Been awhile since I’ve written a discussion instead of a review! With so many big releases happening all at once, leaving me with lots I want to talk about, it’s been hard to find time to squeeze in a discussion. However, as we seem to have a break in big game releases right now, I thought it would be a perfect time not only to do a discussion but to discuss something that’s great to have during these breaks between releases. Comfort games!
So! What exactly do I mean by ‘comfort games’? From the name, you might assume that I mean games that you play to help relax or for some comfort. And while that is kind of true, what I’m really talking about when I say ‘comfort games’ are games that you play when you don’t know what else to play! That could be a relaxing and comforting game but not always. And as I was saying before, with there being a gap between big game releases, at least any that interest me, now is a good time to go back to a comfort game while I wait! Basically, to me, comfort games are games you know you’ll have a good time with and that you can come back to over and over again.
For someone like me who’s main source of entertainment is video games, having comfort games is pretty important! It’s always good to have something to play for when you’re bored, you need a palate cleanser between other games, or when you just need to play something that you know you’ll enjoy. That’s the main reason why I call these kinds of games ‘comfort games’. Knowing that they are there and you can always play them is a comfort! A comfort I think people like myself really need.
That being said, comfort games can be very different from person to person. While you might assume comfort games are generally easy going and relaxing, think something like Animal Crossing, that is not always the case. For example, look at me! A few episodes ago on the podcast, Ray asked me about what I feel like are my comfort games. And after giving it some thought, I said that it would bizarrely be Bloodborne and Dead by Daylight! Both games that aren’t exactly ‘comforting’ in the slightest but hear me out!
Let’s start with Bloodborne as it’s been my go to comfort game for a very long time now. Bloodborne, for those who don’t know, is a Souls like game from FromSoftware, the makers of Dark Souls and Elden Ring. And just like those games, Bloodborne can be pretty hard and unforgiving at times! Despite that though, I keep coming back to it over and over again. I think I replay through the game almost once a year without even planning to do that. It’s gotten to the point where I can no longer make new characters! I have to delete old ones if I want to do that. As I was saying earlier, Bloodborne is a game that I know I will enjoy. And because of that, the stressful aspects of the game don’t really get in the way. That and I know the game like the back of my hand at this point so there aren’t too many surprises that catch me off guard! Still, I completely understand people who are confused by all that. Bloodborne is still a tough game that I die in lots of times despite how many times I’ve played it and nothing is going to change that. So why do I find it comforting? Honestly, the answer is pretty simple, it’s familiar.
Getting jumped by horrifying Lovercraftian monsters, struggling against some of the bosses, and even dying over and over again. All of that is familiar to me, and in that way it’s comforting. I honestly believe that any kind of game, regardless of how hard or stressful it is, can be a comfort game to someone. Because those aren’t the parts of the game that give someone comfort, well not directly. It’s the fact that they are familiar. You know what to expect from the game so even the parts that upset you at least aren’t surprising you. I know which parts of Bloodborne I don’t like and stress me out each playthrough. Looking at you giant spiders in the Nightmare of Mensis…
But again, I’m at least expecting those. I don’t have to worry about being scared or stressed by something new, I just have to deal with the things I’m already aware of doing that!
Of course, if a game is all stress than I doubt it would be someone’s comfort game, there has to be some good in there! But it doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows like you’d expect. That being said, a comfort game doesn’t have to be familiar for it to be a comfort either. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite! This is where Dead by Daylight falls for me in terms of comfort games.
Sometimes you need a comfort game to be more than just familiar. Sometimes it’s best to have a game you know will take your attention. For me that’s Dead by Daylight. While you can argue that it’s also a very familiar game for me, I’ve put over 400 hours into it at this point after all, the fact that it’s an ever changing and updating multiplayer game means that I can’t get too familiar with it. But once again, that’s okay! Because Dead by Daylight manages to comfort me in a different way, and that’s by keeping me focused and coming back for more. Being a multiplayer and competitive game, I tend to need to focus much more when playing Dead by Daylight compared to Bloodborne. While Bloodborne can also be tough and certainly requires skill and quick reflexes to play, it doesn’t change like Dead by Daylight does. There aren’t any balance patches or new DLC getting added to the game. So despite how tough the game can be it’s always a familiar toughness. That doesn’t work with Dead by Daylight.
Even when playing between big content updates to the game, I still need to focus much more, especially when playing as Killer! For those who don’t know, Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game. It’s 1 vs 4 where one player is the Killer and the other four are Survivors. As you can probably guess, the Killer’s job is to kill the Survivors, while the Survivors must hide from the Killer while repairing generators so they can escape. It is both a team and solo game. And both sides require plenty of focus, even though I’d say playing Killer requires much more focus since you’re all alone! Still, even when you have a team to back you up as the Survivor, you’ll need to focus and work together. Again much like Bloodborne, this probably sounds stressful and that’s because it can be! That is simply the nature of competitive games. You need to really try to get those wins, and because of that time always flies when I’m playing Dead by Daylight! The need to focus helps keep my mind from wandering and thinking of other things, which not only helps the time pass but also helps me from thinking and worrying about other things. And it’s ever changing nature also helps keep things fresh each time I come back to it! Something that’s actually a good thing this time around as I’m not really playing Dead by Daylight for it’s familiarity but for the distraction and the focus. Having a multiplayer game be a comfort game is always something that’s nice to have. Even if the game isn’t getting constant updates like Dead by Daylight, the nature of it being multiplayer and depending on others means that each time you hop on to play it’ll be different and always throw something new at you to focus on.
Now, if after all that you still think I’m crazy for picking Bloodborne and Dead by Daylight as comfort games, that’s completely understandable! That’s just the nature of comfort games and games in general. People are going to find comfort and enjoyment out of different things. I didn’t make this post in an attempt to convince anyone that they should try Bloodborne and Dead by Daylight if they are looking for comfort, but rather to point out how nice it is to have comfort games and how different they can be from person to person! Maybe you prefer to play a round of Call of Duty to take your mind off things, or replay an old Pokemon game where you already know the best ways to take down all the gyms. What matters here isn’t the games but rather the comfort that any game can provide.
So, how can you find your own comfort game? Well the answer is pretty simple, you probably already have one without realizing it. Like I said, this post isn’t trying to convince anyone to try certain games if they are looking for a comfort game for themselves. Unless you’re really looking for a relaxing game experience, in which case I’d recommend Tetris or Animal Crossing, you probably already know what game or games you’d consider a comfort game. When you don’t have anything to play but you want to play something just don’t think and pick the first game that comes to mind. Chances are it’ll probably be something you’ve played before, something familiar or you know you’ll enjoy. And that right there is all you need! You’ve already got your game.
But as I was saying towards the start of this post, not everyone needs a comfort game. They are something I feel I personally need, but that’s because gaming is my main source of entertainment. If gaming is something you do more on the side or only when a game that really interests you comes out, then you probably have other forms of comfort like rewatching a movie you love or going back to an old book.
And that’s what I’d say is the main point of all this! It’s important to have something familiar and reliable to fall back on. Experiencing something new and exciting is always fun, but sometimes you just want something safe, something you know you’ll enjoy. And that’s the beauty of comfort games!
But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? What are some comfort games to you? If games aren’t what you play for comfort, what form of media is? I’d love to hear your thoughts so don’t be shy!
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