Tag: Video Games

Video Games and Grief

Video games were a fun part of my relationship with my mom, and they’ve been helping me work through my grief.

While she was in a coma, and dying, I told her some cheesy jokes from the game Word Search. She had tried it a few weeks before she died. As a very frugal person, she was hesitant about buying the Nintendo Switch. Since I’m somewhat less cautious with money, she liked to use me as a guinea pig for products she was interested in, which was a role that I enjoyed. I had joked to her that it was like she was a queen and I was a taster to make sure that she didn’t get poisoned. I told her that I was enjoying the Switch, which piqued her interest enough to try Word Search for a few minutes.

During that same visit, she also traded an egg into my Pokemon Y game for the 3DS that hatched into an Eevee, my favorite Pokemon. I didn’t think that it was possible to like Eevee more than I already do, but I do like it more, because it’s the last Pokemon that I got from my mom. She really liked Eevee and its evolutions, too.

I’ve been playing a game called The Last Day of June for the Switch, which is about losing a loved one. The main character, Carl, loses his partner, June, in a car crash. He travels back in time to try to save her. I have similar feelings about wishing that there was something that I, or someone, could’ve done to save my mom. So far, I’ve learned from the game that a cause of death can be very complex, and any one thing wouldn’t necessarily have changed the outcome. I don’t know yet how the game ultimately will end, though, but I know that in real life, there’s nothing that I can do to bring her back.

What I can do is honor her memory through things like activities, memories, reflecting on lessons that I learned from her, and prayer. Playing video games is one of the activities that helps me continue to feel connected to her, since we were both gamers. The games help me work through my feelings while having some fun at the same time. Since my mom liked to end our conversations with, “Go do something fun,” I feel like it suits my situation well.

 

A Tribute to My Late Mom

I’m happy and honored that I had her as my mom.

She showed her love for her community by helping her neighbors with their social services paperwork, voting, sharing links to news articles, and contacting politicians.

She showed her love for me by saying, “Go do something fun,” at the end of our conversations. It made her sad how much I ruminated about stressful things, and she encouraged me to try to tap into the more refreshing side of life, which I’m still working on, thanks to her.

She showed her love for my dad by putting minutes on his phone for him every month, since he really struggled to figure out how to do it.

When we hung out, we spent most of our time together watching crime shows and playing Pokemon. We had so much fun! One of the last things I told her as she was dying, which she unfortunately couldn’t respond to because she was in a coma, was that I’d continue our criminology tradition by trying to get a volunteer job in the field, such as possibly visiting kids at the juvenile detention center.

Halloween was her favorite holiday. This is the day her spirit tells me that she wants me to do the most for her every year in her memory. Monster movies, such as the Frankenstein ones, were among her favorite kind.

Aside from criminology, her other favorite subjects to learn about included anthropology and linguistics. Sadly, she regretted not majoring in anthropology in college, but she did get to minor in linguistics. At least one, maybe a few of her classes were in anthropology. We shared both fascinations and frustrations with trying to understand people.

Security was one of her values that was most important to her. She was very mindful about things like going to her medical appointments and having two phones in case one of them was lost or stolen. It seems that her favorite aspect of security to learn and discuss was finance. She enjoyed going over her budget and scoping out sales and other ways to save money. Recently, she contributed a guest post involving safety in the kitchen.

Aside from Pokemon, she also enjoyed playing Sims a lot. She had a routine of playing every Sims game the same way, by having her sims run a nectar (their word for wine) business from their homes so that she could manage their needs more easily. In her Pokemon games, she liked more variety, and gave herself little challenges to entertain herself. One challenge that she’d sometimes do was to beat a Pokemon game with a team full of Pokemon of the same type, which was tricky, because there are 18 types, which have different strengths and weaknesses to each other.

Thank you, Mom, for being part of my life.

 

 

I’m Scared That My Mom Will Die

On Monday night, my mom was having severe leg pain and trouble breathing. I didn’t know at the time. She told my dad, and neither of them realized how much trouble she was in, so she didn’t get help until Tuesday morning, when her caregiver’s supervisor visited her and saw that she needed emergency help. My mom thought that she was having a panic attack.

Late Tuesday afternoon, she went into a medically induced coma to help her breathe. I’m sorry that no one knew sooner that she needed help. Maybe if she could’ve gotten help earlier, she’d be in more stable condition. The last things that we talked about while she was still conscious were a cat joke and a cooking video about things to add to refried beans. She loves to talk about food. I was trying to keep things fun for her.

On Wednesday, my dad and I visited her at the hospital. I was grateful to have him guide me, since I get lost easily. It hurt to see her helpless in bed, unconscious and paralyzed by the medicine they were giving her for her protection. My dad and I talked to her and touched her hand, which was very cold. We told her that we hope she makes it, but that if she wants to leave, that’s okay, since we didn’t want her to feel pressured.

Since Halloween is her favorite holiday, I did Halloween themed word search puzzles on my Switch, which she enjoyed trying out earlier, and told her about them, as well as the cheesy jokes that show each time I solve the puzzle. I told her that Halloween is next month and that I still have Pokemon to catch for her. Lol, maybe that will help keep her going.

