Horror Video Games And Their Therapeutic Value

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has made so many of us turn to calm and relaxing video games in order to find some therapeutic relief. But can horror video games provide the same effect?

Horror Video Games And Therapeutic Effects

When the world was forced to stay inside their homes and practice social distancing in order to stay safe from the coronavirus outbreak, the vast majority of America turned to video games in order to find relief, relaxation and companionship, leading to a sudden spike in the gaming industry.

And none is more popular than the latest entry in Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing” series since the game is essentially a relaxing romp that has you fishing, catching butterflies and visiting the islands of your friends.

But to that end, can horror video games provide the same type of relief and catharsis? Turns out, they do.

Of course, it seems highly paradoxical because the same people that play “Animal Crossing” are the same ones who also bought high-action and stressful games like “Doom: Eternal,” “Nioh 2” and even “Resident Evil 3.”

So what’s the appeal?

“The horrific experience of video games, and hence their cathartic appeal, emerges when a game produces a constant level of anxiety in players while allowing the players to act on it. Fans of horror video games, generally enjoy, rather than avoid, the combination of permanent death… and the drive to strengthen their characters and make them safe,” authors Robert M. Geraci, Nat Recine and Samantha Fox, who recently made a compelling case of why stressful video games have an important psychological role, said.

Per the authors, the monsters and challenges that we face in these types of video games represent the irrational and unexplained, fashioned into tangible enemies that we can interact with and hopefully, defeat.

“That these games exist shows that we need horror. The demonic and the monstrous appear in pop culture because they represent evil and our fears and anxieties. It is our human nature to be attracted to the horrific and obtain pleasure from encountering it because this is how we gain a partial and temporary victory over ourselves,” the authors said.

So while relaxing games have their place on our list, horror games are important as well because they provide catharsis and victory over things we may otherwise get stressed over in real life.

Video Game For the troubled, video games can provide a lot of comfort through its visuals and beautifully-crafted stories and game worlds. Pixabay