Recommended: How Games Saved My Life

A screenshot of the Harvest Moon 64 start screen: the Harvest Moon logo hovers over a field, and a sign in the foreground reads "Push the START"

How Games Saved My Life is a new Tumblr blog started by Ashly Burch (of Hey Ash fame) that collects stories of how video games have helped people deal with difficulties in their lives, such as illness or the death of a family member.

It started when Ash posted a story about how playing Harvest Moon 64 helped her deal with anxiety. She asked other people to share stories about how games have helped them, and the response was so strong, she started a dedicated blog for these stories.

One story talks about how games helped the writer find self-acceptance:

[Fable] helped me, a closeted gay boy, live out my dreams in an alternate world. Being able to marry men gave me a sense of kinship, something I had been needing, with the protagonist, and let me live my dreams. Though I would remain in the closet for several more years, Fable was the first step in slowly accepting myself for who I was.

Others talk about helping others through games, such as this story, where a young man helps to teach his younger brother empathy through Fable 2:

As we continued, however, I could see that this was more than just a game for him. During my stay his rambunctious behaviour was subdued, and the stress in his emotions when playing the game slowly grew in expressiveness. Two moments from the game are the ones I remember the most simply because of his reaction to them. When delivering Reaver’s Seal, when it was asked who would become the sacrifice, my brother froze. Immediately he pressured me for advice. All I did was clarified the consequences of each choice, and nothing more. After a long time of contemplating, he ultimately choose the girl over himself as the sacrifice. Justifying his deed with “My wife won’t like to see me old.”, I could nonetheless see a hint of despair on his face.

I recommend taking a look at the blog; many of the entries are quite touching, and it’s wonderful to see how our favorite pastime can improve people’s lives. If potential triggering is a concern, each post has a short description of what the post is about before the click-through link.

The blog is open to submissions; if you’d like to submit, check out the guidelines. Anonymous submissions are accepted.

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