5 Self Care Tips From Gaming

You may not think mental health often when you think of video games. How can something that is just a hobby to so many people end up being helpful to your everyday life? Well after years of gaming I have picked up five simple traits that have helped me that I try to apply every day. Some may come as second nature, others a large change to your day to day life, regardless, the goal here is to maybe impart one thing that will help you with your very own self-care.

Number One – Save Your Progress

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Journaling at the end of the day is something that you can do to really help your mind shake off all the dirt and grime. A lot of mornings I wake up roll over and journal a little bit to whatever was on my mind over the night. Things that you normally wouldn’t think of in the day sometimes pop in that head over the night in your dreams. Then when you get through all the long slog of the day you write everything out and it helps to give you a good perspective on what you have done and what you need to still do. Little things tend to add up from this, such as I wrote down what I was eating for a solid week and suddenly I was dropping pounds before I knew it. All that from just getting pen to paper.

Number Two – Grind

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When you focus on a task and repeat it until you master it you will get ahead. Other people will see those wins as luck or happenstance, but it is directly related to the time you put into it that you get back in success. When a large boss stands ahead of you in a video game you grind out what you need if you can’t beat it. A game that comes to mind for me was Bloodborne. When I was trying to finish the chalice dungeons up I just couldn’t get a few of the bosses to drop down. I would come close, a hit away, damage short, or my health just wasn’t there. I spent a solid five hours justing grinding through some of the other dungeons, listening to metal music as I went, determined to finish those bosses. When I returned they fell easy! Sure I overleveled more than I needed to but I wanted them done, and in life, if you want to make the hard things easy you have to grind.

Number Three – Equip The Best Gear

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Many times I have heard that the two things you invest in are a good pair of shoes and a good bed. If you aren’t in one then you are in the other so invest wisely in both. In a video game sometimes you go for what looks cool on the character instead of what hits the hardest of is actually effective. I see people do this in real life with getting things that are bad quality and in the end spending more on the same item over and over. Take the time and save up for what you really want or you will always spend more on the worse version. Vehicles, clothing, healthy food versus ramen for days, buy the best gear and use it. The extra money put in will normally repay itself tenfold.

Number Four – Heal The Party

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You never know when the next battle is in life. When you ignore the small things that add up on you suddenly they become not so small. I have too many times in games not used a potion because I think it isn’t enough damage or not a big deal and then suddenly I am loading up an old save hours behind. You have to go around and do the small things, you have to brush your teeth, shower, get to the gym and see the damn doctor if you are hurting. When you don’t heal the party suddenly things just start snowballing down and you will be regretting that you didn’t “use your potion” sooner.

Number Five – Hard Mode

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Yes I know I wrote Are You On Hard Mode? not too long ago, but it is slowly becoming my mantra. Take the hard road in life and everything will start to be more to you. When you fight all the way to the top of the hill the view is better than the flat road. You get better loot when you fight harder enemies and you are the only person who can set your difficulty at the beginning of your adult life. Tutorial mode finishes and you get to see the world how you want it too.

All of these Self Care ideas are things that I have mentioned or talked about before, but I want to always try to help you push forward. I like to surround myself with people who like to go the extra step, people who want to fight and do the hard things. If you are ever struggling and wanting to get further ahead just send me a message and I will always try to help if I can. I know things look grim at times but follow these five and aim ahead and things will get better.


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Are You On Hard Mode?

Sometimes all it feels like you are going through is hard mode. Things don’t go right at your job, your car breaks down, the dentist messes up, not even thinking about the money side of things. These make it more and more difficult to go back to it the next day and keep slugging through. You start not seeing the light at the end and only the never-ending grind.

Hard mode has a special place in my heart, my life and in videogames. A true love-hate relationship that leads to everything I do, including this blog I like to write.

In life, I tend to have horrible bouts of insomnia from time to time. Some weeks it hits and I don’t get any sleep at all or barely an hour or two. Not that I am complaining about this necessarily, just a fact of life. These fits of insomnia always come to me when I start to feel like I am not getting enough done. When I start saying to myself, “Why didn’t you finish that book, beat that game, sell more product, or get that business proposal to your friend.” Things add up, that is life and I think when you cruise through on easy mode these things will weigh onto you.

My easy mode is a day where I don’t have to work, get to eat out the whole day and drink a monster or two.  Realistically I prefer days like today where I did work, got all my tasks done, drank only water and am settling down feeling like I accomplished what I wanted to. Each day is a reset of the previous and you chose the New Game startup each time. When you feel sick and can barely lift your head it makes sense when you want to hit that Easy mode button and cash in on a simple day. It is something we all feel and I think that as I get older I contest with it a bit more, tasking myself to strive more to be happy and not just content.

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In gaming, I think I bore through games way to fast when they are easy and a cakewalk. I’ve seen gorgeous games fall flat because they have no challenge and games that aesthetically make your characters face look like a potato be titles that I love. The feeling like you actually went through a challenge goes a long way.

A lot of times when I am bringing up my top ten games of all time I talk about Dead Space 2. A title that I am sure many have played through, but also one that holds a dear part in my heart. The game has a difficulty mode called Zealot that truly was brutal and only allowed three saves for the whole game. The reward if you managed to finish this was an achievement worth I believe fifty points and a special item for future playthroughs that killed everything in one hit. The real reward was the satisfaction of beating something that was truly a challenge and the moments when every bullet mattered. One part you slammed through space at high speed and any collision was instant death. When you managed to do this perfect and you landed at the next spot, it was like nothing else.

