Such as summer As 2021 draws to a close, my mental health is deteriorating into depression — and I’m certainly not the only one struggling right now. As with other frustrated gamers, I go back to one thing that always stays with us when we’re down: puzzle games.
I’ve been suffering from depression and anxiety for a long time, and during these low points I often choose games that challenge my brain and occupy my busy mind. Whether I was looking for clues like a puzzle-heavy detective game Jenny Leclu: Detective Or my heart being wrenched by beautiful dimensions In the garden, I noticed that these puzzles made me feel, at least for a few moments, like I could keep my head above water.
And, as I doubted, I’m not the only one who tears through the puzzle when they feel depressed. Take Harsh Goyal, a dog training blogger and Rubik’s Cube Affionado based in Delhi, India, who has been mired in the stress and anxiety of last year’s Covid-19 lockdown. Goyal says he thinks of the puzzles as a series of dots that are waiting to be connected in the right way.
“The interest in connecting these points is so strong that you will be completely lost in it,” he said. “So even if I am sad, angry or upset before starting a puzzle, I always end up in a satisfying mood after the puzzle is over.”
Goyal chooses hard offline puzzles, such as crosswords and 1,000-piece gradient floor puzzles, to calm work-related stress or to help him fall asleep at night when his mind is racing. But according to Olivia James, a London-based trauma therapist, it doesn’t matter what format your puzzles come in লাগে it’s better to solve them because it gives you a sense of control and satisfaction.
“There’s no such satisfying surprise about puzzles,” James says. “Nothing unexpected happens in a puzzle.”
Focusing in a way that keeps your mind occupied but not overly challenging, James says, is incredibly helpful for people with frustration, anxiety and stress because it describes him as “a little vacation from himself.” For some, this “gentle focus” takes the form of leaning towards a garden or cleaning a house, for others, the puzzle fills this space.
The difference between the traditional gentle focus and the puzzle, though, is, according to James, the satisfaction of an “elegant solution” in the end. In a world full of ever-changing rules and expectations, the clear-cut rules and codes in the puzzle make the solver feel in control – the puzzle rules won’t change the willy-nilly, so the only question is whether you can solve it.
For Game Developer Simon Jocelyn, Co-Founder and Level Designer of The Voxel Agent In the garden, Great puzzle design is to teach the player that code and then ask questions about them.
“You’re always accumulating knowledge because the player is finally learning the language of the game,” says Jocelyn about puzzle game design.
As a player, you drop into a world with new rules and physics, and losing the level is learning and applying those guidelines. “It’s not a language you’ve never spoken before, so you have to learn the building blocks of our language and understand how to use it and how not to use it,” Jocelyn said.