It’s an addicting game, and they’ve made it even more so by adding daily boxes containing extra lives and helpful crates which give booster packs to help you through the levels. Now they’re adding side quests, and of course you HAVE to do those, too! This article by Buzzfeed is pretty accurate.
The Sims 3
I can imagine a ton of you readers nodding in agreement. The Sims franchise for PC is huge and is most likely the easiest way to escape. I prefer The Sims 3, even though The Sims 4 is out. You’re pretty much God in this game, controlling members of the family you choose. Make your character’s lives happy or miserable, live a life of crime or become a doctor, hole up in a mansion or a shack, start a cat fight with your next door neighbor, or woohoo with him in a hot tub. Use the “motherlode” cheat code to swim in Simoleons. The ultimate time-waster, and you’ll be surprised how much time actually goes by when you play it. Oops! All the sudden it’s 3am! The Sims players know what I mean.
Gardens of Time
I don’t even remember where I found Gardens of Time. It was a few years ago and after playing and leveling up, my old geezer of a laptop couldn’t handle it anymore. A couple of weeks ago, I remembered it and decided to dive in again. Unfortunately, it’s now only through Facebook, which causes some annoyances I won’t get into here. This is sort of an “I Spy” type of game, with a G-rated storyline about the Time Society that you’ve now joined. Along the way traveling through time, you add buildings, decorations and artifacts to your garden, increasing your reputation which opens more chapters.
Kingdom Hearts is likely the game in this list which is most productive, so to speak. There’s a plot, an end goal, puzzles and quests along the way to help you move forward. You do work toward something. However, it’s also the most fun game to escape into because of the Disney aspect. You fight alongside Donald and Goofy, rescue Disney princesses, fight Disney villains and use other main characters like Beast, Aladdin, Tarzan, Ariel and Jack Skellington to help along your way. For someone who isn’t really good at console games, this is easy enough to enjoy, yet challenging enough at times to demand focus.
Since today’s world is always on the go, pressuring you to get out, exercise, clean, shop, cook, travel, work, produce, or create, it’s easy to feel guilty when we just want to take a day for ourselves and do almost nothing. But it’s healthy to do just that every so often, to relax and take a mental health day where you don’t worry about what responsibility is waiting for you the next minute.
Do you play any of these games to escape? What do you usually play?
Now go ahead; waste time!