I started writing letters to her on Wednesday. I’ll write one to her every day until she either wakes up, or passes away, to document how she’s doing and how I and the other people connected to her are coping. If she wakes up, I hope that she’ll find the letters meaningful. If she passes away, I might save them to look at once or a few times a year.

I got to talk to my therapist on the phone. She said that she’s there to support me. She wants to connect me to a peer counselor, and she encouraged me to try a group there again to build a support system.

My mom has been my blog’s biggest fan. She asks me for links to almost every post. She wrote a guest post for Psychology Plus last month, and we had planned on her contributing one per month after that, so that she could enjoy writing without what she felt was a hassle of trying to maintain a regular blog. I’d really enjoy seeing more of her writing and another side to her voice.

44 would be so soon to leave this world.

My Thoughts on the Computer Game “Please Knock on My Door,” developed by Michael Levall

I had high hopes for Please Knock on My Door, since it’s about depression and social anxiety, conditions which I struggle with. If you’re familiar with my blog, mental health is, of course, a big interest of mine. I was disappointed with this game. That’s mainly because I couldn’t tell when my character was hungry or needed a shower, so it was aggravating to suddenly get a notification that he was starving or filthy.

I think that the Sims games are more manageable. I have Sims 4, and my characters there have bars that show their needs so that they aren’t as likely to get into crisis level needs as the character in this game is. Sims doesn’t exactly get into mental illness, but Sims 4 does include emotional states, such as sad or angry, that Sims need a little guidance to work through, so I recommend that over this Please Knock on My Door if you want to play something with some emotional depth. I’ll cover Sims 4 later.

 

Works Cited

Please Knock on My Door. PC, Levall Games AB, 2017.

My Thoughts on Nintendo Switch game “The Lion’s Song,” by Mi’pu’mi Games

My Thoughts on Nintendo Switch game “The Lion’s Song,” by Mi’pu’mi Games

In this media series, I divide the post into two parts: Part 1 for those who haven’t experienced the work yet, and part 2 for those who would like to read more deeply about it. Image description: an artist paints their subject’s portrait while standing in front of an easel. Other portraits they’ve painted are hanging on the wall.

 

Part 1:

The Lion’s Song is a narrative game in which your choices affect whether a few artists and scientists find the success that they’re looking for in early 20th century Vienna, Austria. The playable characters are mainly a violinist trying to find inspiration for her composition, a portrait painter trying to figure out his identity, and a mathematician who faces sexism from characters who don’t believe that someone who’s assigned female at birth can do math. It’s hard for me to tell, since if it’s there, it’s very subtle, but I think the game may imply that Emma (who also portrays themselves sometimes as Emil to work around sexism) maybe be transgender and/or genderqueer. The fourth episode ties the previous three together.

There’s some crossover between arts and sciences, such as how Wilma, the violinist, can find inspiration from a science textbook, and Emma/Emil, the mathematician, can have their portrait done by the painter, Franz. I like that the game shows that art and science can be interconnected. Another example that I can think of in everyday life is how science books can have photos and other illustrations in them.

I like the social justice theme in the third episode. The game acknowledges that people who are assigned female at birth have also been disadvantaged throughout history in the science fields, and further than that, it even acknowledges that there are more options for presenting and identifying as than just female or male. This episode reminds me of the book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, and I just bought the Kindle version, which I’m excited to read.

 

Part 2:

I played Wilma differently than I would’ve acted in real life, but I played Franz and Emma more like how I would’ve acted.

I set Wilma up for heartbreak by letting her nurse a crush on her music teacher. She eventually gets together with him, but the last episode reveals that she gets so obsessed with him that she neglects her music career, and both her relationship and career fall apart. I’m taking this as a warning that getting too obsessed with anything can derail me. My mom recently warned me herself that worrying too much about how to transition from being on disability to becoming a mental health therapist could undo the progress I’ve made in my recovery and possibly even go as far as to put me back in the hospital. I’m being more careful now to think about other things, too, such as while I finished this game, which required some concentration.

The last episode reveals that Franz gets more depressed, which shows in his artwork. This surprised me, since he figures out his identity in the second episode, and he seems really happy about that. While I played him, other characters encourage him to interact more with the “real world.” His grandfather said that the real world is made of deeds, not words, but I don’t entirely agree with that, since words themselves can be a type of deed. I would instead say that both words and more concrete actions are important. The characters have different interpretations of what is real, such as how his grandfather considers it to be rock climbing, and Emma /Emilconsiders it to be science. Since his grandfather and Emma/Emil also have pretty specific views of reality, I don’t see why some of the characters think that Franz’s niche of painting is beneath theirs. This reflects how, sadly, in real life, some people think that what they care about must be objectively more important than what other people care about.

In Emma/Emil’s episode, I have them strike up a friendship with a disabled girl, Nikol, who finds out that they sometimes present differently and shows her respect for that by offering to call them Em, since both of their names have Em in common. I found that a heartwarming moment. At first, Nikol feels blah about most things, but the last episode reveals that my choices about their friendship lead to it helping Nikol get to a more positive place as she gets older. Em wins a debate with a professor who tries to humiliate them, but I have them remain calm and kind, which leads to the professor eventually mellowing out and even collaborating with them on mathematical developments afterwards. I like how Em makes a positive difference both academically and in their relationships with others.

 

Works Cited

The Lion’s Song. Nintendo Switch, Mu’Pu’Mi Games, 2018.