A guide to finding happiness in your life and in your games.

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A blog about finding happiness in your life, and in your games.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Remember Death

Death is a subject that most people are uncomfortable talking about or even thinking about. That being the case, psychologists say that thinking about death is a very good way to increase your overall happiness level. It's even one of the most recommended happiness activities.

We tend to push the thought of death out of our minds naturally, yet as gamers death is often exposed to us in copious amounts. Some might even claim most gamers have been desensitized to violence and death.

Almost any competitive online game involves 'killing' the other players. All of the most popular games on the market today involve death to one degree or another.

And it's fun isn't it? We go through our games killing thousands and thousands of virtual avatars and think nothing of it. We love doing it.

Does that make us freaks? No not at all. We have the mental capacities to differentiate between reality and virtual worlds.

Games tend to trivialize or sensationalize death, but now and then a game will put some gravity upon a situation and really make you think of things in a more realistic and deep way. I enjoy and appreciate when games present death in a more serious and emotionally evocative way.  I speak about a in game death that touched me emotionally in this article about an in-game family. L.A. Noir certainly makes you think more about death, since you're the one investigating the grisly murders.

But I also love Gears of War, a game in which you slice through people with chainsaws and make their heads pop like melons without giving death a second thought.

Though perhaps this trailer lends more thought upon death than does most of the game. 

Eric Weiner writes that death is "a subject that oddly, comes up an awful lot in my search for happiness. Maybe we can't really be happy without first coming to terms with our own mortality."

Accepting the fact that we're going to die inevitably in-game can be beneficial and help reduce your stress and anger levels while playing online, but what about real life? We can hold out hope that medical advances might prolong our lives to an unprecedented degree, but in the end we need to accept our own mortality.

Remembering death can help us better our lives every day. Wouldn't remembering that one day you're going to die motivate you to make positive changes in your life?

Plato said this: "Practice regular meditation upon death."

And Buddha said this: "Of all mindfulness meditations, that on death is supreme."

Many people have near death experiences or those with terminal illnesses often find themselves realigned by their trauma. They experience something called post-traumatic bliss. They are able to trivialize the trivial, assume a sense of control. The stop doing things they don't want to and communicate more openly with family and friends.

You shouldn't have to have a near death experience to realize how precious your life is.

Realize it now! Find the beauty in every moment and make it all count.

You've only got one life to live so make it count.

This is one of the powerful examples of a game making you feel for a death in a game. Spoiler Alert.

I don't mean to be getting you down with all this death talk, after all, the purpose of this blog is for me to try improve the happiness you get out of gaming and out of your everyday lives. My goal is to help you improve your life, if only ever so slightly.

I'm trying to point out that playing video games can give us reminders of our own mortality. And being reminded of that now and then is a good thing.

When you or someone else in a game gets no-scoped or chainsawed. Laugh to yourself. But then, even if it's deep down inside, be thankful that something like that hasn't actually happened to you, and you're fortunate enough to even be playing a video game and laughing your ass off at some good ol' gore and violence.

So remember death.

Enjoy your game.

Enjoy your life to the fullest.

Previous Post: Enjoyment Guide to Gears of War 3


  1. Hey there.I just stumbled onto your blog and wanted you to know how much I enjoyed reading it. I'm gonna go look at your more recent stuff now :)

    1. Thank you so much. This means a lot to me. Sad to say I haven't updated this site in about a year....

      I don't play many video games these days. Life is busy and when I find time I tend to be playing board games and tabletop games.

      I'm really happy you like what I have here.


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