Relaxation Through Gaming

People play games for so many reasons and in so many ways that there are too many to list here. And while everyone probably plays many different games for many different reasons, the most common reason for me to play a video game is to relax and rewind. Video games, just like many other entertainment mediums, can easily provide a way for someone to have some fun without thinking about it too much. Of course, one must play a game a certain way to really relax.
Many of my friends love to start a game and immediately set the difficulty setting to the highest level. This often results in lots of frustration, but ultimately a sense of accomplishment when the game is finally beaten. Personally, I do not play games on anything but the normal difficulty. I do not think that I am bad at games; I just do not think that one can relax if they are being constantly challenged. A certain amount of challenge is always good in a video game, but to me, there is a point where the challenge stops being entertaining and becomes frustrating, blocking the player from continuing further in the game. By essentially just playing a game for a little challenge and a lot of “enjoying the ride”, I am able to relax, which is my main goal.

Another way that I make games relaxing for me to play is by playing them again. The familiarity that comes with playing an older game that you have already beaten is calming, as it makes it even easier to just “enjoy the ride”. For example, one of my favorite games of all time is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a game in which I am about to finish my fifth play-through. I play Uncharted 2 about twice a year, and it honestly never gets old (with the exception of some annoying sections). Also, I tend to take a very relaxed approach to playing role-playing games. With most RPGs, I usually have to have a sort of “trial” play-through, in which I learn the dos and don’ts of the game. At some point, sometimes many hours into the game, I figure out my mistakes and start over, with armed with knowledge and confidence that allows me to easily make my way through the entire game. For example, I had to restart Final Fantasy X after playing through almost half the game after realizing that I had developed my party members in a horribly wrong way. When I restarted, I methodically developed and levelled up my party in the correct way, and eventually beat the game easily. This method of learning from mistakes along with the concept of replaying games multiple times makes for some very comforting, relaxing experiences.
Everyone has their own way to play games, whether it is competition, nostalgia, or relaxation. How do you play video games in general? Share your thoughts in the comments below.