You’ve had a bad day at work and come home to find that the dog has knocked over the trash can and the washing machine has been leaking all day. While the rage boils inside of you, you know well enough that releasing it unfavorably is not the way to go. Rather, you need a third party stress reliever – something that can bring you back down to a reasonable level and keep you from exploding. With video games by your side, you’ll have that relief within your very own home. The following is a list of what I’ve found to be the best mindless stress relievers that have helped in forget the woes of the day quite quickly.
1. Sometimes you just need nonsense to relieve your daily stresses. This is where games like LittleBigPlanet come in. If controlling a tiny, humanoid knitted character isn’t enough of a stress reliever in and of itself, than really, what is? Through the crazy world of LittleBigPlanet, you will partake in crazy adventures that include solid platforming, crazy races, and hazards like rocket propelled sharks. Unlike other platformers, though, LittleBigPlanet is completely carefree. The story takes a much deserved back seat to the user created levels, which is where the bulk of your fun and entertainment lies. With no goals, save for getting from point A to point B while fighting for the highest score, you’re not faced with impossible time limits, lengthy boss battles, or a hefty plot to absorb. It’s just pure, clean, unadulterated fun; and if you happen to feel your stresses rising, you can just slap the smile off of one of your fellow players.
2. Occasionally during those trying times, you just need to destroy something without getting sucked into a heavy plot. While driven by a solid storyline, Grand Theft Auto IV tends to play off more like a sandbox murder spree. From running over unknowing pedestrians to escaping the police in a deadly high speed chase, the Grand Theft Auto series is the perfect mindless stress reliever that is just as easy to pick up as it is to put down. In the long run, while the story is intriguing, it is easily forgotten amidst the mayhem and destruction.
3. Sticking to the theme of mindless violence is a series known by all walks of life. Earlier installments of the Mortal Kombat series were typically filled with more than a few fights that turned serious gamer’s into frustrated button mashers, but the newer releases have eased up on the unwanted stress and somewhat unbalanced difficulty levels. The 9th installment of the Mortal Kombat series is a huge advocate for a user-friendly experience, turning the base combat of the series into something that anybody can learn. When the stresses of life get you down, why not go for a game that lets you beat your opponent to a bloody mess with their own leg?
4. Prior to the release of Lego Batman 2, Traveler’s Tales’ Lego series was fairly straight forward. Bright environments and a story that was easy to jump into made these games a favorite amongst the younger and older crowds. Seeing as how the stories are told through a series of small cutscenes sans dialogue, it doesn’t take much to dive into entries in the Lego series. The straightforward approach to the game’s main gameplay mechanics – including building blocks, collecting studs, and hunting down collectables – turn these games into decent, mindless fun. If you’re in need of something that requires little to no though, than the earlier Lego titles (Lego Star Wars, Lego Star Wars 2, Lego Indiana Jones, etc.) are where you’ll want to turn.
5. Returning to the routes of violence in gaming are two titles that vie for the fifth spot on this list. One game, developed by Pandemic Studios, allowed gamers to turn the country of North Korea into their own Playground of Destruction. Mercenaries served one purpose in the gaming community, and that was to give players the chance to destroy just about everything. From buildings to a slew of vehicles, there was little in the game that wasn’t susceptible to a random airstrike or well placed rocket. Competing with Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction for the most destructive game and best stress reliever is The Incredible Hulk. Not to be confused with the stealth-infused Hulk, The Incredible Hulk was an entire game of smashing, crashing, and bashing the enemy – sometimes with other enemies as your weapons. The ability to sore to great heights i not only convenient, but also satisfying as the hulking brute crashes down on his foes.