Even quick little tasks like the Mile High Club achievement in modern warfare was extremely satisfying. Something you managed to beat in less than a minute, but took a ton of tries to actually accomplish. These are things that you remember as you go because they were not accomplished immediately. Again, talk to anyone that beat Through the Fire and the Flames on Guitar Hero 3 and ask them if they did it their first try.

The goal of this blog post is not to get too philosophical on you, but to try to bring to attention your personal life level. Take a second when you can and truly assess yourself and ask, “What mode am I on.” What more can you be doing to actually level yourself up and get ahead?

If you are a character in your own personal game what level are you really? What do you think your max level can be? Why aren’t you there yet? Have you not ground out enough side quests or defeated enough enemies that lay in your way? Side quests could be things like going to the gym, eating healthy, or finally scheduling a damn dr. appointment. Enemies can be any challenge in your life that you don’t want to face, but need to. We all have them, so find those struggles.

After all, life can be as easy as you make it, but the harder the mode, the better the loot.


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One-Armed Wolf

I can’t say that I have finished every game by From Software, but I can say I have always been a fan of their work. Each game they make turning into a love-hate relationship as you start from scratch and learn the cadences of each new boss you come too. Many times dying along the way to little guys that shouldn’t hit as hard as they do.

The newest from their long line of brutally hard games is Sekiro, Shadows Die Twice. A game that I went into completely blind other than knowing what the setting roughly was. Many times mixing up in my head what I saw for Ghost of Tsushima. Another game that I am deeply excited about. Just remember, Sekiro is the one with a grappling hook.

Yes, a grappling hook. One thing you will notice quickly about this entry in the Dark Souls type games is that movement is actually a thing.  Hell, you can jump even! A full-fledged jump button. Makes you almost think things will be easy. After all, if I could have jumped efficiently back in Blighttown… wishful thinking I suppose.

The mobility is key to make you feel like a badass in this game. The sneak deathblows you deliver always satisfying and performed with a nice audible crunch each time. Deathblows being the main way you finish every enemy. Described as the moment when the Shinobi strikes; you hit the enemy enough or counter deflect enough for them to lose posture (a combination of stamina and poise) and then strike. Even bosses need to be taken down with these attacks. Some requiring multiple deathblows before you finally bring them to their knees, always brought along with a pleasing cinematic flourish.

Without spoiling too much the bosses really bring some great battles into the game. I’m about fifteen hours into the game and have downed two official bosses and a myriad of mini-bosses. The large boss battles actually being the only way you can increase your attack power in the game. The battles usually set in a large cinematic area, a huge battlefield, a burning down estate or a field of flowers. Once you defeat the boss you learn from the battle and that is how your character gains strength. So no amount of grinding on the side is just going to allow you to come back and one shot them. Looking at you Capra demon.

An interesting change to the way the games normally play. I know when I was trying to finish off the chalice dungeons in Bloodborne I ground out a good amount of enemies to hit harder. This new title moving furthest away from the normal, kill, level, repeat. Even death is different with you losing half your current experience and half your gold. No way to recover it. To negate that a bit you do get “one” resurrect while in the midst of battle, leading to the game’s title.

Now the minibosses set in the world are just as big when it comes to a stopping point. Many of which being in charge of blocking a path or a gate to lead to the next area. Sometimes this is a giant Ogre that knows more kickboxing moves than modern UFC fighters, or perhaps just a giant flaming boar, yes flaming. Large amounts of mini-bosses are samurai generals that you can just pass, but they have all, so far, carried prayer beads. These beads were the only way I have found to increase your health and that ever important posture. You still need four beads before it even increases, but every little bit helps.

The landscapes are stunning in the beautiful 4k, with the graphics many times stopping my tracks to look as snow falls gently. Even when scouting out where the next big location is.

Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (9)

The tower in the distance, in this case, is blocked by seven smaller enemies and two large brutes. Just to get to this perch I first fought two samurai having a conversation I could eavesdrop and a pair of wolves. The last place to rest and recover being before them, but if I decide to rest they come back each time. Here I managed to sneak left and kill a minion holding a pan he bangs to alert others, then proceded to take out three riflemen, a spear user, and last the two large brutes. The brutes a hell of a battle if you don’t sneak attack them.

Just to finally run into this guy.Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (10)

Right now I sit at a crossroad of what seems to be three paths. The one above ends in that miniboss I said I would save until tomorrow.

Another leading to these catacomb things where a zombie dude gave me flashbacks of the reassembling skeletons in Dark Souls, I said nope to him.Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (7)

The last leading up to a castle that I think is technically the right way, but I will save that for now. The game early on also gives you a “side path” to explore that is a completely different setting and time frame.

Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (2)

This setting puts you in a backstory but doesn’t advance the plot or change it in the current world. I don’t know if this whole section is technically “skippable” having there be items here that are extremely useful in the main portion, maybe another playthrough at a later date will reveal that. The real benefit of this side quest is showing you back story on Sekiro himself, why he has abilities and a boss battle that will increase your strength.

Having put the hours into this I would recommend it to anyone who likes a challenging game. Plus, if you love timepiece games I really appreciate the aesthetics as well. Some of the magical elements of the game took my breath away, large enemies that I had no clue would be in it until I saw them and they were trying to swallow me whole.

The idea of reviews like this going forward is you will see it in two parts. A first glance which you now have, then, later on, you can have a completion of the whole game. I find it is hard to really review something when you don’t have all the information. Some games are destroyed in the last five hours of gameplay when the final battles are just bad. Others spend all of their flash in the beginning and have hours of mundane play that follows.

Regardless, let me know what you think in the comments and sign up for email notifications on the sidebar if you don’t want to miss any of these. More exciting news, the page can now be found at forthesakeofgaming.com as well! So share away and I’ll see you tomorrow.

P.S. I just thought this was pretty